Companies, brands, products — we name them all. All the different possibilities and creative potential are seemingly endless. Just like naming children, where Marco and Caroline have given way to Jacob and Emily as favorites, there are trends in business naming as well.
Where do you start? How do you ensure your name says what you want it to say? There are a few standard approaches: You can be descriptive. You can try out wordplay. You can even make up your own word. Here are a couple of ways to get the naming process going.
Describe your product.
What does your product/company/brand do? Can you simply describe it with a name, like Internet Explorer or Takeaway.com?
Play with words.
Your name doesn’t have to be taken literally. You can have a little fun: Be suggestive, like the sleek and fast Ford Mustang or the Ford Expedition, supposedly built for adventure.
Try combining words.
Many brand and product names are already trademarked and the associated domain names have already been registered. By combining two meaningful words, you can form an entirely new brand or product name, like PhotoShop = photograph + workshop.
Don’t be confined by a dictionary.
One way to make sure your product name is unique is to make up a word. Gatorade, Fristy, and Doritos are perfect examples. You can also reach into another language.
Change the spelling of a word.
Products like Trix, Kix, Fantastik, and even Lego use real words that are misspelled. This is creative and gives you options when the name you want is already trademarked or the related domain names are taken.
Pick a random word.
You can also pick a word that does not have an obvious relationship to the product itself, but fits naturally with how the product might affect you: Merci brand chocolate. Ahhhhh.
Pick a letter, or two.
Using acronyms can be clever and short, but it’s also challenging. Can you fit in a description? Is there more than one meaning? For instance, there are 144 meanings of BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), not all of them related to business.
When you’ve chosen some names, write them down.
- Print the options in all UPPERCASE.
- Print the options in all lowercase.
- Divide each option by its syl la bles.
- Now say each option aloud. Say them ten times.
It’s magic! Your best name will appear!
- Now that you’ve chosen your favorite, turn your paper around and look at the shape of the word: name / ǝɯɐu.
Is it balanced? Does it give you a good feeling?
Finally, check the URL options and official registrations and get depressed. Start the process over again at #1.