What's in a name?
Updated: Jan 10
It's the biggest decision for new beginnings... or is it?
Choosing a company name.
You've been deliberating for donkeys over what to call your new business. You've debated it with 'dog-walking' Dave, had brainstorms with 'in the brand business' Brenda but it's a one-time decision you can't afford to get wrong. Right?
Well, in truth we all give ourselves a hard time over naming a company. What if it's not hip enough, what if it doesn't imply what our business does, what if it's offensive in another language. There are indeed a million and one things that you could consider. So, we thought we'd try to make it easier for you and give you the top five things you should avoid doing before spending that budget stretching £12 with Companies House.
Don't get hung up on one idea - Brainstorm a number of different routes. Use acronyms, combine or mash up key words which represent your brand, use initials, consider mythology, find dictionary words which feel like a good fit or use a different spelling from a dictionary word (as long as there's a logical reason to do so).
Don't contradict your brand values - You need a strong match. You can't be world's apart from the ethos of your company with a name which misrepresents all the things you stand for.
Don't assume quirky is bad - There are hundreds of good brands with crazy names. They are just confident in who they are, and they market well to their audience.
Don't get too long - One word names are always considered more desirable, more punchy, and, with the likes of Nike, IKEA, Google, Apple and Samsung they are some of the largest, most successful brands in the world. But, for us mere mortals, the two or three word names just add a bit more to your story. Essentially, the combined result usually equals a much stronger brand meaning. Examples include Urban Outfitters, The North Face, British Airways, Red Letter Days and Pizza Express.
Don't think you've nailed it until you've done your research - You'll need to;
Check your regional word safety - you don't want to launch with anything offensive! http://wordsafety.com/ is a good website to do a basic check across languages. Even if you're just a UK-based company, remember there is a large audience out there who don't just speak English.
Check you can use the intended name legally - at Companies House for UK based companies. Any name which is too similar to one already listed may cause you copyright issues and may not be permitted to be registered.
Check that your chosen domain name is available and affordable -the better the name, the more expensive it usually is. .com short punchy addresses are akin to gold dust these days and if available, they are usually expensive. Consider what you really need and weigh up the pros and cons.
Check that you can get social media handles which closely match your company/brand name - the likelihood is you won't be able to have them all exactly the same across platforms or exactly the same as your company name. The important thing is that when clients search for you, your company is easy to find amongst the masses, using a handle which makes sense.
Once you've avoided these common pitfalls ... be realistic! You will most likely have to compromise along the way. It is hugely unlikely that you'll have an epiphany which provides you with the perfect name which isn't taken by someone else in some capacity. You'll just have to work out what's most important to you and what you're willing to compromise on.
In truth, everyone places a huge emphasis on a company name. The reality is, if you've avoided the pitfalls above - no company will fail exclusively because of their name. Success is driven by the impact of the execution of what comes next, and that is where your story begins.
Name that brand.