Coming up with great names is some people’s full-time job. I know, I can’t believe it, either. For some reason, I always think of the lucky gals or guys who get to name nail polishes. They are great examples of brand-marketing folks who have to ask themselves “what’s in a name?” on a daily basis.
Take the person who named OPI’s most-popular nail polish shade, Lincoln Park After Dark, for example. Lincoln Park, if you’re unfamiliar with it, is a Chicago neighborhood, which obviously gets pretty dark at night, considering the deep-purple hue of this product. Even if you don’t know what Lincoln Park is, you can put together the “After Dark” with the dark shade, and get it. It’s a play on words that creates a visual in the customer/consumer’s mind. A name, whether it’s for your business, its products or services, is about communication — it’s telling a story in a really, really, really fast way.
Here’s some advice on how to name your company, products or services if you don’t have an employee who just names things for your small business.
Consult an expert.
I’m not going to lie, it can be costly to work with a professional naming/branding firm. There are cheap experts out there, but often, you get what you pay for. A great professional can come up with good options and advise against bad choices, saving you time and headache in the long run. There’s more to this process than you might think, and a true expert in this area is going to be a great guide and advisor for you.
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Determined to give it a go on your own?
Okay, then start by writing down all of the different names you are considering. Think about names that not only you would find attractive, but that your customer would as well. Who is your target customer? Make sure you know that! Jot down ideas that they would connect with. And stay away from names that are too obscure (like, you get it, but no one else does!), or really long names that customers might forget. People tend to like to shorten things.
Search for it.
Yes, that means Google it. And do a trademark search. Make sure no one else already has the company name you’re considering. Or, if they do, that they are in a totally different industry than you. For products and services, you have more flexibility in this department, meaning that, depending on how common the name, there could be two or many more products or services with the same namesake out there. Consider how you would want to brand and market the product or service. Do you want it to have it’s own website domain name, Twitter handle, Facebook page and more? If so, then there will be more emphasis on making sure its name is unique and that those platforms and specific names are available to you.
Bat it off of everyone you know.
Talk about it. Know that everyone is going to have his or her own opinion and, ultimately, you have to make the decision and be sure of it. However, don’t keep your new company, service or product name a secret — talk to your friends, family and any business partners about it. At the very least, get their feedback, even if you don’t end up using it. They might think of something or raise an issue that you might not have thought of before. Also, consider testing your top few names on a consumer focus group or even a networking group.
Go with your gut.
In the end, you have to trust that you’ve made the right decision. Good luck!