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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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What Makes a Good Business Name?

 

Coming up with a business name is either fun and exciting or strenuous and frustrating. But regardless of which camp you fall into, there’s one undeniable fact: A good business name sets you up for success from the very start. 

 

The Power of a Good Business Name

Think back to a time when you met someone for the first time – perhaps at a networking event, industry conference, or job interview – and when you extended your hand for a greeting, the other person gave you a cold, limp, and lifeless shake in return. It set a precedent for how you viewed them as a person, right?

 

Now contrast this with a time when you met someone new and they delivered a firm handshake while smiling and looking you in the eye. How did your view of that person differ from your perception of the individual with the weak handshake?

 

A business name is a lot like a handshake. A good name establishes a solid first impression that sets the table for positive associations and interactions, whereas a poor business name puts a company at a disadvantage from the start.

 

Your business name is the first thing people see. It evokes emotion and conjures up certain associations. It’s your brand’s identity wrapped up in a string of characters. And while there are other elements at play – including a logo, color scheme, tagline, marketing materials, etc. – nothing takes center stage quite like the business name.

 

4 Elements of a Good Business Name

The question is, what makes a good business name? In other words, how can you select a name that conveys a strong, firm handshake?

 

Here are a few specific elements to consider:

 

 

  • Domain Name Availability

 

A domain name probably isn’t the most important factor for a business name, but it’s certainly the most practical. And that’s why we’ve included it first on this list.

 

A company website is one of the first places a prospective customer goes to learn more about this business. And if you’re serious about building a successful company, you need a branded website: “YourBusinessName.com.” 

 

If somebody has already laid claim to this domain, you’ll need to buy the domain from the domain holder or get more creative with your name. A tool like TRUiC’s business name generator can help you zero in on company names that have available domains associated with them.

 

 

  • Simplicity

 

How many successful businesses do you know with complicated names? For the most, successful brands have company names with one or two syllables (and sometimes three). Examples include: Nike, Target, Walmart, Apple, Facebook, etc. Even a company like Coca-Cola – which has a four-syllable name and a hyphen – tends to use its abbreviated name, Coke.

 

Take it from branding pros – simplicity sells. Short and concise names are easy to say and remember. They just feel natural.

 

 

  • Easy Pronunciation

 

Quick – what do the following business names have in common? 

  • Hermes
  • Stella Artois
  • Fage
  • Porsche
  • Givenchy
  • Bayer

You’re probably pronouncing at least half of them wrong. And if you do say these names correctly, it probably took a lot of exposure to marketing and advertising to file the appropriate pronunciation into your mental library.

 

While each of the six brands mentioned above are highly successful, don’t take naming lessons from them. You want your business name to be simple to pronounce. It should be easy, effortless, and intuitive. 

 

 

  • Strong Associative Properties

 

Most words have both a denotative meaning and a connotative meaning. The denotative meaning is the literal meaning of the word. The connotative meaning is the emotional meaning.

 

When you name your business, you have to think about the emotions that it creates. A good business name has strong associative properties and makes people feel a positive emotional connection to the brand. (This is why it’s always a good idea to run studies with your target audience prior to finalizing a name choice.)

 

Set Your Business Up for Success

No two businesses are alike. So while the principles of naming a business remain true across the board, it’s ultimately up to you to select a name that’s powerful for your company, your customers, and your industry. 

 

Hopefully this article has given you a launching point for success. Now go forth and brainstorm!

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