We are quite aware of how important names are for us humans. Ultimately, a name gives us an identity, and at some level, it distinguishes us from other people. This applies to business too. Oftentimes we realize that not just names but personalities make us different. There is more to a name than identity, there is; meaning, rhyme, brevity and a lot more to consider. You bet that at your christening ceremony your parents did not call in their family and friends for a “turn-up” hoping that after a few drinks they will figure your name out. Names are quite important to businesses too.

Despite my analogy to naming a baby, naming a brand/business is a much more daunting task. For businesses it is imperative that your business name stands you out, positions you in your market and isn’t counter productive to your marketing efforts. As a designer, I have come in contact with a few small-scale businesses in need of a brand identity for a terrible business name. Honestly, it takes a lot of courage to tell your client that you think their business name is weak. They probably have prayed about it, talked about it to friends, shared it on social media and even done business with it! The fact is that in naming your business you should take serious thought and maybe consult skilled marketing personnel.

You should know the biggest brands pay marketing/naming firms to come up with those spot on, easy to remember and very competitive names. Do you think “Instagram” was an offhanded suggestion from a friend? Even if it was, that friend will be quite smart to think up a name that combines “Insta” meaning instant and “gram” a synonym for message. When you realize that SnapChat and Instagram is the same thing said differently you begin to understand that the big brands aren’t playing and no matter how small or big your business is you need the best name to go along with it.

What’s in a good name? We know a few people who change their names or go by a pseudonym just so they can stand out (this is particularly common in Hollywood).Would you have preferred 50 cents if he were a rapper named Curtis Jackson? Apple stood out for choosing a name that put it far away from the cold, unapproachable, complicated imagery created by other computer companies, IBM, Cincom, ADPAC etc. Apple wanted to sound simple, warm, human, approachable and different. Backed up with an effective brand strategy Apple is a household brand owning a huge chunk of the computer market.

How to pick a name for your business

What constitutes a good name?

According to Igor international, a leading brand naming agency, there are a few things to consider when naming a business and brand. Not all brand/business names meet all these criteria but then they meet most of it. First off, a good business/brand name must be self-propelling. The name should get people talking, do some selling itself and should be able to find its way through its world. Also a good name should spark some emotions. What does the name suggest? Does it make you smile, feel good and make you want to inquire? Some of the best business and brand names have some poetry to it. Ask yourself these questions, how does the name physically look or sound? Does it roll off the tongue? How does it sound the millionth time? Will people get tired of it? Another thing to consider is personality in the name. A good name should have some attitude, have some qualities (mystery, friendly, confident, sense of humor, warmth). At least any name you come up with should be provocative and engaging. Lastly, and more important, whatever you intend to name your brand or business should inspire creative ideas for advertising and marketing , it should have legs and work on different levels.

I have shared the above image from Landor another leading naming agency to give a glimpse to a business/product/brand naming process. This post is not exhaustive and I promise to visit this topic once more. However this should get you thinking creatively/proactively about naming your business. Now don’t you think that your business deserves a naming ceremony? Maybe not a party for family and friends but a brainstorming session with you and a few marketing smart guys.

Kindly share in the comment section your favorite brand/business names and the not so cool ones too.

Business Unusual is a new series on the blog that I think would help us all in learning important aspects of creating and sustaining a business. If you have questions/requests for a particular topic you would like Wunmi (yes he’s my namesake with “N” LOL), drop a comment or send him a message.

“Wunmi Eruaga is a forward-thinking Art Director & Brand advisory who specializes in entrepreneurial clients who embrace bold and visionary ideas to reach specific business goals. He is driven by the vision to create and nurture ideas into memorable brands. Using facts, intuition, and creativity, he blends strategy with art to help brands simplify the clutter, realize their full potential and eventually win.”

@wunmieruaga (twitter& Instagram)

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