You have the idea for your business, you understand your offers, your target market, and your goal. But what about a name? Well you do one of two things: pick one at random just to get your idea out into the world, or stare blankly into space, agonizing over the right choice all hours of the day. There’s really no in-between!
Naming your business (and naming it strategically) is quite the challenge. Maybe you’re naming your business for the first time. Maybe you’ve been in business for a while, but think it’s time to rename yourself. Either way, I’m here to walk you through the best naming practices so you can:
I’ve been inspired by my latest read: Brand Brilliance – elevate your brand, enchant your audience by Fiona Humberton.
According to Fiona “The right company name will elevate your brand from the get-go”. Your name sets a tone and regardless of the route, evokes a feeling.
There are four types of business names I want to share with you today: Founder names, descriptive names, emotional names, and combination names
A founder name is one of the most common you’ll see amongst small businesses and solo entrepreneurs as it turns the owner’s name into the business name.
A few examples of this might be:
Using your own name is a practically foolproof and quick way to ensure you have a unique business name. It will likely be easy for you to obtain domain names, account names and clients will be able to quickly build name recognition.
On the contrary, if you plan to sell your business one day or expand with new offerings or employees, it may be a setback. If you have an uncommon name or an oddly spelled name, a founder name can work against you. These scenarios could make it hard for clients to spell, search, or pronounce your business.
My original business name was “Aubre Walther Design.” although it was clear what I offered, the uncommon last name and spelling of my first name raised some concerns. In my case I also found that the name lacked the inspirational feeling I was after.
You’ll want to consider the feelings you want to evoke with your business name. Does using a founder name accomplish that for you?
Descriptive names are exactly what they sound like. The name conveys exactly what the product or service of that business is.
Typically descriptive names are used by larger corporate companies like: Toys R Us, General Motors, and The Weather Channel. But they are also popular for small brick and mortar businesses (or businesses that serve a specific geographic area).
Here’s a few ideas of descriptive names that would suit a small service provider like yourself:
There are some disadvantages you may want to consider. If you don’t plan to live in your current location for very long you may not want to go with a business name that uses a specific town, city, or geographic marker. Additionally, if you are looking for a bit more personality and feeling, a descriptive name can often feel cold and stiff.
Descriptive names do have the advantage of clearly communicating to your audience what it is you do. They can be valuable in terms of SEO as they are easily found by users online (since your name would have keywords or a location someone would likely search for). If you are a small business that serves a local community you may want to consider a descriptive name.
Emotional names are all about evoking a strong feeling. They can be symbolic or convey a part of your story that is significant to your mission, goal, audience, or origin as a business. They can be deeply personal to the founder or simply use words that would resonate with the intended target market.
These thematic names are very popular amongst small businesses because they can be clever, whimsical, and get an audience excited or interested. Emotional names rely on words that paint a picture, tell a story, or evoke the 5 senses. Since they aren’t specific to an offer or a founder name, there is plenty of room for future growth.
Here’s a few examples:
The disadvantage of using an emotional name is that it can be a bit too vague for your audience to really understand what your business is. You also run the risk of making something too complex to pronounce, spell, or remember.
If you do choose to go with an emotional business name you want to be sure your tagline and other brand messaging speaks very clearly to what you do and who you do it for.
You may find that you want to combine a descriptive name with an emotional name! This is the best of both worlds for many small businesses as it provides clarity as well as an emotional connection or symbolism.
While it is less common you could also try combining a founder name with an emotional name. It can give a small business that unique, one-of-a-kind feeling. It can also lend to confusion or a lack of clarity for your audience. As we know, emotional names can be too vague and founder names can be confusing if uncommon. (Simply proceed with caution if this type of name feels right to you!)
There will be advantages and disadvantages to every type of name. The important thing to remember is to choose a name that:
“reflects your aspirations for your business and the value that you add.”- Fiona Humberton
According to Fiona, choosing a business name is not a matter of stuffing relevant keywords together. It’s also not settling for something that doesn’t spark a real feeling simply because you couldn’t think of another option. You should care about your business name and feel connected to it. So should your audience,
In her book, Brand Brilliance, Fiona outlines her process for selecting the best business name that I have summarized here:
Oh and a bonus tip: remember that your business is not for everyone and neither is your name. Your business name doesn’t have to please or resonate with all your friends, family, or strangers on the street. It only needs to connect with you and your ideal clients!
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As a proud Showit Design Partner, I create strategic visual identities from my 100% solar-powered studio, helping you showcase your expertise, attract more aligned clients, and build a life you love! Based in Eau Claire, WI, serving clients worldwide.