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9 proven tips for selecting the perfect name

By James Wan

What you need to know (in a nutshell)

  • A short and sharp name will be easy to use, type, pronounce and remember. Some of the world’s most powerful brands are one word.
  • The brand name should convey the message or mission of the business. A name that carries influence and supports or conveys the mission of the business is often powerful.
  • The brand name should convey the purpose of the business but not be too general. Many effective brand names suggest what the business does, but they are not so general that they don’t stand out.

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Nine tips for picking a great business name.

Establishing your brand starts with picking the right name - one that can be registered as both a company and a trademark. Therefore, this selection must be done thoughtfully. Follow the tips below to ensure your marketing and trademarking success when making this crucial choice.

Brevity is essential

A concise name is simple to repeat, type and recall. The phrase “dynamite comes in small packages” resonates here - many of the strongest brands are single words such as GOOGLE, NIKE, FORD, CANON etc.

Create an impactful statement

The name of your business should reflect the goal or purpose you hope to achieve. A powerful example might be UBER for a super taxi experience, MAKE MY TRIP for ticket booking services, LINKEDIN as an indicator of networking and ECOTAN representing organic self-tan skincare products.

Specify your purpose but not too vaguely

Most successful business names are neither too general nor so specific that they become forgettable. For example, RUFF CUTTS is much more memorable than PHUKET PET PARLOUR.

Geographic or descriptive names such as NEWCASTLE ELECTRICIAN and ESSENTIAL HEALTH SPA may be catchy for businesses but they generally won’t receive trademark protection nor will one business prevent competitors from using similar titles.

Generic terms may be used in searches, but a good name is remembered. If they are looking for a “dog parlour”, SCRUFFY TO FLUFFY will immediately suggest the service to them and explain what it provides.

Pick a business name that can be adapted

DOGGIE DIVA could be a good name for businesses such as pet care products shops or kennel services, whether in Jakarta or Seoul.

Be ingenious

To create a memorable business name, imagine using the words. Choose variations or alternate meanings that relate to your products and services. For instance, SHOWFUR will provide pet transport but SPARKCYCLE is the brand of electric bike you ride on.

When creating a distinctive word by purposely misspelling it, you risk consumers not spelling it as intended or another company having that particular correct version trademarked. Therefore, perform multiple searches for potential trademarks and prepare to spell the term correctly until your brand is widely recognised. Consider this decision carefully.

Don’t pick a business name that is too similar to others in the same field, or you may be accused of mimicry. To make sure it stands out and isn’t infringing on any trademarks already registered in your industry, do an IPAustralia search as well as online research into existing brands/business names.

Keep away from names with a bad association

Reflect on how potential mispronunciations, misspellings or societal influences might damage your brand’s reputation.

Select a business name with an available domain name and social media accounts

In this digital era, even small businesses must have an online presence. To make sure your brand name is available as a website domain, look through the 280+ extensions to find something suitable; if you can’t get .com there are other creative options like .shop or .guru etc.

Furthermore, it is important to use your name or a simple version of your name across social media platforms to build up an online brand presence.

Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of applying your name thoughtfully

Many well-known companies, such as GUCCI, FORD, COLGATE and LIPTON are named after their founders

A unique name might be available and easy to use, however, it won’t show potential customers what your company does. If you take on partners or expand into new markets, a generic brand could make the transition more difficult down the line.

If your business only has one person and is in a creative field such as music, fashion design, DJing or consulting you may want to trademark a name. However, it could be beneficial to have something that adds creativity while still having the personal touch of your brand—this offers more flexibility. Consider reading How To Trademark A Name for more information on this matter.

Choosing a name for your business is an important part of setting up the brand. Look for something that stands out, clearly explains what you do and expresses your company’s values.

After selecting a business name, make sure to obtain a trademark and safeguard it as a valuable intangible asset of your company as though it was your name.