Your startup name determines the tone for any potential branding exploit you may attempt in the future. A solid name needs to create a connection between your target demographic and your business. And finally, a successful business name needs to describe what products or services you offer and the values that you represent.
Just as a robust name can benefit your brand, a poor name can cause you to lose out on referrals and sales. There are many different naming faux-pas that will slow the growth of your new business. Find out what the naming practices you should avoid when you are trying to come up with a new for your startup.
The most crucial aspect of coming up with a name for your brand is that it needs to be simple to say, easy to spell and impossible to forget.
If your customers have a tough time sharing your name with their friends and family, they will likely stop saying it altogether. This means that you will lose out on potential sales from referrals.
When trying to figure out if your name is effective or not try applying the “crowded bar theory” to your name. If you were talking to a friend in a loud and crowded bar, and you told them the name of your business, would they be able to understand it? For example, let’s say your business is a restaurant that you want to name Sam and Ella’s. In a crowded bar this name may accidentally sound like salmonella. This is definitely a misunderstanding you want to avoid because it makes your business sound unattractive as well as unpleasant. If you try this simple test when coming up with brand names, you will be able to ensure that your name only has to be heard once to be completely understood.
While it is always smart to select a name for your startup that is informative and lets your potential customers know what your business will offer, names that are too descriptive will bore your target audience.
A solid and effective name should have a little bit of suspense without being too vague and mysterious. When you are coming up with possible business names be sure that you get creative. Your name should attract members of your target audience so when they see your name, they instantly want to learn more about your company.
If you look at various brand names from recent decades you will see that certain naming trends are revealed. For example, in the mid 2000s, many startups decided on names that are missing vowels such as Tumblr, Twttr (which became Twitter later on), Flickr and Grindr. Another popular name fad from the last ten years was names with -ify suffixes such as Spotify, Gamify, and Coworkify.
Occasionally, using a trendy or fad naming style can help you get your ideas flowing during the brainstorming process, but you should remember that fad names come with consequences. Trendy names can often feel limited to their time period, and if you hop on a name trend too late, your startup may fall behind the competition in the fast-moving world of companies and startups. Try brainstorming startup names by using some of these fad name ideas to give yourself a better idea of how you can use different types of trends to come up with a great name!
Names that are too long can really damage the success of your business. Names that are too long are automatic turn-offs for many potential clients and customers because names that are too long come with even longer URLs. The longer your startup name is, the more unclear and forgettable it will be to your target demographic. When coming up with your name be sure that you think to the future.
Not only should you be thinking about the URL that your business will need, you should also be thinking about any possible social media handles you may want in the future. Social media handles are often limited to a certain number of characters. For example, Twitter handles are cut off at just 15 characters, so you should make sure your name will work with these types of limitations for social media.
Despite coming up with a solid name feeling like it’s an insurmountable challenge, you can do it! Remember that the time and effort you dedicate to the naming process will result in a strong, interesting name will attract your audience.
Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Inc 500 company Squadhelp.com, the worlds #1 naming platform, with nearly 20,000 customers from the smallest startups across the globe to the largest corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi, and AutoNation. Get inspired by exploring these winning ideas for business names.