Your business name will have a significant impact on your success. The right name for your startup, company, or business is more important than you think. The wrong name can cause more harm than not connect with the customer; some can result in lawsuits. But in contrast, finding the right name will help your marketing and branding efforts. There are a lot of ways to come up with a business name. Today I will share with you my process in coming up with a business name that is in line with branding strategies.
Your Name as a Business Name
When it comes to naming your company, is it better to create a name for the brand, or to use your own name as the brand? Sometimes you can go either way, and sometimes there is a clear winner. Using your own name is best: When it helps people find you on Google… When you are the face of the brand… When you want your specific ideas, philosophies, and approach to be known as yours…
Coming Up with a Business Name
This is how we come up with brand names such as Pixeptional, QuotySalad, and GattlingPun using the following method.
1. Write down all the words that relate to or would want to be related to your brand.
They could be characteristics, objects, feelings, colors, animals, absolutely anything at all. Write as many as you can.
For example, as a designer I want to have a brand that triggers delight. A brand that delivers something exceptional. I want it to be inspirational, both to consumers/clients and other designers.
My list of words would be something like: design, graphic design, graphics, drawings, icons, logo, illustration, pen tool, pencil, colors, sketch, colorful, modern, canvas, digital, paper, whiteboard, pixels, art, artistic, problem solver, photoshop, creative, visionary, motivational, fantastic, inspirational, exceptional, trustworthy, delivers, delightful, joy, industry-leading, hip, fun, and can-do.
2. Write a tagline, a catchphrase or a short pitch.
Write something that can be used to describe you. Clear, concise, and memorable is what you are going for. For example:
- “providing valuable design insights”
- “social awareness through design”
- “making awesome a reality”
- “your daily pixel-perfect fix”
- “changing the world through typography”
Take this time to really think about your vision, the purpose of your business, the ‘why’ in creating the brand, or the value that you want to give. Note that this is something that you can change in the future as you learn more, as your business grows, or as you pivot.
3. Combine Words in Your List
Take two or three words from your list and combine them. Write all the good combinations. From my list above, we could come up with
- Can-Do Design
- Art Fantastic
- Creative Hip
- Fun Pencil
- Motivational Pen Tool
- Canvas Visionary
Remember that you don’t need to use the words as a whole. You can take part of the words and combine them with other words or part of those other words.
- pencil + delightful = Pendelight, Pendeli, Delipen
- hip + fun + colorful = Hifuco, Colorhip, Funcol, Funip, Colorfun, Funcohip
- canvas + modern + art = Canmo, Artvas, Modart, Moart, Artcan, Artmod
You can play with the words and create new words out of your list. They don’t need to make sense. After all, you will be the one giving meaning to your business name.
- creative = Creativ, Createev, Createevo
- problem solver = ProSolvee, Blemosolv
- whiteboard = Whibora, Witbor
- pixel = Picksell, Pixool, Peexool, Xeli, Pxle
You can even extend this activity by using words from other languages. Other businesses also use words that are totally unrelated to their products or industry they are in – like Apple, Mint, and Shell.
Get inspiration from your day to day experiences. Take advantage of your life’s narrative. Who knows? Maybe in the future, your brand will be one of the popular case studies when it comes to good business names.
4. Connect the Business Names to the Taglines
By connecting all the business names with each and every tagline, you will have a higher level view of how you want your brand to be perceived.
- Fantaxel – “Making awesome a reality.”
- Pendelight – “Changing the world through typography.”
- Hifuco – “Your daily pixel-perfect fix.”
- Pixool – “Providing valuable design insights.”
Sometimes you will construct a tagline that you’ll absolutely love but not necessarily like any of the business names that you made or vice-versa. If that happens, repeat the activity with your chosen tagline or business name as a starting point in coming up with related words.
Note: All the business names listed above are fictitious and are for the sole purpose of giving examples. I did not do any research to check whether the names mentioned are actually being used today. Mention of existing business names are purely a coincidence. Feel free to use any of the examples in Step 3 if no one owns them.