Names Matter: Tips for Naming Your New Business
When starting a new business, whether it’s naming your great new invention or starting a restaurant, the name matters. The name of your business is going to be what your clients remember, what they google search when they want to find your project. In some cases the name of a product can become synonymous with the product itself, even when other manufacturers make the same thing — think Kleenex or Post-It Notes.
So, with so much pressure on a name, where should you start? Below are a few tips to help you get on the right path when it comes to naming your new business or project.
One of the first things you should do when creating a company or product is research your competitors to see what they are doing, both with their products and their names. You want to make sure that your name fits in with the industry, but still stands out from the competitors. Example: Starting a new shampoo line? Stay away from anything involving the name Johnson or you’ll run into confusion with the company Johnson & Johnson.
Check The National and State Database
There are national and state lists of registered trademarks, which you should always check before settling on a business name. You cannot trademark or register a business name that is already taken in your state, but it is also important to make sure that you are not sharing a very similar name with another business in your area to help avoid customer confusion.
Look for Domain Names
A good way to make sure that your name isn’t already taken is to look at a domain name registration service such as goDaddy and see if the URL for your company name is already taken, and if it is see who has it and what they are selling. Many smaller business do not register their companies right away, so you may not find them in government database searches but you will find them in a domain name search.
Think About the Meaning
Remember to give your name a meaning that relates back to your brand. One brand that does this subtly, but well is Nike. The name Nike has been ingrained in the popular memory to mean the sports clothing brand, but the name was taken from the Nike, who is the goddess of victory — a name that fits well into Nike’s personal philosophy and product.
Ask Others to Pronounce It
One thing I’ve seen many times with companies is confusion about the pronunciation of their name. For instance, the company Menufy is pronounced Menu-fy, however they often hear the pronunciation “men-ew-fie” at trade shows. While this isn’t the end of the world, and the customers are at least able to get close, you want to make sure that your company name doesn’t fall into the Ikea-furnature category where everyone just stops trying to pronounce it. There are exceptions to this rule where the hard to pronounce name fits into the company’s branding, especially with luxary brands such as Yves Saint Laurent.