5 Things a Great Business Name Should Do

A great business name isn’t just a label for your company. It is also your number one marketing tool, serving as a platform for setting yourself apart and defining your brand. At the very least, your business name should do the following.

Convey the industry or area of expertise of your company

When customers search for businesses, they apply some filters to determine whether specific organizations are relevant to their needs. By communicating exactly what it is your business does within the company title, you let customers know right away that there’s a good chance you can help.

Once customers are confident you’re the right type of provider, they’ll usually contact you, stop in to your store or visit your website to get more details, ask questions or start shopping.

For this reason, a name like ‘Jake’s Total Vehicle Repair’ is better than ‘Jake’s Shop’, getting across not only the industry but also that the business does repairs. The word ‘total’ implies the shop is qualified for a large number of repairs, as well.

Get your business values across

With thousands of businesses providing services in today’s market, modern customers have more choices than ever before and are increasingly critical in their analysis of their providers.

They look not just for whether the services or products are a good fit, but for whether the business matches their own goals and philosophies. For instance, if a customer is against animal cruelty, they might look carefully at how a particular meat company treats its livestock.

Continuing with this example, if you’re the owner of the meat company, you might name it something like ‘Humane Meats’. From this standpoint, your company’s name sets the foundation for your entire brand.

Evoke emotion

Scientists have figured out that emotional recall happens in the brain faster than rational recall. That is, people feel and then apply facts and information to come to a conclusion.

With this in mind, company names that appeal to what people have experienced or know emotionally tend to be easier to remember and encourage deeper brand loyalty.

For instance, a name such as ‘Grandma’s Cookies’ may get customers to remember all the great times they spent feeling comforted and safe in their grandma’s kitchen, appealing to their sense of family and togetherness.

Capitalise on what people know

Every target market has its own set of idiosyncrasies that you’ll need to pay attention to when you come up with your business title.

People are familiar with certain word combinations or spellings, such as ‘color’ (American) versus ‘colour’ (British). Your name should stick to what’s most common for the language where they are, as people will want to link word pairs and use the spelling version based on the habit they’ve already established. Keep in mind here that you still can be creative with what’s available. Microsoft, for example, is a completely new word based on the common terms microcomputer and software.

One caveat here is that starting completely off the chart can set you apart from your competitors. Names such as Google, Twitter and Zimbra are examples that prove ‘nonsense’ or made up names can be successful. The difficulty with this approach, however, is that you will not have any initial meaning behind the name to work with. You have to be extra savvy and aggressive in communicating your industry, purpose and guiding beliefs.

Appeal to convenience

Although a longer business name can get more information across, it takes longer for your customers to say and type. This matters if you want people to remember the name easily and to feel at ease using it in everyday conversation where they could refer you. It also makes a difference in Internet searches, as an increasing number of people use mobile devices to enter URLs or search terms. Ideally, aim for a business name that’s just a single word.

Summing Up

Coming up with a decent business name can be challenging, but if you have a few key guidelines in mind, you can narrow down your choices considerably. Look for a name that gets your industry, expertise area and values across while getting people to respond emotionally to your brand. Names that do all this in a very short space while also addressing the idiosyncrasies of the target market are your ideal options.


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