5 Steps to Picking a Name for Your Startup
Let me start this by saying that there is no "cool business name". No matter what unique or trendy keywords you slur together in an attempt to create your identity, your name has zero power without branding. Take a moment and think of the top global brands like Nike, Google, Apple. What the heck is a Nike? What does Google even mean? (the answer here) What does a red fruit have to do with a computer? And yet all it takes is to hear the word "Apple" and you're instantly flooded with imagery of clean lines and the concept of innovation.
That's because Apple isn't a fruit stand, and one could argue they're not even selling computers. They're selling the idea of beautifully designed, consumer experience-driven innovation. And anyone else on this planet who also believes in that concept is officially in the palm of their hands.
Creatives spend countless hours trying to think of the perfect, cool, sure-to-be-famous name for their new business before they EVEN know who they are.
From this point forward, I want you to think of your business' name not as a name but a trigger; a starting point of a relationship that you seek to make with your customer.
People don't connect with names, they connect with brands.
While you certainly want your name to be pronounceable and easy to spell (and not similar to anyone else), there's more pressure in making sure that your brand resonates with a lifestyle and a belief system.
Let's take Kinfolk for example. I bet your mind just went to another place; perhaps a well-styled dinner table with eucalyptus centerpieces and linen napkins. Or maybe a maker's hands working a clay bowl in a quaint cabin. Your name should automatically associate with a feeling, not what the literal interpretation of that name is. Erase that warm dinner party or secluded workspace for a second and just think of the name "Kinfolk" alone. Could you also see it being the name of a Southern bluegrass band or maybe an online family tree website that catalogs genealogy? While your business' name should be rooted - either closely or loosely - to your product or service, it's up to your solid branding to steer the consumer into the right direction.
Now that the pressure is (somewhat) off your name and onto your purpose, let's go through the five steps necessary to coming up with a name for your business:
Step 1 Stick with What You Know
What industry or field does your practice call home? Identify what it is you do and what words are typically used to describe that. For example, "We want to provide branding tools to help entrepreneurs grow their business."
Step 2 Do Your Research
What are your competitors calling themselves? Are their names short, long, funny? Are they nature-inspired or actual names of the owners? See what consumers are already conditioned to seeing when they are exposed to your industry.
Step 3 Brainstorm
Set a timer for 30 seconds and jot down any name you can think of when it comes to what you're doing. An example would be to dissect the gist of what you want to do into offspring keywords.
The community aspect of our desire to help creatives build a business was important to us, so we focused on the following two words:
"We want to provide branding tools to help entrepreneurs grow their business."
We: Together, Group, Pact, Fellowship, Partner, Collaborate, Clan, Two, Trio,
Grow: Sprout, Rise, Thrive, Expand, Gain, Build, Create, Spread, Flourish
Step 4 Time For A Mash Up
Once you have a much longer list than you see above, try cross-pollinating two or three words and see what comes up; this is your first attempt at making a business name.
Collaborate + Flourish, Collabourish, Flourish Collab, Collab Flow, Flourish Collaborative
Obviously some will sound very silly, but don't leave any rocks unturned. They say it can take hundreds of names to find the right one. Don't get discouraged. Keep mashing up random words until you find the one. When it happens, you will know.
Step 5 Be Original
There are so many businesses and trademarks being legally claimed today, it's important to check to make sure the name you want isn't already in use. A simple Google search is a great place to start, but take it one step further by doing a trademark search at the US Patent Office online.
Got a great idea for a name but feeling a little stuck on the branding side of things? That's our jam. Drop us a line and let us help you turn your name into a successful brand by asking all the right questions.
Case of stage fright? No big. Just sign up for our newsletter and grab solid branding strategy for your business without having to say hello. We can wait.