Naming your company used to be easy. You know. Before the internet and all. You could just slap a sign on top of your brick and mortar store and bam! You didn’t care if someone else in a neighboring town was using the same name. Trademark wasn’t a thing, unless you were a big company.
But now, there are many things you need to take into account when choosing a name. First, you need to make sure the domain is available. If you’re looking for a name shorter than 5 letters, forget about it. All 456,976 combinations with four letters have already been claimed as dot-com domains. Since 2013. And if you’re hoping to get a .com domain using an English word, like robot.com, you better have a LOT of money.
That doesn’t mean you can’t find a good name. It just requires more work and creativity. Here’s how to do it right.
Step 1: Strategize
Finding a good name starts with building a structure that will help your creativity. This structure will remind you of your vision and goal to keep you focused during your search. Create a text document where you answer the following questions:
- What does the product/company you want to name do?
- Who is the target of this product/company?
- What are the 5 key ideas you want the product to convey? e.g. speed, premium, etc.
- What are the 5 key emotions you want the product to convey? e.g. happiness, health, etc.
- What approach & construct would you like your name to have? e.g. abstract, descriptive, portmanteau, acronym, a name, an invented word, a different language, etc.
- What are some of your competitors’ names you’d like your name to differentiate from?
There aren’t any right or wrong answers to these questions. We often see articles saying that descriptive names are better than abstract names. But if your name is in line with your vision and mission, whether it is descriptive or abstract will have limited impact. In fact, a memorable abstract name may get you more traffic than a plain descriptive name. The important part is to have a consistent and focused strategy. For instance, if you name your restaurant Peach, decorate it with a lot of peach art, paint it in peach colors and sell peach flavored dishes, you can be sure people will remember its name. Even if you spell it peeech. Because your strategy will be focused and consistent.
By answering the questions above, you make sure you stay focused while looking for a name. And by writing these answers down and using them during your search, you make sure you’re consistent.
Step 2: Brainstorm
Once you have chosen your focus, it’s time to let your creativity kick in. Organize a brainstorming session with your team, or just yourself. Make the most of the session by following these rules.
If you’re having trouble finding anything, use a search engine to get yourself started. Some websites provide name generators you can use to get your creativity in gear. You can also search for terms related to your long term vision or values for the company. For example, if “honesty” is important to you, translate it into different languages. Or try a creative spelling. These tools will definitely help you get more creative, but they won’t give you the perfect name. You have to do the work.
Write down all the names you or your team can think of, no matter how creative or simple. Then select 10 to 20 names which are in line with the rules you set in Step 1:
- Does the name align with your company or product?
- Will your target market understand it?
- Does it convey the right ideas and emotions?
- Does it follow your chosen construct(s)?
- Does it differentiate you from competitors?
Ideally, you should answer “Yes” to at least 4 of the 5 questions above with all the names you select.
Step 3: Eliminate
The last part of the process is about elimination. Go over all the selected names and catalog their legal, ethical or SEO restrictions:
- Is it trademarked?
- Does it have an available domain?
- Are search results already optimized for a different company?
- Does it have available social media handles?
Once you’re done, select the 3 names with the least amount of restrictions.
Instead of choosing the final name on your own, we recommend getting feedback from outside your organization. Poll your customers, ask your investors, and use their input to settle on your final name. If you’re not satisfied at the end of the process, start over to Step 1.
Finding a name can be challenging. Unless you are a naming expert yourself, you may overlook important restrictions. And in the end, the company could pay the consequences. We recommend working with a third party to help you go through this process in an efficient way. Naming experts on the Gravitr platform will help you ensure all your bases are covered. With their help, you can find a name optimized for your success within a week. Sign up here to get started.