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10 top tips for naming your business

How to make it clear, crisp and compelling

For most entrepreneurs, the company name is the first thing they think about when building their business, and it’s also one of the most important. All great companies have a clear, recognisable and enticing name, free of negative connotations and legal problems.

To ensure you get the right name for your business, we’ve listed 10 top tips – five ways to approach the naming process, and five things to bear in mind during it.

Here are the five ways to approach the task:

Create your naming outcome

Jon Platt, partner in branding agency ?What If! Innovation, told us: “Before we generate a name we create a naming outcome, clearly defining the type of response a client is looking for when people see the name.

“If they conjure up the images, feeling, breadth, sound, shape and association you are looking for, then you have got the name you need. The more tangible and precise your desired outcome, the easier it will be to spot the right name.”

Hold a workshop

A brainstorming session can be great for coming up with a company name, as it allows people to bounce ideas off each other without feeling they have to deliver the killer suggestion by themselves.

But if you do decide to hold a workshop, make sure you invite the right people. Jon Platt told us that “there are people who love words and language, and they are invaluable to a great workshop. Without them the session will be tortuous!”

Role play

Try to put yourself into the mind of your target audience; try to think the way they think. Work through the types of responses you want from them, and then consider ways to elicit these responses.

Get feedback

Once you’ve chosen your name, try and get feedback from as many people as possible before you formally commit to it.

A name might sound brilliant to you, but others might spot negative connotations, grammatical errors, or simply point out that it sounds rubbish!

Check it’s unique

Before you decide on your name, you need to make sure no-one else is using it. Go to Companies House and the National Business Register – these should have all the information you need.

Here are the five things you should consider:

Niche

Do you want to be associated with youthful excitement or classical distinction? Is your brand local or continental? Is it affordable or reassuringly expensive? You need to think about what you want your brand image to be, and build your name around this.

Acronyms

Some brands, such as HMV and the AA, provide punchy, memorable acronyms; but if you’re not careful, you could end up with an acronym which is extremely unfortunate.

So if, for example, you’re a food company thinking of calling yourself Succulent Tasty Delights, or a recruitment firm considering the name Amazing Recruitment Solutions Everyday, you might want to think again!

Search engines

When people come to type their search into the search engine, will they be able to remember it? Come to think of it, will they be able to spell it? If they enter generic search terms, will your name come up?

If your name is clear, simple and easy to spell, you’ll get more traffic from the search engines. And the more keywords you can think of around your name, the better.

Future development

You need a name which allows your business to expand and evolve; if your name is too narrow and specific, you’re tying your business down to a tiny market and you won’t be able to build on it.

Brand potential

Can you create a memorable slogan around your name? Does it work well in a logo? Does it fit into a winning tagline?

Your name needs to be malleable and suitable for a wide range of marketing avenues. If it’s not, you need to go back to the drawing board!

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