Thinking of a name for a business is an area where people can get stuck. Your business needs a name that is memorable, meaningful, and unique. Not only that, you don’t want to get sick of seeing it or saying it over the years! How do you name a business to ensure that it will last?
We offer business name brainstorming as a service at Aeolidia, and today I’m happy to share our process and guidelines for thinking up your own creative business name. Are you naming a brand new business? Renaming an existing business? Wondering how to announce a new business name to your customers? Thinking of naming your business after yourself? Read on!
Why you might want a new business name
- You’re starting a new business–congratulations!
- You have purchased an existing business and want to make it your own.
- You want room to grow by adding new designers or new products.
- Your name doesn’t resonate with your customers.
- Your name is hard to remember or spell.
- Your name doesn’t make you feel professional.
- Your name is dated or trendy.
- Your name conflicts with another business’s trademark.
- Your name can’t be trademarked.
- Your name is too generic.
- You just plain don’t like it!
The process of brainstorming a new business name
The more information you can gather about your business at the start, the happier you’ll be at the end. Use our process to dig deep into the foundation of your brand, and guide yourself to finding a fitting name for it.
When naming a business, start with these brand identity foundations
Once you can answer the following identity questions easily, you’re ready to name your business. Take some time to create a solid personality and purpose for your brand before beginning to think of names.
What do you sell or provide to your customers?
Think about what unites your full range of products and what your core business is. Do you have plans to expand your offerings, so would want a more flexible name?
What is unique about your business?
You’re looking for a deep understanding of your brand’s distinguishing characteristics. If you can’t tell why people should choose you over another shop, your customers won’t know, either.
You need to find something that your customers can see as a meaningful difference between you and your very closest competitor.
What is your business’ personality or style?
What makes your business what it is? How do you want your customers to feel when they encounter your business? What type of voice will you speak in on social media and your website?
Your customer comes first when thinking of a business name
What type of person is your customer?
The more detailed you can get about a specific person who is your perfect customer, the better you’ll be able to tailor the name to their preferences.
What is your customer’s style?
Choosing some adjectives can be helpful here. For example: sophisticated, quirky, smart, fun, elegant, romantic, feminine, trendy, etc.
What other brands do your customers shop?
Do you notice any trends or styles among the names of these other brands? Would it make sense to stand out from the crowd, or choose something reassuringly familiar?
Decide what parameters you’ll give your business name search
Consider a tagline
A tagline is a more descriptive message to be featured (at times) with your business name. If you’re considering a tagline as part of this brainstorming process, what is the primary message you would like to quickly convey?
What type of name is more fitting?
Are you looking for something more literal that describes what you sell (Soapylove – glycerin soap shop), or would you consider a more abstract name that captures your spirit, but is not descriptive (Three Potato Four – a vintage shop)?
Consider your domain name
Is it important to find a business name that has an available domain name? How flexible will you be with the domain (i.e. is redbirdshop.com acceptable, or do you want something that will work perfectly: redbird.com)?
Gather some business name ideas and inspiration
What names are your competitors using?
If you have competitors you want to be sure to stand apart from, consider their names. If there are ideas or directions that seem too cliched or overused to you, list those here as things to distinguish yourself from.
What existing business names have you noticed that fit with your brand or you find catchy?
You won’t want to copy them, but it can help you figure out what kind of style you lean towards. Maybe you’ve thought of a few names you liked, but they were already in use—put them here on your inspiration list!
Play with some words
Words you like
Time to brainstorm words! These can just be words, and you don’t need to think about full business names yet. What words match your brand’s personality? What words would your perfect customer relate to? What words stand out to you as being right or close to right for your brand?
Words you don’t like
What words don’t work at all, and are in a direction you don’t want to go? As you think of these, it’s helpful to pinpoint why they don’t work.
Now it’s business naming time
Get some blank paper and use it to think of ALL ideas that might work as a business name. Don’t evaluate them at this stage. You’re brainstorming. Just pour them out all over the paper, and come back to consider them later. No idea too silly!
The steps of actually choosing which name you want are personal and up to you. Narrow down this list, using what you know about your company and your customer.
Your next steps: after you’ve chosen a business name
Once you have a few good contenders, you’ll want to make sure that it’s okay to use them. Next, we will talk about determining whether your name can be trademarked, and choosing and purchasing a domain name. In a post after that, we’ll talk about the practical steps you need to take after renaming an existing business, or naming a new business. Stay tuned for these posts! Subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss them.
Need some help?
We offer business name consultation at Aeolidia, if you’d like some help coming up with and researching a business name. You will answer a questionnaire about what you think will work for you and your customers, words you like and don’t like, and the feel you’re going for. Our copywriter will then brainstorm possible business name ideas, making sure each has a good domain name and isn’t being used by a competitor. Then you can go over the list and we refine from there until we have the perfect name for your business (and once you have a name, we’d love to talk about your logo!).
If you’d like a peek into how the process works, read more about business name brainstorming on the Aeolidia blog. That link has articles about choosing business names, business taglines, trademarking, changing your business name, and more.