Name Your Business: How To Choose A Winning Name
The following is a guest post by Katarina Nilsson. Her bio follows.
So you have your great idea and are about to set the wheels in motion? Great job! Now it’s all down to one small detail. Although it is not that small of a detail in the grand scheme of your business. So, what will you name your business?
The naming stage of a business, product or service is where many of us get stuck. This is a common problem for all sorts of companies, from the smallest startup to the international corporation. Naming your business may seem easy, but in reality there are many pitfalls you need to avoid.
If you’re new to this and don’t know the first thing about legal and linguistic evaluations, copyrights and strategic platforms, that’s totally ok. Those things are all very important steps of a thorough naming process, but let’s save them for another time.
The main issue for many is actually step one: how do I think creatively around names and what do I need to consider?
These tips and tricks will hopefully give you a few insights on naming your ”baby” to give it the best possible start in life:
Stick Out To Stick Around
Trends are often tempting for a reason. But when it comes to the art of naming, a trend is a deathtrap! If you go for a name that feels fresh and flashy at the moment, chances are it’s going to be perceived as just the opposite.
A trend always dies out and you want your name to live forever (approximately 10 business years, that is). For example, after Spotify, suddenly every company was called somethingify. Seriously, google it, you’ll be surprised at how many there are! Today, all those companies probably wish they hadn’t made such an hasty choice, since nothing can be more dated.
Another reason to go for a less trendy pick is that business really is all about standing out, especially if you’re a startup competing against the giants of the game. If you have a great product AND a great name, you can’t lose!
Show, Don’t Tell
It’s perhaps an overused expression, but nevertheless a true one. The number one pitfall when it comes to naming is being too descriptive by calling your product or business exactly what it is.
But I want to name it Dollydress since I am just going to sell clothes for dolls. Really? What if Dollydress does really well and you wish to add action toys to your offering? What if you suddenly have a franchise on your hands and the demand to expand just keeps on growing? You never know, and that alone is reason enough to start looking for a more associative alternative, a name that’s inclusive rather than limiting. The trick here is to think about what you represent, the soul of your product, rather than the product itself.
See the World as Your Playground
An associative name, that perhaps has no real meaning is also easier to protect from a legal standpoint, which helps a lot if you wish to go global. You might consider a name that’s going to work well in your current market and in your home country – but in 5 to 7 years when Australia comes calling, you may realize that your amazing brand name actually means something else in another country… and it could be something very unpleasant.
If you do your homework right from the start and create a list of names that are associative, legally and linguistically proofed, and that you feel offers an edge on your market – and in future markets – you’re in the driver’s seat.
Keep the Guest List Short
Many times a naming process fails due to internal disagreements within the team. Therefore, you want to narrow the group down, and everyone involved must have the mandate to make decisions. A good way to begin is to have a creative workshop, just to get into the mood and start throwing all your crazy ideas around. A naming process is supposed to be great fun, so the more you space out, the better it gets. Just remember that in the end, the name should somehow reflect your vision and core values.
About The Author
Katarina Nilsson is an entrepreneur with 15 years’ experience as a naming expert and strategist. As the Founder of Eqvarium, she has helped to create names for some of the world’s most prolific brands including, Sony Ericsson, H&M, Toyota, Electrolux and BabyBjörn. A certified Joy of Business facilitator and a popular keynote speaker at universities and organizations all over Europe, Nilsson has a Master of Arts and a background studying Branding and International Property Law. She also speaks Swedish, English, Spanish and German fluently. A passionate change agent, she credits the tools of Access ConsciousnessTM, as she helps other entrepreneurs and leaders to expand their business, unlock their inner creativity.