By Frances Collins
24/07/2013
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What should I call my new business?

Choosing a name for your new business is a tricky affair, we reckon its on a par with choosing your child’s name – and at least you get 9 months to think about that one! The difficulty is that there’s no one right answer. Any number of names could be made to work for you with help from some good branding, but we can certainly point you in the right direction.

Deciding on a name is best done in team, as people will have different perspectives on what sounds too cringeworthy or too corporate. Teamwork will bring balance, but keep that team select and small or there will be so many voices in the room you may never reach a decision!

Choosing a name for your business.

Choosing a name

We believe the best way to start choosing a name is to make a list (albeit, just a small one!) about brand values, and your chosen audiences. Then, once you have some suggestions for names you can tick them off from a list of prerequisites.

There’s a wide spectrum of names types you could go for:

Descriptive names, but these very rarely work out. Naming your dog food brand ‘Great Dog Food’ is boring, unimaginative and fails to stand out from the million other brands.  If anything, it suggests a poor quality basics product.  The only successful example we could think of was Holiday Inn (you know: an inn, for when you go on holiday!) and that’s hardly an incentive for you to do the same.

The old classic, using the name or initials of your founder, such as Cadbury, Sainsbury’s, DreamWorks SKG, Trump, etc.  The brand often here revolves around a personality or a set of skills that person is known for, so the public face of that person needs to be carefully considered.

Real words that evoke an idea or emotion, like naming your sports shoe Nike after a greek goddess of victory, a gentle soap named Dove, or a social media site for short form chatter called Twitter.  The main pothole here is of creating a cliche, but if you can get a good match it can really support the image of your business.

Arbitrary names, which are similar to the real words but with a much vaguer connection that requires joining a few dots to decipher. Calling your computer company Apple, for instance, or named your oil company Shell.

Blue Sky names, which don’t mean anything at all beyond from your organisation. Kodak is the classic example of a nonsense word, but this also includes deliberate mis-spellings such as Flickr, and word amalgamations like Pinterest.  The main risk here is that your word just sounds stupid, but on the plus side you are very unlikely to be mixed up with another company or find that there’s no domain name available for your website.

Sharing your chosen name can be nerve-wracking. It sometimes feels like crunch time, but it’s at this point that you need to deliver it with confidence! So, even if you’re not fully convinced of the new name yet, test drive the confident approach for a week or so. Trust us, it took a while for a dozen eggs to become normal.

Finding a URL to match your chosen name can be a tough one, but we just saw it as a challenge to think more creatively!  Thankfully, most of the names you would expect from an Apprentice sub team are already taken, so a more creative name needs to be found. We read a lot of books, and started picking out names from the text. It’s an easy way to find ideas without much pressure. The name that was eventually chosen came from an American dance choreographers’ book about the creative process!

We hope you find a name that works well for you, and a domain name to match!


Image from KLKranes

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