How to name a new business
Here are some ways you can think about your company and make the most of what is available to you. Of course, you can pick a range of names and if you have time, money or an idea that will create such traction on its own, it becomes less critical. However, in the crowded environment we live, it is essential to select your name and identify the visual elements of your brand mark carefully.
The right name has the potential to become a self-propelling publicity campaign, motivating word of mouth, reputation, recommendations and press coverage.
Here is some advice on the types of name you can select:
Founder – Many companies are named after founders: Ben & Jerry’s, Martha Stewart, Ralph Lauren, Mrs Fields. It might be easier to protect. It satisfies an ego. One downside is that it is inextricably tied to a real human being.
Descriptive – These names convey the nature of the business, such as Toys ‘R’ Us, British Airways, or E’TRADE. The benefit of a descriptive name is that it clearly communicates the intent of the company.
The potential disadvantage is that as a company grows and diversifies, the name may become limiting. Some descriptive names are difficult to protect since they are so generic.
Fabricated – A made-up name like Kodak, Xerox, or TiVo, is distinctive and might be easier to trademark. However a company must invest a significant amount of capital into educating its market as to the nature of the business, service or product. Häagen-Dazs is a fabricated foreign name that has been extremely effective.
Metaphor – Things, places, people, animals, processes, mythological names or foreign words are used in this type of name to allude to a quality/meaning of a company. Names like Nike and Patagonia are interesting to visualise and can often tell a good story.
Acronym – These names can be difficult to remember and difficult to copyright. IBM and GE became well known only after the companies established themselves with the full spelling of their names. There are so many acronyms that new ones are increasingly more difficult to learn and require a substantial investment in advertising. Other examples: USAA, AARP, DKNY, and CNN.
Magic spell – Some names alter a word’s spelling in order to create a distinctive, protectable name, like Cingular and Netflix.
Combinations of the above – Some of the best names combine name types. Some examples are Cingular Wireless and Citibank; customers and investors like names they can understand.
Qualities of an effective name
Meaningful - It communicates something about the essence of the brand. It supports the image that the company wants to convey.
Distinctive - It is unique, as well as, easy to remember, pronounce and spell. It is differentiated from the competition.
Future-Oriented - It positions the company for growth and change. It has sustainability and preserves possibilities.
Modular - It enables a company to build brand extensions with ease.
Protectable - It can be owned and trademarked. A domain is available.
Positive - It has positive connotations in the market served. It has no strong negative connotations.
Visual - It lends itself well to graphic presentations in a logo, in text, and in brand architecture.
Make it memorable, compelling and engage with your audience.
The right name can make the difference between a memorable brand, and one that goes unnoticed. RT advises the best approach, should your name be descriptive, suggestive, arbitrary, or fanciful, and we love to develop corporate names, product names and entire naming architectures.
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