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Home » The Power of a Name – Expert Tips for Naming Your Business

The Power of a Name – Expert Tips for Naming Your Business

The Power of a Name - Expert Tips for Naming Your Business

One of the first steps in creating a business is choosing your brand name. This is how the world will know you and it’s therefore a pretty significant decision. Choosing a name is a big part of building your identity and making you stand out from the crowd, and it lets customers know what to expect from your business.

 

So, where should you start?

 

How to come up with a business name

 

Choosing a business name can be tricky. So to help you decide the best title for your organisation, we’ve pulled in three experts to share their insights and advice. We’ll get onto this expert guidance in just a moment, but first, here are some initial questions to ask yourself when thinking about an ideal business name:

 
  • Will the name limit your business? Avoid being too specific about your offering in your name, in case you later decide to expand or change your business’ focus.

  • Does the name make sense for your business? Does the name indicate what you do? Some businesses opt for unusual, abstract names but these give less information to potential customers.

  • Is it easy to remember? Shorter names are often better and it usually pays to avoid acronyms, hyphens and special characters.

  • Is your name easy for people to spell? If not, you could end up repeatedly spelling it out for customers and suppliers, and risk people not finding you online.

  • Does it sound good? Is it easy to pronounce? Does it have a nice ring to it?

  • Is the name meaningful just to you? A random name with meaning only for you tells people nothing about your brand.

  • Is the name visually attractive? Think about how your name will look on your website, on a billboard and anywhere else it might appear. 

  • Is the name (and domain) available? You can check that with our company name availability checker.

     
 
 

Branding and marketing experts share advice on naming your business

 

Here come the experts! Let’s quickly introduce you to the branding and marketing experts who’ve kindly shared their insights with us, to prove that they’re well worth listening to.

 

Expert number 1

Daphne Diluce – award-winning international designer, brand expert, business strategist and co-founder of Roar Media Creative.

 

Expert number 2

Chelsea Spencer – Head of Marketing, Fenn 1875.

 

Expert number 3

Andrew Burnett – founder of helleau®, a thought partner to self-aware brands.

 

How powerful can a business name be?

 

Daphne Diluce: ‘In my experience, a business/brand name wields immense power when it resonates with a meaningful message that elevates and enriches its customers’ lives. The true strength lies in what the name symbolises. I thrive on delving deep into this realm, crafting brand names that not only exude power but also find a permanent home in the hearts and minds of the customers.’

 

Chelsea Spencer: ‘I’d say powerful but a lot of people at the start of their journey spend too much time on this instead of getting their product or service out to market fast to see if it’s even viable in the first place. At the start-up phase the aim is to see if it works – I’ve had clients in the past who’ve not even sold their first batch of stock but they’ve rebranded more than once and waste no end of money and time on the look and feel of their brand before even knowing if the product was good. Often I think it’s a mind-set thing either to do with perfectionism or procrastination. In some instances not naming your business or product can even help get over this until you’ve got some solid feedback on the product or service.’

 

Andrew Burnett: ‘How often do brands change their taglines? How often do they update their logos? And, how often do they change their names? Names are what we use to share brands in conversation, they’re vital to the most powerful form of marketing; word of mouth.’

 

Factors to consider when choosing a business name

 

DD: ‘In my view, the pivotal elements in selecting a business name revolve around customer comprehension. It must convey what the business or service offers, enabling clients to envision and grasp its purpose. This profound understanding is the key to attracting the right, loyal clientele to the business, ensuring constant growth and success.’

 

CS: ‘Functionally – can you get all the domain and social handles of the brand name and have it the same, is there anyone else out there with a name like it (I’ve had clients in the past literally rip off other brand’s names just because they like it and then faced the repercussions on diminished marketing returns later due to confusion, overly competitive SEO / PPC). Once I had a client that launched a sub-brand, created all the marketing and products for it and only then realised the domain they wanted was taken but not being used – the person who had the domain then tried to sell it to them for over 50k (they’re a medium sized business so to them this was a lot) – which they ended up paying because they’d already invested and marketed so heavily.

 

‘Also, trademarks. A current client is setting up their brand and they wanted to call it after a well known product of a direct competitor – it had a trademark on it and before they engaged with me they were having packaging and a website created under this. As soon as I embarked on the project with them I put a stop to it because the potential fallback would have been disastrous.

 

‘The less functional – ease of pronunciation, spelling (doesn’t have to be a real word like monzo) but the more simple the better traction they tend to get.‘

 

AB: A good name is SCUMMY™:

  • Short

  • Consistent

  • Unique

  • Memorable

  • Meaningful

  • Your brand appropriate.’  

 

What happens if you don’t pick a strong brand name?

 

DD: ‘If founders don’t pick a strong brand name, it can lead to several detrimental consequences for their business:

 

  1. Lack of recognition, making it challenging to stand out in the market.

  2. Confusion and difficulty communicating the business’s offerings.

  3. Reduced trust and credibility among potential customers.

  4. Limited growth and diversification opportunities.

  5. Potential trademark issues and legal challenges.

  6. Missed marketing opportunities and weaker emotional connection with the audience.

  7. Negative associations and damage to the business’s reputation.

  8. Higher marketing costs without guaranteed results.

  9. Difficulty attracting top talent.

 

‘I want founders to know, a strong brand name is crucial to avoid hindering growth, communication, and overall success for the business.’

 

CS: ‘Ability to market effectively, unnecessary competition on Search, Paid and Social like the above. Potential for trademark infringements. Ultimately it will become much more costly. Starting a new business and scaling is already hard so no need to make it harder for yourself along the way.’

 

AB: ‘The success of the brand.

 

‘If names don’t work they may be confused with other brands, be forgettable, have unavailable brand assets, and so on. ‘ 

 

Is there any psychology behind choosing brand colours?

 

DD: ‘Yes, there is indeed psychology behind brand colours. Colours can evoke specific emotions and associations, impacting how customers perceive a brand and influencing their decision-making. Colour associations hold immense power in branding and marketing. Understanding the psychology of colours is crucial when creating your brand materials. Here are some common colour associations: 

 
  • Red: Represents passion, energy, and urgency. It can create a sense of excitement and stimulate impulse buying. However, it may also be associated with warnings or danger.

  • Blue: Symbolises trust, reliability, and calmness. It is often used by banks, technology companies, and healthcare providers to establish credibility. However, an excessive use of blue may feel cold or distant.

  • Green: Associated with nature, growth, and health. It appeals to environmentally conscious audiences and represents balance. However, too much green may come across as bland.

  • Yellow: Conveys optimism, happiness, and creativity. It grabs attention and is often used to highlight important elements. But excessive yellow can be overwhelming.

  • Orange: Represents enthusiasm, confidence, and warmth. It can create a sense of friendliness and affordability. However, it might not be suitable for high-end luxury brands.

  • Purple: Symbolises luxury, sophistication, and creativity. It is often used by beauty and wellness brands. But overuse may make the brand appear too exclusive.

  • Black: Signifies elegance, authority, and power. It is often used by luxury brands. However, too much black can feel heavy.’

     
 

AB: ‘Colours are not my speciality, however, if one colour is common in a sector it is easy to disrupt…

‘There are many blue banks, but the red one is Santander, for example.‘

 

Should you include the type of brand in your business name?

 

DD: ‘I believe including the type of brand in the name can be a strategic choice with both advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, it provides clarity, helping customers quickly understand the business’s offerings. It also improves SEO and discoverability online, making it easier for potential customers to find us. Moreover, it contributes to establishing a clear brand identity, especially in competitive industries, showcasing our niche and specialisation.

 

‘On the other hand, there are some drawbacks to consider. Adding descriptive terms may limit our future growth and diversification if we decide to expand beyond our initial offerings. It could also make the name longer and less memorable, while using generic terms might make us appear less distinctive among competitors.

 

‘In the end, the decision hinges on our specific goals, industry, and long-term vision. We must weigh the pros and cons carefully to choose a name that aligns with our branding strategy and resonates with our target audience. Whether we opt for descriptive terms or a more creative approach, the name should reflect our unique identity and aspirations for the brand.’

 

AB: ‘Definitely not.

 

‘How many household brands include their sector in their name? Strong brands don’t add what they do in their names, try thinking of an example… ‘ 

 

Should you choose a long or short business name?

 

DD: ‘When it comes to branding names, it’s crucial to make the right choice. Shorter names are generally preferred, but there are pros and cons to consider.

 

‘Advantages of Short Branding Names: They are better memorable, simple to pronounce and spell, and offer more versatility.

 

‘Disadvantages of Long Branding Names: They may have limitations in describing the business, potential lack of distinctiveness, domain availability challenges, and the possibility of misinterpretation.

 

‘To find the ideal branding name, it’s essential to strike a balance. Consider the nature of the business, ensure clarity in the name’s brevity, and emphasise the brand’s unique identity. Ultimately, thoughtful consideration is key to choosing a branding name that aligns perfectly with your brand’s vision and resonates with your target audience.’

 

CS: ‘Depends on the goal of the business and the target audience. Hargreaves Lansdown compared to MoneyBox for example. Essentially do the same thing and also have a similar fee structure but they operate in different ways and to different target audiences. MoneyBox massively simplifies things like ISA’s and Funds but H&L still keeps an element of technicality about their content and website.’

 

AB: ‘Short names are generally easier to remember, and therefore easier to tell other people about Sector leaders tend to have short names. Again, try and think of an example of a long brand name…’

 

When should you rebrand a business?

 

DD: ‘A rebrand or rename can be a game-changer for your business, ensuring relevance and success. Consider it in these situations:

 

  1. Evolving Business Focus: Align your brand with the new direction as products, services, or audience change.

  2. Brand Perception: Distance yourself from negativity and rebuild a positive image.

  3. Mergers and Acquisitions: Unite companies with a new cohesive identity reflecting combined values.

  4. Legal or Trademark Issues: Avoid complications by renaming if facing trademark challenges.

  5. Market Saturation: Stand out in competitive markets with a revitalising rebrand.

  6. Outdated Image: Modernise your brand for renewed audience appeal.

  7. Expansion into New Markets: Adapt your identity for cultural sensitivity in global markets.

  8. Negative Customer Perception: Rebuild trust and enthusiasm by addressing feedback.

 

‘Overall, a rebrand or rename can be most beneficial when there is a clear need to realign your brand with your business’s current goals, values, and market positioning. However, it’s essential to approach this decision thoughtfully, conducting market research, seeking customer feedback, and consulting with branding experts to ensure a successful transition and positive impact on your business. I love all parts of the branding process, creation and seeing my clients thrive!’

 

AB: ‘Only if you really, really, have to should you think of renaming. If your reputation is bad, change the behaviour that led to the reputation, not the name. There are very few instances where changing a name is a good idea.’

 

Should you choose a business name that is personal to you?

 

DD: ‘Choosing a brand name that is personal to you can be both a rewarding and challenging decision.

 

‘Pros of a Personal Brand Name: It allows you to showcase authenticity, reflecting your identity and values, which can create a genuine connection with customers. Your personal touch can evoke strong emotional appeal, fostering loyalty among your audience. Moreover, a personal name sets your brand apart, granting it a unique identity that customers are more likely to remember. Additionally, using your name provides an opportunity to share your personal story, adding depth and meaning to your brand.

 

‘Cons of a Personal Brand Name: It might have limited scalability, restricting future expansion if you plan to grow the business beyond yourself. People may also interpret the brand differently based on their opinions of you, which can lead to misperceptions. Furthermore, using a personal name may appear ego-centric to some customers, potentially alienating them. Lastly, if the business faces challenges, it could impact your personal reputation associated with the name.

 

‘To make the best decision, it’s essential to consider the balance between personal attachment and the long-term goals of your brand. Think about how a personal name aligns with your vision and how it will resonate with your target audience. Remember, your brand name should reflect your values and aspirations, setting the tone for your business journey.’

 

CS: ‘For me I’d rather have a name that either meant something to the customer base or was indicative of the business. I like Klowt for personal branding and Gym Shark for the gym.

 

Then there’s the more abstract ones like Grenade for supplements and protein and Apple for tech which can work well too.

 

I also think it a founder is too personally invested it can become detrimental and cause bottlenecks to getting MVP out and starting the feedback / iteration loop process – look at Nike and how the founder wasn’t a fan of the logo at first but they didn’t let it hold up the process of getting product out there. In a way it’s the same with a name. If it comes to it, once you’ve launched and know you have a viable product or service that sells, you can refine the brand and even rename later down the line if needed.’

 

AB: ‘If the name works it doesn’t matter if it is personal to you or not. Names with personal attachment can mean that objectivity goes out the window when choosing a brand name.

 

‘It doesn’t matter if you like it or not, only if it works or not; Ron Knight didn’t like “Nike” when it was presented to him – ask him now if he likes it.‘

 

The cost of a domain for new businesses

 

Once you’ve chosen the perfect name, you’ll probably be keen to register a domain to start building your online presence. But which domain type will you choose – for instance, .com, .io or .net? 

 

Your business type should inform this decision – for example, .edu is used for educational institutions, .net is used for network technology companies and .gov for government agencies. Many British commercial businesses use .com or .co.uk, but there are more specific options too, such as .shop or .fun.

 

As well as your business type, you should consider cost, because the price of these domain extensions can vary a lot!

 

You can learn more about the cheapest and most expensive domains to buy in these graphics.

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