Insider tips for how to nail down the perfect brand name for your business
If you’re anything like our clients, you get all excited and tingly at the idea of launching a new business.
There’s so much to think about, but at the top of every to-do list is one of the most important decisions an entrepreneur (like YOU) will make: What to name the brand?
Maybe you have a name in mind — which is great news! — but you’re wondering if it’s already taken. Or maybe you don’t even know where to start.
As excited as you are about starting a business, you’ll feel even better once you have the perfect name nailed down. We recently helped two clients with naming their businesses and explaining the process, so I thought I’d share the same advice with you!
The Brand Naming Process
When it comes time to brand naming, don’t stress. The right name is out there, you just have to find it. I’ll walk you through the process…
Brainstorm keywords, and more keywords
Organize by theme, then pick the winners
Get Googling! Original names only, please!
Availability checklist: Dotting I’s and crossing T’s
If you haven’t already decided on a name, start by making a list of all possible keywords. Think of this as a fun exercise, where there are no wrong answers. Mix things up, play around, get creative. Ask other people to join in!
Think about descriptive words and symbolisms, as well as the emotions and outcomes associated with your product or service. Think about the feeling you want your customers to have, or the transformation you want them to experience.
A thesaurus is your friend! It’s an invaluable resource for looking up antonyms and synonyms, or discovering less common meanings of a word. If you’re more of a visual thinker, try building a word map or writing words in different colors for inspiration.
CASE IN POINT: Imagine you have a health coaching and nutrition business. You might associate it with words like empowerment, awakening, essence, vital, nurture, roots.
Once your brain has been fully stormed, sit back and admire your hard work and creativity. Step away for a while, take a walk, do some stretches. A breath of fresh air and a break will feel good.
When you come back for a second look, there’ll probably be three or four concepts that stand out as your favorites. You’ll know them when you see them.
Now take a look at how they might work together. Say them out loud. Say them in different orders. Look for variations on each word. Are there any double meanings to watch out for? Do any particular combinations just put a smile on your face? Those are the keepers.
CASE IN POINT: One keyword is calling out to you: essence. It’s connected to ideas of innate intelligence, purity, and nurturing. You start playing with combinations: True Essence, Vibrant Essentials, Pure Essence, Effortlessly Essential, Essentially You.
Now that you’ve narrowed down your brand naming concepts, it’s time to see if there are other businesses out there with the same great ideas.
Start by Googling all your possible name combinations. If you’re a local business, you’ll need to pay particular attention to anything in your area.
You want your potential customers to know who you are and what you do, so any possible name confusion is to be avoided at all costs!
If there’s another business with a similar name selling a different service or product, you most likely won’t have problems. But then again, there are enough great names to go around, so why risk it?
CASE IN POINT: You do some Googling and find out that Pure Essence is the name of a vitamin brand. Although it’s not your direct competition, it’s too close for comfort. So you strike it from the list and choose True Essence instead.
Once you’re sure your name is unique and original, you still have to make sure it’s legally available, and that the web domain is too.
You might have the greatest name, but if the URL is taken you’re out of luck. I generally use GoDaddy to check for available domains. If the .com is not available, try other extensions like .co, .net., etc. You could also try adding a hyphen between words or leading words like “the” or “my”.
CASE IN POINT: You see that trueessence.com is taken, so you try trueessence.co, true-essence.com, and mytrueessence.com.
Next, you need to make sure the trademark is legally available. Check the U.S. Trademark Office’s database to make sure nobody else has a legal claim on your name. You can also see names that are pending or expired.
Finally, if you’re planning to register your business as an L.L.C., do a quick search on your state’s business entity database to make sure the name isn’t taken.