How do you choose a name for your business?

You’ve got your idea.  You’ve got some money behind you.  You may even have your team, premises and all the hardware you need to get started but how do you choose a name for your business?

For some, a name is just a name, but the truth is a strong, memorable name will become the most obvious embodiment of your brand.  This means it needs to embody, support, and promote everything you stand for.

The only problem is it’s hard to find the right name so here are 11 tips that will help you choose a name for your business.

1. Use your own name

It’s your business so why not use your own name?  

You can use your first names (e.g. Ben & Jerry’s) or your surname (e.g. Ford) depending on what suits you best and looks the best.

2. Use acronyms

A lot of major companies use acronyms, for example AOL, TDK and the BBC.  They are punchy and lend themselves really well to design, but don’t choose anything too close to an existing brand as it could cause confusion.

3. Describe what you do

Which words describe what you do?  Which words do you use to articulate what you stand for?  If you can condense those down, they can make a good name. 

A good example of this is 7-Eleven (guess their opening hours?!).

4. Invent a portmanteau

Again, thinking about the words that describe your business, why not slam two or three together?  This is an increasingly popular way of coming to a name and there are some great examples out there including TripAdvisor and Netflix.

Coincidentally we got our name by taking a bit from tip 3 and tip 4.  Simdure is a word we invented because what we do is make digital and design simple, durable so it delivers the desired results.

5. Dip into mythology

Nike, Oracle, Hermes, and Mars are all instantly recognisable brands.  They also all took their names from ancient mythology.  

6. Take a word from another language

Using a word from another language can give your name a bit of an exotic twist (but please make sure you know the exact translation to avoid embarrassment down the line!).  It can also underline what you stand for.  For example, a minimalist coffee shop could look good with a Scandinavian name and a clothing outlet could suit an Italian name.

Latin is always a popular language when it comes to choosing a name.  Did you know Volvo simply means “I roll”?

7. Spin the globe

Something somewhere in the world might stand out.  After all, it worked for Amazon!

8. Mix things up

Try blending your location, your name and what you do in some way.  IKEA is an enormous and instantly recognisable name today but did you know it’s a mix up of the founder’s name (Ingvar Kamprad) and the town he started in (Elmtaryd Agunnaryd)?

9. Use your nickname

Are there any other names people call you?  If it’s brand congruent, using a nickname can give your business a much more informal and personal feeling.

10. Abbreviate

Your name can’t be too long so is there any way of abbreviating what you do or where you are?  Software giants Cisco got their name by abbreviating the name of the city they started in.

11. Pick a word from the dictionary.

If none of these ideas work, why not follow Twitter’s lead and just choose a word you like out the dictionary?

We can help you create every element of your brand, starting with your name.  If you’d like to find out more about how we approach the creation of a new brand, please get in touch.

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