Starting a Business:

What’s in a Name?

Many people dream of launching their own business. In fact, the US Chamber of Commerce reports that business applications in the US rose by 20.6% over the last year despite the many COVID-19 challenges entrepreneurs faced. However, 10% of startups are forecasted to fail within the first year due to various obstacles such as failure to fit in the market, poor management, and even inconsistent branding.

In fact, even a business’s name plays an exceedingly important role in its survival — here’s why.

The Connection Between Names and Successful Branding

Names exist because we find the need to identify an individual through a term, therefore forming a sort of self-conception. In a study published on ResearchGate, 101 companies revealed that brand names are critical to the success of a new product, and most undergo a detailed and systematic process for the purpose of creating a brand name. When it comes to businesses, a strong name can also be the foundation of a strong brand image.

And although the image associated with a brand name can be built over time through advertising, having a name with a strong impression can affect people’s perception of what kind of company you are, or what kind of products and services you’re selling. Furthermore, names are a strong cue for brand recognition, which refers to the ability of consumers to recognize you amidst an ocean of competitors.

In the next section, we’ll be giving some tips on how to choose a memorable name that will fit your brand.

1. Gather Name Inspirations

Inspiration can be found all around you. Perhaps things within your reach like products you plan to develop or services you wish to provide can be a source of inspiration. For instance, popular streaming site Netflix gets its name from the combination of “the internet” and “flicks” — but with a little twist. A good first step would be to convene with your business partners and branding team to collect ideas and filter out any good ones.

2. Find Resources to Form a Name

If you’re in a bind, there are lots of resources available online to help you out. Namechk.com is a business name generator you can use to help you save time and get the creative juices flowing. You can also use a generator as your initial step, and then amp up or personalize the name later on. Furthermore, you can use USPTO.gov to check whether or not you’ll be able to trademark or service mark the name.

3. Rely on Your Name to Tell a Story

In our feature on ‘The Importance of Storytelling and Community Branding’, we highlight how creating narratives that resonate with your target audience is important. Nike, for example, derives its name from the Greek goddess of victory. It’s a name that immediately tells a story of perseverance and success, something that can resonate well with the primary target market of the brand — athletes and sports fans.

4. Study Different Business Trends

For a while, meaningless yet catchy brand names like Google and Yahoo worked quite well. Then there are those brands that are named after their founders, such as Armani and Chanel. That said, trends in business are always changing, so one route could be to do your research as an entrepreneur and go with a trend that you think will fit your defined brand identity. Or you could go the opposite way, defying these trends and making a statement through your name.

Use Your Name to Leverage Your Business

There’s no template for success when it comes to creating memorable brand names. Names should be original and interesting, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. That said, what’s important is that your chosen name allows your consumers to understand and remember what unique products or services you have to offer, therefore helping your business thrive even in competitive environments.