What’s In a Name? Part I

December 16, 2014

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What’s the first thing you do when you meet someone? Ask their name. A name is one of the most important things about you. Oddly enough, it is very rare for a person to name himself/herself. In most cases, your parents or a close relative picks out your name (so let’s just hope they had good taste when picking names).

However, there ARE some things in life YOU get to name: pets, cars (if you’re the car-naming type of person) and your business. As a creative entrepreneur, your business is an extension of your being, so it’s important to pick a name that resonates with you and your audience.

Here are my tips for picking out a business name (Part I):

1. Choose something that is unique to you.

This goes without saying, but choose something that isn’t generic and will generate a million Google search results. An excellent example is my friend Jen of Honey Kennedy. ‘Honey Kennedy’ was her grandmother’s nickname when she was growing up in New York. Jen’s grandmother’s style inspired her, so naming her blog Honey Kennedy has special meaning to her, while still remaining catchy.

2. Choose something that is easy for people to remember.

As much as you want to choose a name that is unique, you don’t want to make it so abstract and obscure people are going to ask you how to spell it. If your business is a person’s name, use the generic spelling of the person (i.e. Olivia instead of Alivia), unless the business is your own name; then I would advise you to use the true spelling of your name, even if it isn’t generic.

3. Make it short and sweet.

This goes in line with tip #2. Avoid making your name overly long and complex. People have very short attention spans and if your business name is more than 3-4 words, people won’t remember any more than the first part. The caveat is you don’t want to make your name so short it’s not unique or memorable.

4. Choose something that is easy to pronounce.

There is nothing more embarrassing to a customer than if they have to ask you how to pronounce the name of your business (i.e. if it’s in another language). Sometimes they won’t ask, which is worse because they’ll never find out. If your name is too hard to pronounce, people will avoid talking about your business–unless they are so absolutely in love with your product or service they need to sing praises to the hills–just for the reason they don’t want to pronounce the name wrong. And then you’ll have missed out on a perfect opportunity for free advertising via word of mouth. People love names that roll off the tongue easily. Rhymes are fun. So are alliterations.

5. Choose a name that sounds like your business.

When you name your business, you want that name to describe what you’re offering. At the same time, you don’t want to it to be so obvious that the name entirely gives it away (i.e. ‘Sarah’s Cupcakes’). Instead, you want to suggest what your business does through the words you choose. How does your name make people feel? Is it true to what you sell or what service you provide? For example, ‘All That Glitters’ might sound fitting for the name of a party business, but it wouldn’t sound fitting for the name of a personal chef (unless the personal chef caters for parties or something).

I learned these tips through years of observation, so I hope this gives you insight on choosing a good name for your business. Are you starting up your own blog or business? Do you know someone who is? Feel free to use these tips for yourself or share these tips with them!

Stay tuned for Part II (as well as a story about my OWN blog name) coming at ya on Thursday.

Photograph by Katrina

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