How to Evaluate Business Name Ideas: 7 Methods of Generating a Great Brand Name

Have you been brainstorming different business names but find yourself unable to come up with one worthy of your company’s mission?  Creating the perfect name is no easy task, and some companies pay marketing consultants thousands upon thousands of dollars to come up with a name that best communicates their unique selling point.  Not every company has the start-up funds that, but here are some common guidelines others have used to set themselves apart in the past.

1.  Define Your Purpose

A lot of companies get it right out there by describing what it is they do.  Eureka Concrete, San Francisco Marketing Consultant, or Sunglass Hut would all be great examples of a name designed for this purpose.  While these do get straight to the point, they are not always as catchy as names injected with a little more creative juice.  Of course, just because a name is meant to get the point across does not mean it can’t be creative as well.

2.  Attach it to Your Name

While some might see it as all ego, there are some benefits to attaching your name to your business.  This particularly holds true when running a business in a small town where your name is already well known.  If people already know who you are and trust you, it can be a great way to break into localized markets.

In fact, the trust factor may even work in small cities where your name is not quite as recognized.  The reason is that when we hear a business name like that we immediately assume the owner has nothing to hide and subconsciously think of them as a “small town entrepreneur.” This gives them credibility right off the bat.

Finally, it is far less likely someone already uses that name if your last name is somewhat unique.

Some of the businesses that have used this name have risen to be the most recognized companies in the world—Ford Motor Company, Hewlett-Packard, and Spalding are all great examples.

3.  Make Up a Word

While it takes some guts to make up a whole new word for your business—as well as some real marketing prowess to pull it off—it has proven very effective for many modern companies.  It shows you are innovative and cutting edge, and some of these names are extremely catchy.  Google and eBay are probably the most well known companies in this category.

4.  Drop a Hint

Much like descriptive business names that tell it all, some businesses like to at least hint at what they do in their company name.  In other words, they put themselves in a particular category and make their name and purpose memorable by telling what they do without telling it all.

Circuit City is a good example of this, as is Office Depot.  Even if you don’t know what they do at first, once you make the connection, you don’t forget.

5.  Keep it Broad

If you plan on expanding into other markets, you might follow the lead of companies like Amazon, Nike, and Target.  These companies have relatively meaningless names that are easy to remember but are so broad in scope that they do not limit themselves to any market.  This allows them to branch out in any direction they choose without forming a whole new company or redesigning their image.

6.  Target the Search Engines

While we highly encourage doing market research outside of search engine optimization, SEO has become a predominant characteristic in the business naming process these days.  By naming your business after a highly targeted Google search string, you can easily position yourself in the search results and expose yourself to a flood of traffic for your business.

Or, if you go the descriptive name route, you can just use the search string as part of your name (many descriptive business names are naturally SEO-friendly).

Utah Car Rental would be a good theoretical example of a company named in this way.  Consult an SEO expert before making any lasting decisions.

7.  Use an Acronym

Finally, you can keep things simple by using nothing more than your business name acronym.  The acronym may be a result of your full, actual business name, but in most cases, the customers you serve never give that a second thought.  Acronyms have the benefit of being quite memorable, and many have had success with this model.  Think AT&T and KFC.

Whatever route you want to go in choosing your business name, make sure that you put some real thought into it because it can make all the difference in the world, and once you get started, changing it can be a rebranding headache.  If you want help in choosing just the right name to set your business apart, contact us today!