Business names define businesses. Coming up with business name ideas is probably one of the most challenging parts of your brand building strategy.

If people can’t recognise and remember your brand, how will you ever manage to stand out?

You want people to remember and talk about your brand: 

90% of people trust product or service recommendations from people they know…

…while only 33% trust messages from a brand.

There’s something powerful about a good brand name (think Google or Apple).

It’s original and memorable, at times clever and playful.

But it’s not rocket science!

Keep reading to find out how you can build business name ideas that will make branding easy.

Who Are You?

Coming up with a good business name shouldn’t be too hard, right?

You’ve got 26 letters and around 170,000 words to choose from… Well, you’d be surprised!

Finding a name may not be that hard, but coming up with the perfect name is actually quite complicated.

Online business name idea tools can help, but do you really want to trust a machine with something so important?

Before you start getting creative, you need to develop a brief that clearly outlines your brand’s identity.

What would a name do for you and how would it help you express your brand’s identity better?

Needless to say, articulating your core identity is crucial to the strategic process of finding the best business name ideas.

Now is a great opportunity to show how unique or different you are.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why does your company exist? What exactly is your vision?
  • What does your company do? What is your brand’s mission?
  • How does your company do what it does? What are your values?

Building out personas could help with the business name ideas  process.

Don’t forget that your name shouldn’t just define your brand. It should also speak to your target audience.

If you don’t know who your target audience is, you won’t be able to come up with a compelling brand name: 

So how will help you connect with them and become memorable?

Brainstorming Your Business Name Ideas

Only once you’ve identified your brand’s core identity should you proceed to the next stage:

Discovery and brainstorming for business name ideas.

Being creative and original is necessary, but remember to stick to your plan and guidelines.

There are many ways to do this and the best way is the one that works best for you.

That being said, you can start by:

  • Writing down some adjectives that you believe accurately describe your brand, products and services.
  • Describe in a few words what you want your consumers to feel and think when they think about your company.
  • Ask your staff and other people to share a few words that they associate with your establishment.

Feel free to explore different possibilities: but make sure that all suggested names are in line with your brand’s vision, mission and values.

To make the process easier and to make sure you remain focused and organised,  try creating a list of different suggested brand names based on common brand name types.

Some names are descriptive, meaning that they tell your audience what it is that you do or make (e.g Toys R US).

Others are suggestive, barely hinting to their function through a metaphor, analogy or association (e.g. Twitter).

Empty Vessel brand names (e.g. Apple, Starbucks) have nothing to do with the product or service:

Or the name itself might be meaningless usually making them difficult to pull off.

Under these categories, one will find countless brand name types, including family names (e.g Colgate), acronyms (e.g. KFC), mythical names (e.g. Nike), compound words, real words and invented words and even misspelled words (e.g. Tumblr).

Refining Your Business Name Ideas

So you’ve listed several potential names for your brand.

It’s now time to move on to the refinement stage:

picking out the names that you think will resonate the most with your audience.

First, you’ll have to do some research.

Positioning charts will tell you what your competitors are doing:

How do they use their names to define themselves?

What does their name tell about them?

What works and what doesn’t?

You can then choose whether you want to go with something safe or try out something different that will make you stand out.

There’s always a bit of risk involved:

What works for one business may not necessarily work for another.

Also, keep in mind than a name that’s too bizarre / different may not work too well in your sector / industry…

… so choose carefully.

Use evaluation charts to score suggested names based on certain criteria.

You may end up with more than a few good names, but you can only go with one in the end.

Here are some things that you may want to consider:

  • How does the name look? Is it visually appealing?
  • How does it sound? What kind of emotions does it evoke?
  • Does it have a meaning?
  • Does it fit with your brand personality?

The naming process should be an open process, especially if you’re just starting out.

Involve as many people as possible and don’t leave it all to the directors and managers.

Your name will later be used to create a brand logo.

It will also shape your brand’s tone of voice.

Any input is good input, so try to access as many brains as possible.

Put Your Business Name Ideas to the Test

By now, you should have narrowed down your business name ideas to a select few.

Time to put your suggested names to the test.

Make sure that your new name ticks all the boxes:

  • It’s memorable. A name that’s too long or hard to spell may not be the best choice. If it’s a made-up name, ask around to make sure people can pronounce it correctly without you having to tell them.
  • It can be translated. Long or complicated names don’t translate very well. Keep it short and simple, even if you’re not planning on going global anytime soon.
  • It’s not trademarked. May not sound like a big deal, but you’d be surprised. Trademarking can pose a challenge as It can take up to a year to get everything sorted. Seek legal advice in due time and plan ahead.
  • Is the domain name available? Your domain name needs to match your brand name so that customers can easily find you. While you’re at it, grab any social media or profile names and usernames that you think may come in handy in the future.

Is your brand name original? Inspiring and original names work best.

Nike is the name of the ancient Greek goddess of victory, while Google is a typo of Googol.

The best names have multiple layers of meaning and help you better tell your brand’s story.

You need a name that will express your individuality and instil trust and confidence in your customers.

Getting your brand name right is the first step to a successful branding strategy.

Don’t be afraid to take risks. Stand out by being original and creative. Be you!