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How To Choose A Business Name

The brand name is often the first impression that communicates to the audience.

It is the touchpoint that customers will remember the brand by, and it will be the backbone of that brand's marketing efforts.

I often get the question, how do you go about choosing a business name that will help your company succeed?

This article will share what attributes I think make a good brand name. I'll even give you some pointers that will help you choose a brand name to help you stand out from the competition.

Business meeting
By Jack Willoughby

Don't overthink your brand name.

Unsurprisingly, one of the most significant places I see new entrepreneurs getting stuck is when coming up with a name.

Often, they see brands such as Apple, Google and Uber and believe that the brand name is the key to success.

In all honesty, the name is only one part of a business master plan for success.

Brand names only become iconic when customers love the product or service from that business.

Great product = Amazing brand.

Here's the real shocker... You don't have to find the perfect brand name from the start, and you can change it down the line.

Many brands have picked a suitable name and changed it. For example, Pepsi was once Brad's Drink, and Instagram was Burbn.

Now, don't just pick a random name that comes into your head, but remember, without a product or service, it doesn't matter.

Great Brand Name Should & Shouldn't.

We all love to follow a step-by-step process, and it makes us feel like there is no chance of failing.

Here is the kicker. There are no rules for what a brand name can or cannot be.

That being said, I have generated a list of recommendations that I think a brand name should and should not include.

Brand name - Should's.

1) Be Easy to Remember.

We've all experienced a time when we saw this amazing product via an advert or poster down the subway station and tried to remember what it was at a later date, only to have no clue what the brand was.

That, my friend, is why building brand recognition via a simple brand name is essential.

A tough-to-remember name makes it harder for people to get to your website and become customers.

So, instead of choosing a brand name after one of the stars in space or a word combined with the name of a Greek god, select something simple and easy to remember.

Simple, catchy names like Apple, Adidas, Nike, Uber, and Pepsi are better than Expeditors International of Washington Inc.

(That's a real business name btw).

2) Be Distinct.

Whatever the business you plan to create, there are probably thousands, if not miles, just like it.

For example, how many Pizza restaurants do you think are in the World? According to, there are over 75,000.

Generic brand names can work for local hometown businesses, but they're challenging to make into global brands.

3) Intrigue People.

A good brand name should pique people's interests and desire to discover the brand.

The brand name should pull the consumer in to want to learn more about the background and story of the brand.

4) It Kinda Needs To Make Sense.

The brand name should relate to what your business does.

It doesn't have to be exact or completely specific like a health clinic for pets, and you can be creative, such as 'Healthy Paws'. The critical takeaway here is that you know the business serves animals and helps them be healthy.

An irrelevant and random name could risk confusing people and losing customers. It makes it much harder to align your marketing strategy and campaigns.

5) Be Flexible.

Businesses change and adapt over time. You don't want a brand name that stops you from growing in the future.

Pick a name that allows you to venture down new avenues or opportunities.

For example, if you launch a Vegan energy juice company, you may not want to call it VeganJuice. If the Vegan train stops running for any reason, that name has you stranded at the station. If you decide to call it CleanJuice, you can adapt your business to the market around healthy energy juices.

Brand name - Shouldn't.

1) Be Too Literal.

Brand names that are too generic and literal have a hard time differentiating themselves from competitors.

Brands that have names that are too literal will be harder to remember.

2) Restrict Future Expansion.

Brand names specific to the niche or industry in which the business started off are not a good idea. It's like putting your business in a locked box.

Times, trends and interests change over time. Your brand name should allow your business to venture into new products, services or ventures.

3) Stop Progress.

I get it. Choosing the perfect brand name is very hard.

But the issue with stopping everything until you have the perfect brand name is the lack of starting.

As I've mentioned already, you can change your brand name in the future. The trick is to choose the one you are happy with that makes sense and then start.

Stick to the 'should' section of this article, and you'll be good to go.

Different Types of Brand Names.

There are tons of different types of brand names. Here is a list for your inspiration.

1) Use acronyms.

A lot of companies use acronyms instead of full names. The benefit of acronyms is that it is a lot easier to remember. For example, the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) or FMA (Fitness Marketing Agency).

2) Create mash-ups.

Some brands mash together two or three words to create a new one. For example, Netflix (internet and flicks) or Groupon (Group + Coupon).

3) Draw inspiration from mythology.

The prominent example here would be Nike, where the name came from the goddess of victory. Hermes and Mars are also other examples.

4) Use your own name.

A brand name after the owner is always a good choice and a successful business choice. Many well-known brands such as Ben & Jerry's, Bentley, Kodak, Ann Summers, and Balenciaga are named after the founders.

Plus, what better way to leave a legacy than to use your own name.

It's a massive trend to build personal brands. Why not harvest that energy and use it in your own business.

5) Look at a map.

Amazon. Named after the massive river. Find inspiration by calling your brand after a local destination or area.

6) Mix things up.

Why not blend together five or six names or words and see what you can come up with.

IKEA is an example of combining the founder's names and his hometown, Ingvar Kamprad, and his hometown, Elmtaryd Agunnaryd.

7) Use nicknames.

Had a nickname your entire life? Why not use that. It's both personal and sentimental and can be impactful.

8) Tweak the spelling.

Change up a word or letter of a well-known spelling. For example, Reebok was inspired by Rhebok, an African antelope. Other examples include Foundr, which is founder without the E.

9) Abbreviate.

If you have a long name or spelling for your business, abbreviate it. Long brand names are always more challenging to remember, spell and use.

What comes next?

Once you have a brand name you are happy with, it's time to check its availability as a domain.

Head to a domain buying site such as Namecheap or Godaddy and search the .com version of your new brand name.

If it's available 'hurray', go ahead and purchase it to start your new business.

If it's not available, it's time to rethink the name and come up with something new.

Wrapping Up.

Here's a recap of everything we've gone over:

  • Don't overthink your brand name

  • It should be easy to remember

  • Should be distinct

  • Should intrigue people

  • Should make sense

  • Should be flexible

  • It shouldn't be too literal

  • Shouldn't restrict future expansion

  • Shouldn't stop progress

  • Use acronyms

  • Create mash-ups

  • Draw inspiration from mythology and literature

  • Use your own name

  • Look at a map

  • Mix things ups

  • Use nicknames

  • Tweak the spelling

  • Abbreviate

  • Check the domain availability

Thank you for reading! I hope this article was of help. Please let me know in the comments below or reach out to me on Twitter if you have any questions.

Jack Willoughby

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