When you’re building a business, there are a lot of decisions to make. Business naming is probably one of the first decisions you’ll make. What will your brand name be? How will you express everything that makes up your brand in just a word or two? But it’s not just a word or two. It’s the face of your company, the name that will set you apart from your competition. And you’ll have to choose it at some point. So, what do you need to know before starting on this new journey?
First things first: are there any legal obstacles? A path many businesses start out on is choosing a “vanity” name, i.e., a name of their choosing, using letters from their own name or those of their business partners or parents, or simply making up words that sound good together (or even alliteration). But while this is a great way to start, it’s best to check with a trademark attorney before you get too far along in the process. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requires that parties seeking trademarks have proof that their proposed mark is being used as a source indicator for specific goods or services.
Be aware that the burden of proof is on the business owner to show actual use of the mark in commerce, and not simply intend to use it in commerce at some point in the future. In addition, your domain name must be available for you to register – a matching .com domain name may already be taken by someone else. These parameters can make choosing an appropriate business name rather challenging.
Why is your brand name important?
Your business name is your identity. Your business is unlike any other company out there, even if there are hundreds or even thousands of other businesses offering the exact same thing you offer.
Why? Because it’s the only one operated by you, and the other one that expresses your unique brand. So your brand name needs to reflect that.
Your business name shapes how your band is perceived not only by potential customers but by other companies in your industry. It’s a shorthand for everything you offer and everything you are – positive and negative.
That’s why you need a business name that doesn’t just express your brand persona but projects it loud and clear for the whole world to see. It’s a key part of your brand identity because it isn’t just an asset people will see, it’s one they’ll hear; it’s got to be something that communicates your brand and rolls off the tongue easily.
When you’re starting a business, you have a very limited amount of time to come up with the perfect brand name for your company. If you wait too long, your competition will beat you to it, and they’ll have the name that tells people what they are in an instant. That’s why creating your brand name from scratch is not the best option in the majority of cases. A great way to start working on your brand is by using the strategies below for inspiration.
1. Keep It Simple:
Your first instinct as a business owner is to create a name that is as unique as possible. And while this might be the best way to keep your brand from becoming diluted, it’s not always the best way to choose a brand name.
It’s important to avoid picking names that have been used by others, but many business owners don’t have any problem with this. After all, they don’t want their brand name to be generic or too similar to another one, right? Wrong. As any trademark attorney will tell you, generic brands are less protected than unique ones and can potentially lower your chances of trademarking your business name.
So, if you want to be as original as possible, you might not need to be that creative. In fact, it’s usually better to keep things short and sweet.
Take a look at some of the more recent brand names that were very successful. PayPal, Twitter and Uber are all great examples of two-word brands that are immediately recognizable and have created an instant feeling in people’s minds about what the companies actually do. And if something is going to be instantly recognizable and create an instant feeling, then why not try for that?
2. Think About Alternatives:
Alternate spellings can help your company name stand out from the crowd and become more memorable. For example, instead of hiring a large company to simply copy and paste a dozen other company names and re-brand them with your name in them, why not pick a name like “Bolt” instead?
While it might seem unusual at first, you’re setting yourself apart from the pack by thinking outside the box. You’re standing out from the start for having a unique business name that doesn’t have some canned brand on it. In addition, you probably won’t run into any issues with trademarking it since most likely no one else will have that same business name. Just try to avoid things like “Bolt” or “Trike.” Once again, those could cause problems down the line.
3. Create a Name That’s Easy to Spell and Pronounce:
A business name that is hard for people to remember is going to do more harm than good. You want your audience to be able to spell out your business name without any problems. When they go to tell their family or friends about the business, you don’t want there to be any confusion over how it’s spelled.
Also, keep in mind that the name of your business will likely be printed on websites, in emails, and in other places where people may see it multiple times. So try not to choose anything that a lot of people might have trouble pronouncing or spelling out correctly.
4. Make Sure It’s Unique
This is your company, and you want something that no one else is using. You want to stand out from the competition and be remembered as the source for whatever it is you do. The only way to do that is to avoid doing exactly what they’re doing. So if you can find a new way to do the exact same thing, then why not?
Instead of naming your business after yourself and creating a brand that’s all about you, consider naming it after something else entirely. For example, take a look at the company name “Go-Daddy.” It has nothing to do with the actual product. Instead, it’s a clever play on the name of the founder’s daughter. That’s an excellent example of how you can repurpose your brand into something that is unique and memorable but still representative of who you are and what you do.
5. Pronounce It in Different Ways:
A great way to get a feel for what your business name might sound like when people hear it is by reading it aloud multiple times. You can do this while standing in front of a mirror or when you are out and about. It will help you get a better idea of how it sounds when people hear it and decide if that’s how you want them to remember your business name.
A great business name is one that not only makes you stand out from the crowd but also helps you achieve your goals and image. You might have a great idea in mind, but if it’s not original, then you could run into all kinds of trouble down the road. Subsequently, it’s always best to come up with something that people can remember and say quickly.
Interested in reading more about the creation of a brand? Branding – Elements to Build Brand Identity discusses the elements towards building a brand identity.
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