How to come up with a great business name
Learn how to find the perfect name to get started with your business
One of the most valuable assets any business has is its brand identity. It doesn’t matter which industry segment you work in, without having a solid brand identity, you can't be successful as a business.
There are a number of different aspects that help a company with developing a solid brand identity. Getting the right logo, having the right color schemes and developing the right brand voice are all very important parts of the equation. But this all starts with having the right name.
A good business name immediately evokes associations in consumers' minds. If you're hitting the mark with your business name, it should become synonymous with the service you're offering and the brand values you want to convey.
However, selecting the perfect name isn't about impulsive decision making. There's a whole process that goes into selecting successful business names. In this guide, we’re going to dig deeper and evaluate the factors that make up the perfect business name.
Why the right business name is important
According to recent research by Consumer Thermometer, 64% of women and 68% of men have felt an emotional connection with a brand. The best brands convey their unique selling proposition and their philosophy so well that even seeing a logo can evoke this emotional response in consumers. Having the right business name is integral to getting this kind of response.
According to Crowdspring, 77% of consumers make purchases solely based on a brand name. Moreover, 72% of the world's most successful brands have a name using a made-up word or acronym. This shows just how important it is to have a unique name that sets your business apart. Here are some of the benefits of a unique, recognizable name.
This one is pretty obvious. Most people are going to associate your brand with its name. A unique name makes your brand more memorable, and more recognizable.
A great business name ties in smoothly with your marketing efforts. Though a lot of companies do use made-up words or acronyms, many successful brands have names that communicate the core expertise of their business; for example, Salesforce, MailChimp or … ahem … Freelancer.
Great business names definitely make it easier for you to optimize your digital presence. Having an easily accessible and memorable name is instrumental in improving your SEO across all platforms. And if you can pick a name that actually describes what you do, you can boost your search rankings for generic terms related to your industry. Once again, why do you think we picked the name Freelancer?
So it's pretty clear that a good business name goes a long way toward building a strong brand identity. But how do you decide on a business name? Let's look at some of the factors you should keep in mind.
What to keep in mind when selecting your business name
Yes, your business name is deeply personal, and your own experiences and preferences will shape the name you decide on. That being said, it's important to keep some guidelines in mind. This will help you from picking a name that resonates with you but not with consumers.
Ease of spelling
It is really important to keep your business name short and concise so it is easy to spell for your customers. Try to keep your business name as short as possible to improve the chances of your customers getting the spelling right. An easy to spell name is also a major resource when it comes to your business' search performance.
You want your business' name to stick in consumers' minds. It's great to pick a name that captures the essence of what you do, but you don't want it to be so generic as to be forgettable. There's a reason MailChimp went with a fun, whimsical name that still incorporates their expertise rather than something like Jim's Email Service Platform.
Availability of domain name
Having the right domain name is extremely important for your future marketing, SEO and the visibility of your company. So many business owners make the mistake of ignoring the business domain before they copyright the name. This leads to major issues in procuring the right domain. And having a memorable business name won't help your company if no one can navigate to your website using it.
You are definitely going to need a logo for your business at a later stage. You'll want to select a business name that's easy to represent visually for your brand. This might be why so many successful brands use acronyms for their business name. It's easier to make "IBM" visually striking than "International Business Machines."
As a new business, you definitely don’t want your name to be confused with that of a well-known brand. Make sure that you research global companies similar to your name so you can avoid any confusion down the road. Choosing a unique name when starting out will provide you with a smooth path forward to grow your business. You'll have a much easier route in everything from social media pages to domain availability and general searching ease. A little effort in research will save you countless hours at a later stage.
There's a quote often attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Make sure that you avoid getting into overly complex names for your business. Simple names are more memorable and more searchable. A complex name like Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net might seem futuristic and classy, but it's not very searchable.
What if you don't have any good business name ideas?
Sealed contests are a great way to get name entries from hundreds of professionals. These contests allow you to get input from people who have years of experience in brand consultancy and digital marketing.
And the best part? You only have to pay for the selected entry.
To set up a sealed contest, head to www.freelancer.com/contests and click the "Start Your Contest" button. Choose the sealed option. This means participants won't be able to see each other's entries, so you'll get more unique ideas.
This is a great, economical way to get input into your business name and select the optimal name from hundreds of entries. Just make sure that you provide detailed context about the following areas:
- Business segment
- History of business
- Core product or service offering
- Company philosophy
- Target customer demographic
By sharing this information, freelancers will be able to have a clear idea about your requirements and will be able to come up with a name that accurately reflects the identity of your business. And at the end of the day, you're going to be making the final decision.
After you've posted your contest, just wait for the entries to start rolling in. You can award a winner at any time, or wait until the contest ends and select from all the entries. After you've selected a winner, you'll award them the prize money and they'll transfer over any assets related to your contest.
Corporate branding is complex. It may start with a business name, but it entails many other factors such as your logo, your visual style, your brand voice and your brand values.
Once you've nailed down your name, get started on a logo to visually cement your brand in the minds of consumers. Then, do some research to determine the other elements of your corporate branding. It might seem like a lot of work, but it'll pay enormous dividends for your business.
Your name is the first step, and it'll set the tone for everything that follows. Getting it right is worth it in the long haul.