Naming Your Company (Part 2)


Posted by on 06 January, 2012

Last month we looked at some of the difficulties in finding the perfect name for your company. Today we’re looking at what strategies the world’s biggest, most well-known brands have used to find theirs. Perhaps their approach can teach you something.

What are the different approaches to naming?

There are many schools of thought as to what makes a great name. Some say it must describe your business category precisely; some say it should describe a feature, benefit, or unique differentiation; while others say it should require no explanation at all.

Different companies use different methods, all with varying levels of success. There isn’t one solution that works best for everyone. If it was that easy you’d be lounging on the beach enjoying the fruits of your brilliant name instead of reading this post.

For the purpose of creating your company’s name, a few naming strategies need to be considered.

1. Descriptive

Do you want your name to define a key attribute of your company? If so, then a descriptive name like Speedy Auto Glass or Quality Inn might be a fit.

Do you want it to be blatantly obvious to your customers what it is that you do? Companies like Toys ‘R’ Us, Burger King, and Internet Explorer all used this strategy.

2. Hybrid

There’s also the hybrid approach. Companies like Grey Goose, Red Bull, and FireFox all used the hybrid method to come up with some pretty unique names.

3. Evocative

If you consider yourself to be the creative type, maybe you’ll want to try designing an evocative name? For example Yahoo, Virgin and Crunch! used suggestive words to convey their business.

4. Coined

Or if you are feeling up to it, perhaps you can create a name you coin or invent yourself? Names like Viagra, Verizon, Kodak and Xerox come to mind.

5. Metaphorical

Finally there’s the metaphorical or analogical approach. Names like Amazon and Safari are unique and stand out in any crowd.

Companies like Apple, Blackberry, Saturn and Target all used random objects with positive connotations to describe their business. Is your company a beacon of hope in a industry known for shady dealings? Maybe an approach like this will work for you.

For the complete list of naming strategies, download Urban Jungle’s Naming Worksheet.

So you’ve decided you’re a ‘metaphor-kind-of-person’ and you’ve come up with a few solid contenders. Are you done?

Nope. Not even close.

The next exercise in analyzing the name of your company, is looking at a few of its characteristics. The following is a short list of some things that should be taken into consideration:

1. Is the name easy to remember?

2. Does the name roll off the tongue?

3. Is the name 1-4 syllables long?

4. Does the name contain strong consonants?

For the complete list of evaluation criteria, check out What’s in a Great Brand Name? or download the Urban Jungle Name Evaluation Tool.

If after all of this you still have a name to work with, you’re almost done. You’ve found the perfect name, so run with it and run quick! Hire a trademarking and copyright lawyer to seal the deal for you before anyone else snaps it up.

Good luck!


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