How to create a storming company name, 7 Rules to follow.

20 Dec
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Coming up with your Company Name is always fun to start with and nearly always descends into “this is taking waaaaay too long, let’s just go with xyzabc!” 

So what are the rules? if there are any, about what and how you should name your new baby, whether it’s a brand new business or a new division or trading entity of an existing one.

Naming a local coffee shop, restaurant, florist that will only ever service the local area allows you to use your own name and geography which can make the job easier, Wokingham Flowers, Janes Tea Rooms or Berkshires Brides describes what is done, by who or where and away you go.

You may of course still decide to be more creative and join the businesses that will trade more widely which will lead you into the maze of company names.

The following rules will help you stay on the right track and suggest ways in which you can arrive at that company name you will live, breath and be married to for a long time.

Rule 1: It is worth investing time to get this right, it will make a difference, persevere. 

 How to start:

Hold brainstorming sessions to arrive at possibilities. Include your team if you have one, remind yourself of the rules of brainstorming if you don’t do this very often. Using mind mapping techniques is a good way of capturing all your random ideas and thoughts. (a good free mind mapping app is Xmind ).

A great question…

ask yourself this “what do I want people to think of when they hear or see my company name for the first time? What image do I want them to get? What do I want them to feel, think and associate? You can see how “Iron Mountain” came up with their name!

Techniques you could use include

inventing your own word (coining), this can be done in a number of ways, take a prestige 2 syllable word and add an A onto the end, many cars have been named this way “Maxima” “Lumina”.

Another one is…

join together the front part of an adjective and the back half of a noun i.e  “AccuBal” as a mixture of accurate and balance for an accountancy practice. They can work but very often they don’t as they nearly always sound contrived and awkward.

This is used quite often…

putting two word together as one, such as MicroSoft,  WordPress and WordPerfect etc’.

Another approach is…

pharmaceutical companies name medicines with words that end with “in” to mirror the end of medicine. (is there a generic term firmly associated with your Industry or business?)

There are a number of computer generated online naming facilities, maybe worth checking out, although, I have yet to find one that has impressed. Just search on the internet for “business name generators” to be spoilt for choice.

Rule 2: Whatever name you come up with needs to be easy to spell, say and remember.

Rule 3: Make sure a domain name is available that is easily recognisable and associated with your company name, however, I would recommend that you do NOT use mis spellings as they become very difficult to remember, using K’s instead of C’s etc’.

Rule 4: If you want to make the name a trade mark, ensure the name is not naturally associated with your industry. (Orange would not have been allowed to trade mark their name if they were a fruit and vegetable business).

Rule 5: Make it as future proof as you can. “Ipod city” is probably improved to “Technology City” if there is a chance you might expand the range of products you sell, also remember the audience you serve and geography for the future.

Rule 6: Check if anyone else is using the name you have come up with (trademarked or just trading as). Check Companies House register and use all the search engines to see what hits you get, your local library will be able to help you search for registered trademarks.

Rule 7: Do some market research with potential clients. Shortlist your names to 3 favourites and get feedback on them. You will want them to consider rule number 2 as well as, what kind of image does the name conjure up, conventional, modern, fashionable, reliable, contemporary, ambitious, established, value for money, exclusive, (create your own list to suit the business image you are seeking)

Important Note…

Only canvass your target audience as they are the ones whose opinions count.

If you want some external help there are a number of Companies that specialise in this field, it could be interesting to check out “Crowdsourcing” facilities of which namingforce.com and pickydomains.com are two. I have not used either but the concept is interesting.

Your next step is Logo design, equally important to get right.

Good luck and good naming.

Steve helps owners of SME’s with profits, teams and dependence on personal input, to learn more click here 

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