5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU NAME YOUR START-UP
Creating a name for your new business can be overwhelming. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you craft a memorable name for your new venture.
So, you have an idea for a new business…but you can’t think of a great name.
Maybe you did a Google search and realized someone else is using the name you had in mind. Maybe you don’t have the budget to hire an agency to do the work for you. Or maybe you’re just stuck in a creative rut.
As a naming expert who’s crafted unique names for hundreds of brands in many industries, I’ve faced the same problems. Here are 5 questions I ask myself to help with the naming process.
1. Who is your target audience?
Your target audience determines the way you should name your business — should your approach be witty or straightforward? Should your style be bold or understated? For example, I recently named a grooming brand (HunkUp) and their signature product: The Bush Master Pro. The target audience is men 18–35 years old, and they wanted the name to evoke confidence and sexual attractiveness. So, I kept it playful yet informative — the names are very specific to a clientele interested in a masculine approach to grooming and self-care.
Remember, if you try to appeal to everybody, you won’t appeal to anybody. It’s important to know your target audience so your name will speak to the right people.
2. What do you want the name to evoke?
Start by thinking of three qualities that define your brand or product. There are many ways to create a brand name — so don’t get lost in the process, and instead stay focused on these three main qualities.
Now, how can you make sure your brand name evokes the same feelings in potential customers?
Make a list of words that are associated with your three qualities. Perhaps you’re launching an investment company and want your brand to suggest longevity, strength, and fortitude. What are some external words that capture these feelings? I would list words like evergreen and oak — trees that symbolize strength, morale, resistance and knowledge.
3. Do you want your name to be descriptive or creative?
There are different ways to create a brand name — it can be descriptive (and clearly explain what the business is about) or evocative (these names leave room for interpretation) or creative — these names can be completely made-up. There are pros and cons to each type of name. Descriptive names are usually more straightforward, while creative names allow a lot more flexibility.
For example, I recently named a boutique web platform — Side Away - that connects traveling executives with local personal and professional assistants. The name is pretty descriptive, as it literally tells people that you have someone “by your side” while you’re “away.”
Creative names are usually more unique, and can even use made-up words. They can be used to generate an emotional response, or subconsciously tell potential customers something about the brand. I created the name ‘ZINLO’ for a web application targeted at accountants; it’s a play on the word ‘zillion’ — as the accounting system consists of several types of records, so it’s relevant for their industry.
4. What are some brand names that you like?
Make a list of brand names that grab your attention, and think about why you like those names — this is a good way to decide the route you want to take. Try to figure out what these names have in common and why you’re drawn to them. Are they all one syllable? Do you associate the same thing with each of them? Once you’ve determined why you like these names, try to incorporate those attributes into your own brand name.
5. What are your must haves?
Naming is very sensitive and in the end, it’s based on personal preference. Do you want a single word name, are you open to foreign language words, or maybe made-up words? As long as the name is easy to spell, easy to remember, meaningful to your target audience, and broad enough to allow growth, you’re good to go! For example, I created ‘NexoPet’ as the name for a pet care brand. It’s short, easy to spell, meaningful to their target audience, and clearly shows that it’s a “pet” brand. Plus, incorporating the word ‘nexus’ into the name gives the brand room to grow.
There is no such thing as a “perfect” name. The ones we see as “amazing” are so great because they have become popular and are now well-known…no name is great until you make it great with a memorable, one-of-a-kind brand experience.