What’s in a name?
Ok, I won’t go too far into Shakespeare here, but there is some validity to this classic line. I see so many people get hung up on naming their business before they are able to move forward. And I get it. You want to LOVE the name you choose for your business, you want it to just “click” as it plays a big role in shaping people’s first impression of your business.
However, there are SO many other components that go into that first impression. The biggest key to branding is getting clear on how you want your business to make people feel. Once this is clear, it is a lot easier to choose the components that make your brand, like your name.
I recommend picking 5 adjectives that embody the emotions you want your business to evoke. Your name should be in line with the feelings you want to elicit. Your name is important, but it is not the make or break for your business’ success.
So, I want to help you pick that name and move forward with building a successful business. Below I’ve listed out more concrete steps that will help you choose a name that aligns with your brand.
1. Decide whether you want to use your name in the business or not
If you want to be at the center of your brand, this can be a great option. However, if you want to eventually move away from being a center figure I suggest picking a different name.
Other factors to consider in choosing your own name as your business:
Is my name easy to spell and pronounce?
Is my name unique enough that it won’t already be taken for a domain, social channel etc. (my last name was Smith so this was out for me).
2. Find Keywords
Read through the content you currently have for your business. Look at your mission, your why, your inspiration and the services you provide. Then pull a list of keywords you see as relevant to the business. From there, look to see if there are any keywords that can be pulled out as a name independently, or put together.
For example, Warby Parker was named after they listed out a ridiculous amount of names they thought fit their desired adjectives for the company. They ended up going with their name that comes from two early Jack Kerouac characters as they were so inspired by this generation of writers and the impact they had on their generation. Which brings me to my next tip.
3. Look for names within subjects you love
List out names related to people, books, nature, anything you love. For example my friend loves nature, so she wanted that incorporated in her practice’s name. She made a list of things in nature that could work and ended up going with Yellow Pine Therapy.
I chose Olivewing as my name after listing out several things in nature that I admired, wildflowers, trees, rock types etc. and realizing that none of them were unique enough. I then remembered a fun fact my brother told me, that the Olivewing butterfly was the only thing in nature to produce blue pigment, everything else is simply a reflection of light. This unique beauty perfectly aligned with the brand I wanted to build, so I chose that name.
4. See what comes to mind for others when you talk about your business
5. General tips
Make sure your name is easy to say and when prounounced, doesn’t sound like something else.
Check out domains with your potential name to see if it is available and check to make sure it is not trademarked or taken by someone else in your same industry. You can head to GoDaddy to check domain availability, go on social media to see if the handle for your potential name is available, and check this resource for other businesses filed under the name.
Make sure when you type out the domain with all the words together that it still looks good. I had a client who realized when the name was all strung together for a domain name, it came across as inappropriate. So, always a good thing to double check what the name looks like written out all together.
Do some market research. If you have a couple of names in mind, send them off to people who could be in your target market. Key thing here, don’t just send it to anyone. You want the people reviewing the name to also be in the same demographic of people your business will serve.