Naming a Business
It’s funny how important a name can be. I use the word “funny” specifically in reference towards my own name and brand. I believe entrepreneurs and creatives obsess too much about significance, success and notoriety. The truth is your work should sell the business, not the name. Now that’s not saying names aren’t important. Names put labels to every tangible person, place or thing in this world. I was more referencing how powerful an ego can get in the way of two or more people deciding on one alias. Just breathe, decide, and move forward. Ten to twenty years later after continued success, most companies or music artists are never really proud of their names. They’re proud of their work. Even Dave Grohl labels Foo Fighters as “the dumbest band name ever”. Good thing their music, as well as a timeless logo, sells their identity.
Then arrive the pretentious do-everything names. Companies with the name enterprise or worldwide at the end. This immediately reminds me of the company Entertainment 720 from the show “Parks and Recreation”. Someone trying just a little too hard to sell what they actually offer. In fact, a very successful wine judge once told me that he has continued judging wine and only wine simply because that’s what he knows. When people asked him why he didn’t judge food pairings or any other beverages with his worldly palette, he replied with something that cemented with me to this day: “I stick to what I’m good at. That’s how economy works.”
Being a creative, I tend to search for humor in the most serious situations. Take for instance my own brand name, Dutchy Designs. I took something serious (like my fathers immigration voyage from Holland to start a better life in the United States), and turned it into a name that makes me laugh every time I say it. Now I know everybody won’t take that approach. When people talk about business, an instant change of scene occurs. We even dubbed the name business attire or business casual to explain a more proper way to dress in a situation. We switch the inflection of our speech to match a certain timbre of atmosphere. I get it. I’m even guilty of doing it.
So business or not, here are 5 of my recommendations to consider:
Alliteration allocates amusement. (See what I did there). Make sure it sounds good when you say it. Of course, I’m going to use Dutchy Designs as an example however one of my all time favorite brand names is Coca-Cola. It needs to stand out and not be confusing when said over the phone.
Stay away from the do-everything names. Yes, most people like to expand their businesses. It’s a part of our nature to want to conquer other worlds. But there’s a fine line between expansion and being pretentious. Stick to what made you start the business in the first place.
Use something with personal meaning. Not everyone desires to incorporate their ancestry so this is the one recommendation I would take the time to really brainstorm. Think about past stories, favorite places, or even personal beliefs. Remember the more personal, the more distinguishable.
Think about the shortened version. One of the largest companies in America consolidated it’s operating system into a branding strategy 12 years later after initial release. Mac was originally branded Macintosh - a component of Apple (and not to mention an already smart branding move being a brand of the fruit). The shortened version is globally recognized compared to it’s techy-sounding origin.
Check it before you wreck it. We live in a world now where we can access loads of information within seconds online. Sites like https://instantdomainsearch.com/ or https://www.hostinger.com/domain-checker can save you some serious time and stress knowing that your future business name already exists. They also help in finding out about other markets that cater to similar businesses. It’s a good strategy to know and stay up on your competitors.
Lastly, comes my favorite part. The visuals. After all, what’s in a name without imagining the look? Every name discussion I’ve ever personally been apart of always includes talk of potential logos. Some people need to see something visual in order to make it look concrete. With the already daunting task of finding the perfect and professional sounding name, creating a quick logo mock-up can finally start opening up some doors. It allows you to see it in context before releasing it for the world to criticize. If you are interested in some visual consultation services, check out some logo examples here that I have done for past clients. I always provide real-world examples with their logos portrayed on possible merchandise ideas like t-shirts, hats, tote bags, or business cards.
So whatever you end up with, just remember one thing during the process - it’s just a name. You’re far more likely to succeed when you carefully fine tune all the details of your craft while providing a professional look to the whole operation.