You’ve come up with an innovative idea for your business, you’ve thought about how to raise the cash to start it but there’s just one problem – what should your company name be?
This is one of those questions that seems ridiculously simple. After all, if you’ve battled through fundraising and even discovered that pitch-winning idea that is going to make you a renowned entrepreneur, thinking of a name for your company should be pretty straightforward.
Unfortunately, it’s far from easy. Branding is one of the most important parts of a new business and if you were to ask any possible mentor, they would state that you need to spend considerable amounts of time on this.
There is a reason why companies turn to consultants and spend large portions of their budget on branding; it matters. No, you’re not going to become an Apple or a Nike overnight, but your branding can tell a real story about you and your company name plays a big part of this.
Over the years we have seen some big brands change their name just because their message wasn’t portrayed properly. Suffice to say, these changes won’t have been cheap; once you get to a certain level the costs involved in making branding and name changes can be significant.
So, how do you come up with a memorable name? Well, if you are looking for a quick and easy solution, you could try turning to some sort of startup name generator. Granted, these can be somewhat hit and miss, but every now and again you do land on a gem that just feels “right” for your company.
There are other quick and easy ways as well. Some people use a logo-first approach. They have this innovative logo idea, that perhaps uses a hidden meaning, and from then on they are able to devise their name. It’s almost a backwards approach, but it can work.
However, in terms of a more longer-term strategy for choosing your name, you need to think of the message. You don’t necessarily have to tell the world exactly what your company sells. This was an approach that was used very commonly a decade or so ago, usually amongst online companies, who were trying to game Google’s algorithm with exact match domains.
Instead, try and subtly reveal the basis and principles of your company. It can largely depend on the type of industry you are involved in. While ‘Apple’ works for a tech firm, would a similar name work for a tradesperson? Probably not. You need to analyze your target audience, and competition, to see what is working in the market.
If you do have your eye on the big picture and perhaps viewing international markets, we would urge a little caution in relation to the translation of your brand name. There have been some truly awful ones over the years, and it’s not just smaller companies who have fallen victim to this. For example, in the case of Colgate, they released a toothpaste going by the name of Cue in France. What’s the problem with this? It’s also the name of a French pornographic magazine!
As such, there are an array of considerations when choosing your company name, but taking all of the above into account can give you food for thought and allow you to avoid the common pitfalls that tend to blight business owners.