By Casey Milone on November 21, 2017
Naming your business or new product can be a stressful exercise. Your new venture is a personal expression of all that you’ve been working on for months, or even years. You want the name to stand out, attract the right customers, be memorable, relevant to what you are selling and evoke excitement. On top of that, it has to be publicly available, so you can legally use it without infringing on another business’ trademark.
That’s a lot of pressure for a large company or even an independent business savant like—if we’re calling out the obvious choice—let's say...Beyonce.
If you’re currently stressing over the name for a new product line, new business, or a refreshed brand, give these simple tips for naming your business or product a try, to get the ball rolling.
While no one really knows where great ideas come from, it’s pretty clear that they don’t show up fully formed. The first step is to get some information out of your head and on paper, hopefully in the company of an energetic, supportive group—family, friends and colleagues all count. The most important quality here is your ability to keep it light and fun. No idea is too far-fetched during the brainstorming phase. By opening yourself up to every possibility, you may start to draw connections and pull in ideas that lead you to unexpected places. There are no wrong answers in a brainstorming session, every idea gets written down.
It really doesn’t matter where you write it, post-it notes, Google Sheets,
Word documents—who cares, just so long as long as you can compile it all in one place, for all to see (this is pretty
much what whiteboards were designed for).
Brainstorm silly phrases, terms commonly used in your industry, adjectives, product benefits, trending topics and words commonly associated with your type of product or business..Some additional naming inspiration might come from the following prompts:
- Review synonyms (and antonyms) in the thesaurus
- Google your favorite phrases, to see what images and search results pop up
- Translate commonly used words into different languages
To refine your list of ideas, consider the values of your intended audience.Think about their personality and the language they might use to describe your product or business. Your gut feel may be to go with trendy terms, but your audience may be a part of a generation (or live in a part of the world) that wouldn’t quite understand the meaning behind those turns of phrase. This second stage is a great time to try mashing up words, playing with spelling, or watching as strange ideas come out of left field late in the process.
Here are some things to consider, to refine your list:
- Is your preferred name already taken? Is it being used by someone in your targeted area of business?
- Does your name have any double meanings? Check hashtags and search results, to see if there are any negative, culturally sensitive, vulgar, or otherwise distasteful uses of your preferred name.
- Does your preferred name roll off the tongue? Pretend you are a customer inquiring about "insert your intended name". Is it catchy and memorable? Would you feel proud to introduce yourself as the owner/creator of this business or product?
Once you get down to a few choices, you may consider an online poll using your social media followers. It might also be valuable to move forward with your product/business development using both names. In this scenario, you would continue down the road of logo design or campaign concepting with both contenders, before you make a final decision.
If these tips for naming your small business got your wheels turning, leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to chat about where this process has taken you.
Learning how to brand your business is an art form that some entrepreneurs develop overtime, while others outsource the skill to a social savvy agency. *hint*