Naming a company or a product is harder than it sounds. Anyone who has started a company or runs a small business knows that. What seems so easy at first becomes an issue of debate as soon as you take the time to think about it. The reason that many people struggle over a name is that it is so permanent. Once you announce a name, that is your brand and that is how it will be known forever, no matter how successful or unsuccessful something is.
There are a few schools of thought when it comes to naming a company/product. One school of thought is to say exactly what you mean. Name something so that it describes or tells the consumer exactly what it is. A good example of this is Toys ‘R’ Us. This type of name attracts the right kind of consumers and makes it easy to brand your company with the type of products and services you offer.
The second school of thought is what I like to call the Mom and Pop naming technique. In this category, the founder(s) use their name or the name of someone close to them as the business’s name. Some good examples of this style are McDonald’s and Ford. In this case, the person becomes permanently associated with the company. They become a symbol for what the company stands for, which may or may not end being a good thing.
The final school of thought, and perhaps the most common, is to come up with a name that has nothing to do with the founders or the product. In this case, anything goes, and that is where it can get tricky. While there is no wrong or right answer, the name of a company can permanently affect the way consumers view the business. The best names have always been short and easy to remember. Avoid things like making up words or making something difficult to say. Good examples of simple, strong brand names are Nike, Google, Apple, and Coca-cola.
So with no real definitive solution, how do you go about finding a name that works? Try a few things, ask the advice of those around you, and test out images and logos. Sometimes seeing something written out on a paper can change the way you think about it. Get a group of people together, brainstorm, write out options on paper, and in the end go with your gut.
P.S. In today’s internet driven world, another good thing to think about is the domain name for your company. If you come up with a company name and you cannot purchase that domain name for whatever reason, it may not be the best choice. Just something to think about…