How to pick business name ? 5 Steps

How to pick business name

What if I told you that BackWrap is the name of one of the largest companies in the world and the one that has most powerfully influenced our society in the last 20 years?

You would probably say to me, “Hmm?”

And you would be right! Because at the end of the 90s this company was renamed, following a process very similar to the one that I am going to explain to you in this tutorial. Except for the fact that, at the end of the whole process, they made a little mistake.

Stay until the end and I will explain all the details to you! Now for the good stuff!

If you are here it is because you want to know how to create a company, business or product name that is striking and attractive. And you do very well! 😀

In 1979, psychologists Raymond Nicholson and Marilyn Adams carried out what became known as the penny experiment. This experiment was recently replicated by researcher Alan Castle of the University of California, UCLA, to conclude what he called “saturation of attention” by consumers.

This refers, among many other things, to the fact that consumers have difficulty recognizing the different brands, especially if the names are very similar or too long so that we cannot remember them.

To avoid this problem I am going to explain a 5-step process, with which you can create your brand name and make it turn out to be the most striking and attractive for your audience.

How to create your business name

Know that there is no perfect brand name.

What there is is an efficient marketing strategy.

Whatever your decision and the result after applying this methodology, make sure that you put all your effort to convey that brand name and what it means to your audience and market.

# 1 Establish the purpose of your brand

For that, you need to study your audience and your market, and of course analyze and know your business very well.

What does that mean? That you have to know your buyer persona very well Take a look at my tutorial.

When it comes to your business, you need to know its history, mission, vision and of course its values:

  • History is nothing other than the process through which you have arrived at your present .
  • The mission is what you do for the market. Or what is the same, your value proposition . 
  • With regard to vision, it is what you want to achieve, especially in the future, what you want to transform yourself into. In that sense, you must ensure that your brand name does not limit you. That is why it is often warned about using a geographical name or a too descriptive name of a product that you offer because that can limit you to grow horizontally in the market in the future. After all, if you are creating your company name, that means that your business is in its infancy. That is, he has the whole future ahead of him, so do not limit it in advance.
  • And finally you have to identify your values ​​or principles. You have to know what moves you and what are the criteria you use to provide service in the market. If you want to elaborate this process even further, you can even identify your brand archetype and many of them, from:
    • The hero
    • The innocent
    • The outlaw
    • The sage, etc.

# 2 Set the tone for your brand

The tone of your brand is the way you communicate with the audience and it has to be something that resonates with your audience, something that your audience or clientele can relate to. And also, a reflection of what you want to offer and above all, a reflection of how you understand the market.

In that sense there are many types of tone. Let me give you a rating, by way of suggestion.

  • You can go for a more prestigious shade or a more popular shade.
  • It can be a funnier tone, or a more serious and measured tone.
  • It can be friendly or introverted, or even dark.
  • It can be pragmatic and practical or irreverent and rather casual.
  • It can be modern, innovative, or on the contrary it can be classic and conservative.
  • It can be intriguing or transparent.
  • And finally, it can be something very emotional or something rather objective and aseptic.

Identify the tone of your brand so that you can create a brand name that fits and easily conveys that tone . Take for example two well-known soft drink brands. We have on the one hand “Red Bull” and on the other hand “Coca-Cola”.

  • Red Bull has a mischievous, daring, and even a bit adventurous tone.
  • Whereas Coca-Cola is a much more familiar and conciliatory tone.

If you have doubts about the tone of your brand, ask yourself these two questions:

  • How will your audience or your clientele identify with that type of message and tone? And above all, regarding your market and competition
  • Do you want to stand out or do you want to conform to the status quo?

And this last question is very relevant because there are brands that can choose to start their strategy in a much more follower way, as followers of the leaders, and adapt to the status quo of the market. While others prefer to do directly as something totally different from what already exists.

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# 3 Extract concepts and select criteria

We need to collect ideas that result in a lot of words, which we will then use as a source of inspiration to create our brand name.

To perform this word extraction, use these steps for inspiration:

  • Get all the great ideas out of your business model and your market.
  • Extract the values.
  • Extract the stories that are in your business.
  • Extract the specificities of your sector or industry
  • Extract the benefits that you want to transmit through your products or services.
  • And even identify what are the emotions and feelings that you want to convey to your audience or clientele.

This will allow you to compose a huge list of words that will serve as inspiration for your brand name. Now, not all those words are equally useful or relevant.

At this point, you should be able to be clear about the following selection criteria:

  • Your type of client
  • Your sector
  • Your type of product
  • Your values
  • The benefits you want to convey
  • The emotions you want to convey
  • And the tone you want to use in your brand.

Let me give you an example. When we created the name “Armada Digital”, which is a product specifically a formation of one of my clients, Romuald Fons. We were clear about a series of values, we were quite clear about these criteria. To start with, we wanted to be totally different from what was on the market.

And in that sense, we wanted to avoid the typical names like academy, or names related to our own sector, SEO or passive income, so we avoided that type of name. We also wanted to convey that we were people of action and we wanted to impress that kind of attitude in our students.

On the other hand, we wanted to convey a sense of community. Finally, our own internal terminology has already invited us to use the term of the digital “Navy”. I explain.

The methodology of this program consists in part of creating a large number of websites. However, Romuald Fons called it a fleet, instead of many websites. This concept served as a seed for us to identify a series of names and words that eventually led to the “Armada” or the “Digital Armada”.

# 4 Brainstorming to create an original name

In this case, I recommend having some kind of mind map. I recommend that you first examine our tutorial on the different types of brand names , in which I present a multidimensional graph, based on two criteria:

  • The first is the type of composition or the form of composition of the word that will be our brand name. They can be totally real words or they can be made up names, constructed from two or more words or, finally, they can be names with totally made up words.
  • And on the other hand we have the connotation or what that name is suggesting. They can be totally descriptive names, they can be more suggestive or evocative names, or they can be totally abstract names.

In the last section of this tutorial, I am going to introduce you to a series of techniques to do a more advanced brainstorming , with which to create an attractive brand name.

However, if you want a simpler strategy, let me give you two tips.

First of all, you can use some kind of brand name generator or tools. As a general rule, they are usually based on combining words, using prefixes and suffixes. However, they are useful, when it comes to getting a lot of names and then selecting the ones that inspire you the most.

Second, you must visualize your client very well. When he arrives at your establishment or when he is thinking about your products or services: How does your brand name resonate with him?

5. Choose the name of your business

The fifth and final step is to choose the definitive name for your business.

By now you should have a fairly broad list. Before facing this last stage, allow me to make two recommendations:

If after this process, you feel like you still haven’t come up with the ultimate idea, take a look at the last section of this guide and use the six complementary strategies.

When deciding, let your heart take sides. Avoid making a purely rational decision, since you will have to live with the business name for a long time.

That said, in the next section, you have a total of seven criteria to choose the name of your business or brand.

How to Choose the Name of Your Business: 7 Criteria

Use these criteria to select the name of the company or business. Those names that meet more than these criteria will be excellent candidates.

  • The contextual meaning. That is, does this name communicate or convey the essence of your brand in any way?
  • The distinctive character, or what is the same, this name that claims to be unique in the market.
  • Future orientation, or what is the same, gives you enough flexibility to grow in the market.
  • Positive evocation. That is to say, that it transmits some type of value, feeling or emotion that resonates with your audience and your clientele.
  • The sound and that it is visually pleasing, pleasant.
  • The understanding or accessibility. Or what is the same, people have to be able to pronounce it perfectly well, because if not, they will not remember it.
  • And finally, it would be great if your name were also modular, or what is the same, that it later allowed to extend or branch the different names of other products, services or qualities of your company.

Availability check

Finally, in the selection process, you need to make sure that this name is available, in the broad sense of the word. Namely:

  • The domain is available
  • Other names positioned on the internet are not similar. P or course, you can consult the official trademark portals themselves, to ensure that there is no conflict.
  • Ultimately, make sure that you like the brand name, because you are going to walk with it for a long time and you will go to great lengths to spread it through marketing strategies.
  • And to finish, keep in mind that there is no perfect name.
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In fact, at the beginning of this tutorial, I told you that BackWrap was the name of one of the largest international companies in the world, which is none other than GOOGLE.

Google is the name they used to rename BackWrap and make it one of the biggest international tech giants.

Now, well, the name of Google, although premeditated, was also the result of an error, since originally, they wanted to have registered the name of “Googol”, which is nothing more than 10 to 100.

And yet they made a little misspelling to register the domain and that’s how Google was born. In short, a unique name, an evocative name, and the rest is history!

6 Techniques to Create an Attractive Brand Name

As promised, here are six complementary techniques, which you can incorporate into your brainstorming process, to come up with an even more original personal or corporate brand name.

Benefit description

What you have to do is create a brand name that includes the intrinsic benefit of your product or service. An excellent example is Duracell, from Duracell batteries. Which gives perfectly to understand what is the ultimate benefit of those small batteries.

On the other hand, one of my former clients is a well-known online English teaching academy. Now, they are specialized above all in solving a problem that people who are trying to learn English have and that is that it is difficult for them to speak; They learn a lot of grammar but then they can’t get loose. Do you know what the name they used is? YouTalk. Or what is the same “you speak.” It is a name that perfectly describes the service it is transmitting and it is extraordinarily original, I love it!

Metaphorical names

The second strategy that I propose are the metaphorical ones. Names such as “Kayak”, “Jaguar”, “Red Bull”, or “Midas” refer to concepts that are not specifically describing the product or service of these companies, but that nevertheless convey some type of value or property that this company behind this brand it does want to transmit.

In particular there is a name of a Spanish company that I love; Sherpa. Sherpa is the name of a mobile application that serves as a virtual assistant and competes with assistants like SIRI.

They used the concept of Sherpa, taking inspiration from the Sherpas of Nepal. The Sherpas were inhabitants of the mountains of Nepal but who became especially important figures in the expeditions to the Himalayas. Thus the concept of Sherpa has become a true protagonist of support to the explorers.

In this sense, Sherpa is the name of a support for mobile users, or what is the same, of a virtual assistant.

Descriptive composition

The third strategy that I propose is descriptive composition. Or what is the same, take different words that describe the benefits, characteristics or model of our business and combine them in a single and new word.

The quintessential example of the last decade is none other than “Facebook”, which effectively unites the word “face” and “book”. Another example could be “Media Markt” or “Pinterest”.

And I really like this third example because they are combining the word “pinboard” and “interest”. Thus creating a new word that is very original “Pinterest”.

Positioning name

The fourth strategy is the positioning name and, in a way, it is reminiscent of the previous one but is used in a different way. I explain.

What it does is use a descriptive name of the product or service and add another word, prefix or suffix that allows us to position ourselves in the market. For example, “Burger King” or “MasterCard” do nothing but position themselves as market leaders thanks to their brand name.

Decontextualization or disruptive name

The fifth strategy is decontextualization or the use of a disruptive name. That is, take a word from the dictionary that has nothing to do with your business, your product, or your service and use it as your brand name.

For example, “Apple” has nothing to do with computers or cell phones and “Starbucks” was a character in the novel Moby Dick.

Evocative description

The sixth and final strategy is the evocative description and I love it! Because it also involves combining words but in a very particular way, it is using a word that is very descriptive of our product or service and another that evokes the experience we provide to our user.

For example, PayPal is nothing more than the words “Pay” which is to pay, with “Pal” which means colleague, so that we are transmitting a very informal way of paying.

For example, the company BlaBlaCar is the conjunction of the word “car” with the expression “bla bla bla”. Which is nothing more than guaranteeing that during your journey, you will have the opportunity to speak in a very relaxed way.

In addition, these two brand names use two lexical resources known as alliteration and assonance, which contribute to give it a very special sound. If you want to know other techniques like these to create brand names, I recommend our tutorial on ideas for company names .

What should you do now?

10 Rules for Choosing a Company Name

1. Clarity: Don’t mix up messages.
The sound and style of your brand name should suggest what your brand does.

For example, if your brand name is YumÑum, this suggests food. YumNum should not be the name of a SaaS financial services company. That would be confusing and show no commitment.

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To achieve clarity, put together a list of keywords relevant to your industry or niche. If you are creating a SaaS financial services business, you may have a list that includes the words “numbers,” “spreadsheets,” “accounting,” or “books.”

Having a hodgepodge of relevant words will activate your brain to come up with a relevant name. Perhaps Freshbooks came to its name that way.

2. Descriptive: The company name must sell the brand identity.
Just as the brand name must be clear, it must also be descriptive. The name should describe the industry, attitude, focus, and goals of the business.

This does not mean that your brand name must contain the product or service. Rather, it should capture the essence, experience and benefits of the brand in an oblique or suggestive way.

Amazon, for example, chose a name that connotes massive growth and an all-encompassing service.

a business name

3. Memorable: It needs to be easy to remember.
The human brain is notoriously bad at remembering names. Why? The brain stores names in its short-term memory or working or working memory. In ordinary life, our working memory can be compared to our computer. It keeps the information we are working on active and present for a while, but it has many windows open and the system begins to fail.

The downside of working memory is that we can’t keep track of everything at once, so we forget some things.

To be memorable, a company or brand name must counteract the brain’s tendency to forget. How is this accomplished? Anchoring the brand name to another feeling, attitude or sensation.

There are different types of memory. If your brand name can stimulate two types of memory – say, a physical and emotional sensation memory – then the brain is more likely to remember it.

Here are some suggestions for creating memorable company names:

  • Keep it short (discussed below).
  • Make it unique (discussed below).
  • Use familiar words or sounds.
business's name

4. Short: It needs to be easy to remember.
One of the most cited articles in psychology has this casual title: “The Magical Number Seven, More Or Less Two.”

Researchers claim that the brain cannot handle a lot of information at once. Although the ultimate capacity of the brain is virtually unlimited, it faces challenges in storing, processing, and retaining select bits of information simultaneously.

Don’t load the brain with a lot of information. A short company name increases memorability, fluency of speech, and engages people.

Uber, IBM, Buffer, Apple – brevity is a beauty.

5. Simple: Make it easy to pronounce.
Don’t try to mix up words when creating a brand name that is derived from a common word. This will only confuse people and may even evoke bad memories.

There is a lot of fabric to cut here. If your derivation is so drastic that it essentially creates a new word, it might be fine.

Hipmunk, for example, is a brand name that sacrifices spelling, but violates expectation or conventional grammar (See what I did?).

6. Modernity: Don’t follow outdated suggestions.
A brand must have a modern vibe to connect with modern people. But, you shouldn’t go very far in that direction.

Why not? Because a brand that is fashionable today could be completely out of date tomorrow. You should look for a name that will last for the next five years.

The old-fashioned tips for creating a brand include identifying available brand names and choosing a brand name based on that. This is no longer as important as it once was, particularly because of the advancements in SEO and branding signals.

You should choose your brand name strategically, but don’t weaken your brand name by the availability of names.

7. Unique: Yes, it has to be unique.
There are neurological reasons why your brand should be unique. As long as it’s not too extravagant, a unique brand stays in people’s minds.

However, the business reasons for a brand to be unique are even more attractive. When a company enters the market, it competes for a place in the mind of the target audience. If you don’t get their attention, you’re doomed.

Furthermore, even as brand cues increase in the digital marketing space, the very existence of the brand depends on its unique identity.

You will not rise in the ranking or be found by search engines if you choose a simple word like “spark”, or “hammer”. You must differentiate yourself by creating a completely new word or combination of words that doesn’t break the cardinal rules of Simple, Short, and Memorable.

8. Attractive: The brand name must connect with your target audience.
Saying that a brand name should be “cool” is pretty simple advice. It’s obvious right?

This is why I am presenting it: a brand name should not be simply “attractive” in general (which is difficult to achieve), but must be attractive names for businesses, particularly for the brand’s audience.

So in order to hit the perfect brand, you first need to consider who you are trying to reach. What language do they speak? What is your style? Your age? Your income? Their education? Your level of sophistication? Your interest? Your religious perspective? Your brand preference?

Let’s take the VinoMofo brand for example. This brand focuses on the millennial, progressive, nonconformist population; They’re not aimed at wine-loving baby boomers, not with a brand like that.

how to pick a business name that is not taken

I recommend not choosing a rudimentary or standard word. Uber is forgiven because it is not a common word. Apple is forgiven, because it is something huge.

Make your own hybrid word.

Your brand is a product itself. You have to sell it. Communicate the value, purpose and identity of your company. When you can successfully connect all the dots between your audience and your brand, then you will achieve true attraction.

9. Durable: Longer than your own name.
It would be nice if your brand survived you. One brand can have a revolutionary effect on a generation. When that brand is tied to a single individual, it is less likely to do so.

With all due respect to Walt Disney, I suggest choosing a name that can last with you, apart from you, and long after you are gone.

10. Make some sense.
Sometimes business owners will choose names that are nonsense. Peculiar words (Yahoo, Google, Fogdog) or trademark names invented from scratch (Novartis, Aventis, Lycos) are a big risk. Check the international implications when creating the company name. More than one company has been embarrassed to learn that their name has negative and even obscene connotations in another language.

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