I’ll be honest with you. I find business naming a really frustrating process. Not because I don’t think it’s important. But because when people come up with business names, they spend too long thinking about it. And usually the process is so subjective, that the business name may not actually do what a name is supposed to do. A name is supposed to tell people who you are so they remember you the next time they come across you. And create an association between who you are and what you do.
If chosen badly, business names can be misleading and even off-putting.
So how do we get round this? The good news is that I have 3 really simple criteria to help you choose a business name that will work really hard for your business. And the even better news is that if you have an existing name, these criteria can help it work much harder for your business.
Here are my 3 criteria
Your business name needs to:
- Explain what you do or the benefit of it
- Be ownable and distinctive
- Give a sense of the personality behind the name (so it will attract like minds)
A great business name will do all 3 of these things. And ideally it should do at least 2 of these things.
My business name doesn’t meet the criteria!
It will likely meet at least one of these criteria. And if it doesn't meet the other two, that’s where your branding (your logo and look and feel) come in. And also where your marketing can help. Because if your business name doesn’t meet one of the criteria, use your branding and marketing to do it instead.
Take the name Brand by Me. It explains what we do, and gives a sense of our straightforward, no-nonsense approach. However it is not particularly ownable – unsurprisingly in the branding world, there are a LOT of agencies with the word brand in their name. So we have made sure that our logo and look and feel is bold and distinctive so that we always stand out.
So if you’re choosing a business name, try using these criteria. They really do work and we use them with our clients. If you have a name already that you’ve been using for years, why not review it using the criteria? Because it will help you understand where you might need to focus your branding and marketing in order to better communicate who you are and what you do.