If you’re completely unsure what and which name you should go with for your business, you may need to get professional help. However, if you’re going to attempt to do this on your own, here’s an overview! For more details and examples, download our recently published 7 Steps To a New Name eBook (see below):
Step 01: Decide what’s important for your name!
Above all else, a name must be memorable! There are all sorts of components that can make a name memorable. Single words, such as Subway, Bass & Apple are most memorable, even though they have nothing to do with the products they sell. In addition, you want to ask yourself other questions:
- Can it be confused with another company?
- Are there are any negative connotations or associations?
- Is it easy to pronounce?
- Can you protect and trademark it?
Step 02: Pick the types of names that will work for your audience.
Whether you’re using real words, misspelled words, foreign words, compound words, phrases, blended words, tweaked words, affixed words, or made up words, you want to ensure that you have your target audience’s preferences in mind. In some cases, you’ll want to explore using people’s names, whether real or fake, initials or even acronyms.
Step 03: Decide on the root words you would like in your name.
Names are comprised of words (99% of the time). It’s important to put together a list of 20 to 50 words that you could imagine having in your company’s name. Here are some pointers to help you along the way.
- Develop literal concepts
- Find visual inspiration
- Develop figurative concepts
- Look up synonyms
- Use foreign words
Step 04: Get Creative and Namestorm
Develop a list of 30 to 60 names. Combine your root words from the previous step in different and interesting ways. If you get stumped, look at all the previous examples of company names in Step 02 and see if there’s a type of name that you haven’t explored yet. Don’t stop until you have 30 to 60 names. And, if you really get stumped, try the following tips:
- Add prefixes and suffixes
- Add numbers
- Use smart domain extensions
- Write the word backwards
Step 05: Narrow it down
One filter to narrow down your list is to simply check if the .com is available and if the trademark is available. If you simply apply this due diligence step, you will naturally find a shorter list of naming options.
Step 06: Narrow it down more
Okay, let’s just say that you now have a short list, we recommend continuing to narrow down your list even further to 7 of your most memorable options. Remember, memorability is one of the most important factors in a name.
If you are having a hard time deciding, start to play with the capitalization and spacing of your top name options. After all, PayPal has a very different look and feel than Paypal, so too does FedEx in comparison to Fedex.
Step 07: Evaluate the Pros and Cons
Last, and most importantly, evaluate the pros and cons of each option. We love to do this in spreadsheets just to keep everything organized. Refer to step one and rank each name against the criteria of what is important in a name! Pick the name with the most pros and the least damaging cons. Now, you are ready to make it rain with a name!
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