The Name Game: How to Select a Great Company Name

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Choosing a Great Company NameYou can offer great products, great service. But if your company name has no punch, it can spell business disaster. There are several things to keep in mind when selecting a business moniker.

Make it Memorable

You want a name that people remember easily—whether because of its levity or simplicity. “Can your target market recall the name after seeing it just once? Is it pronounceable, easy to say? Is the name available–Is your new name clear in trademark and URL searches?” asks branding expert Mike DiFrisco of How-To-Branding.com.  It also should be unique, and if it is a play on words it should funny, not offensive. “Make sure it is not confusingly similar to something else and make sure it doesn´t violate someone else’s copyright or trademark,” says Mike Scanlin, CEO of Born To Sell. “Also, make sure it doesn’t offend anyone in another language. All other things being equal, something close to the start of the alphabet is best. ”

Give it Meaning

Don´t just select any name. A name should convey something about your company and its product. Your target audience has to “get” the name and it should support your branding plan. Michael Bremmer, CEO of Telecomquotes.com, recently changed his business name and “we learned a ton from it,” he says. “We changed our company name last year from our bland National Communications Inc. (which had to be the worst Google optimized name ever), to Telecomquotes.com.“ Bremmer scoured through various name options before choosing Telecomquotes. “What makes a good business name is a name that helps people immediately understand what you do for them,” he says. “If you make soap, The Riverside Soap Company lets me know immediately what you do.”



Skip the Initials


It might seem easy enough to use initials for your company name, but according to experts it´s not a good idea. Unless you’re IBM, AT&T, or BMW, it´s best to avoid the initials game, says DiFrisco. “It´s the sure road to anonymity. Additionally, initials are notoriously difficult to remember,” he says.

Make it Light

Some of the most memorable names these days have a sense of humor—Twitter, Google, Apple.  “Brevity or uniqueness helps to make a winning name for a company,” offers Christine Clifford, CEO/President of Christine Clifford Enterprises and author of You, Inc.: The Art of Selling Yourself. “Our society is so bombarded by information today that if the name of your company is longer than three syllables or ten letters, it isn’t memorable.“

Test Drive the Name


You should test out your company name by getting public opinion. “Run it by every person you can think of from the postman, your insurance broker, to every person in the company plus your customers…get as much feedback as possible from as many different sources,” says Craig Wolfe, president of CelebriDucks. Of course, ultimately you have to like the name. But the polling could tell you if you are on the right track and if your name is understandable to the masses.
 
Have a Digital Presence

Make sure you own the .com for your name. If not, check out the expiring domain lists from Networksolutions.com, suggested Bremmer, who found his new company name in this manner.  “That’s how we decided on Telecomquotes.com and bought it for $60. It matched our company perfectly and it was easy to remember. Good names aren’t that expensive, but you may have to shop for a while,” he explains.

Back it Up Visually

Add extra punch to your name with a powerful logo. As with the name, the logo should be easy on the eyes and make a visual statement.