What’s in a name? Choosing the right name for your business

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 30th, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Last week most of the papers and the TV were awash with speculation over baby names. That no doubt will turn into weeks of stories about the origin of names, the meaning of names, in fact anything to do with names.

Well, names are important. A good one can set you up for life, and according to an article in The Week from March 2012  they can even affect our personalities and the choices we make. Apparently, this belief goes back to the Romans who had a phrase – nomen est omen, or ‘name is destiny.’ Just look at how many actors and performers have changed their given names for something a tad more exotic or memorable.

It’s the same with businesses too. Naming your fledging company is just as important as naming your baby – you’re going to have to live with it for a long time. So you want it to be memorable for the right reasons, and for it to have positive connotations. You need to spend time on it and do your research. But where do you start?

Bronwyn Durand of JupiterJasper is a marketing mentor for small businesses, and as The Brand Whisperer, she  has a special interest in using what makes a business differentto develop its commercial identity. Here’s what Bronwyn has to share on naming a business…

“Naming a business, or something your business does, can be a little like inviting lightening to strike. It’s hard to zoom out of what you do and think about the business, to consider what the business is. When you are running the business, being both objective and deciding what matters is really difficult. (Isn’t it always easier to do it for someone else, rather than yourself?)

So where do you start? With a story.

What is your business made of? What will connect with people and add depth to what you do? How do you make a difference? What is the big dream?

Mapping out a proper brainstorm of words, ideas and things you think relate to your business is a good place to start. Noting anything that is a big ‘No!’ can also point you in an opposite and more helpful direction.

When you name a business, you are setting a path from now to the possible future. Try to avoid faddish names that can age. Technology changes, and tools and products come and go at an alarming rate. So if your name hinges on the facts of the current product, rather than a core idea, you could set yourself up to be obsolete if you ever want to expand. It could also make it difficult to envelope different ways of handling the problem you solve as it changes. What if you want to add new lines? Naming for the product can hold you back or confuse your customers. What exactly is your usefulness to your customer?

A source of frustration for many comes from not researching the name before committing to it. Google and Bing it, check with anywhere you register a business. Can you buy the URL?

There is nothing like being bumped off the first page of Google by a handful of similar named businesses with questionable practices or inappropriate products! If you are in a competitive industry, looking at your competitors will show you how many do and say the very same thing.

Some business owners ask friends and family to help choose their name. As they are rarely the typical customer for the business, they can be a false source of confidence.

Seeing a name on paper is not the same as hearing it aloud, and it’s even more revealing to hear how other people pronounce and hear it. The way a name sounds can be quite pleasurable.

Is it easy to remember? Even if the name you choose is your own, the associations and values you develop around it (and take care to look for the ones that already exist in public knowledge) will help sustain you through the highs and lows of running the business.”

Big thanks to Bronwyn for sharing some valuable information. Does anyone else have tips for naming a business? How did you arrive at yours?


Just an observ-ation | Client of the Month – New Era Internet

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Hello. I'm Elaine, I'm a copywriter and this is my blog.

It's mostly about words and writing - things that inspire me, entertain me, and make me smile. Sometimes it's about things that horrify me so much I want to scream and shout!

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