Business, Marketing, Public Relations, Strategy
November 6, 2014
What’s in a name? Mistakes to avoid when naming your business
What’s in a name? Mistakes to avoid when naming your business

Your business name is one of the first things your potential customers will notice. It can either leave them wanting more, or it can lead to a lot of nothing. It’s important to take the time to do it right when it comes to choosing your name. Here are a few mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1: Involving too many people in the process

I get it, you want to have a collaborative environment, which is great… for your office culture. It’s better to focus on some key decision makers rather than trying to come to a consensus. If you are trying to be collaborative, you also may try to avoid hurt feelings by saying no to something that’s just not right. You could also end up with a name that you don’t really like because the “majority ruled.”

Mistake #2: Not involving anyone elseMarooned-300x225

At the opposite end from mistake #1, you could be trying to do it by yourself. It’s always good to bounce ideas off at least one other person. They may catch something you missed in your excitement over finding a name.

Mistake #3: Making it only about you

This can be problematic for a number of reasons. First, you may have an epic backstory to your name, but maybe it’s so epic that it takes forever to explain – it’s too obscure – and the meaning is lost on your customers and potential customers.

The other issue is that your business name should give some indication of what you can do for your customers. Look at your name as the intro to your brand story and make it a welcoming hook.

Mistake #4: Being too literal

So far these are kind of hot/cold mistakes, you have to find the right temperature to make it sizzle. Even though you need to make it about your customers and what you can do for them, that doesn’t mean pigeonholing yourself into one thing. Sure right now you may offer soup on the menu, but what if you want to expand to soup AND sandwiches and you have already called yourself Soups R’ Us (terrible name example by the way). Think about the future when you are creating your name. You may expand your product or service offering and you want to be able to do so while keeping your brand equity you have built up. Similarly, putting the name of your city in your business name could make it tough to expand beyond that geographical limit you have identified.

Mistake #6: Not doing your research

It’s always a good idea to see what’s out there already. If you are planning on growing, see what’s beyond your initial market. Best to know ahead of time before you get into some legal tiffs over trademarks. You also don’t want your audience to be confused about which company XYZ you are.

Mistake #7: Forcing a new wordwalking-frankenstein-monster

You may think you are being really creative and unique by making up a new spelling or combining a two words together, but there is a strong possibility that you have created a Frankenstein Monster that is too complex for the world to figure out. If your potential customer base can’t say your name let alone spell it to find you online, then maybe it’s not as great as you think.

Mistake #8: Choosing based on the availability of a domain name

This is equivalent to developing your business strategy over the course of 3 or 4 bottles of wine. The more you drink the better everything sounds… The more you search, the better things sound when they are available. This might leave you with an obscure spelling or a Frankenstein Monster word just to make it work.

Mistake #9: Refusing to throw in the towel

It happens. Sometimes you go through the branding process in the beginning and you operate for some time, and you realize that you created a brand that isn’t working as well as you had hoped. Maybe your audience can’t find you, or it’s not resonating with them to create success. It doesn’t hurt to go back to the drawing board. Sometimes it’s as simple as tweaking a logo to create a whole new meaning, and sometimes you need to re-brand completely. Be open to the process and go into it with your eyes open, learning from the mistakes you made before.

boring-marketing-contentMistake #10: Being too vanilla… AKA BORING

If you take into account who you are as a company and who your target audience is, have some fun with your name. Copying someone else or using generic words will not help you stand out. You want to make sure that your name is memorable with your target audience and that it resonates with your brand story.

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  • […] business has expanded beyond what you thought it would when you first started. The problem? You used your city name as part of the brand. This is a great time to drop the geographical labeling and use a more global brand name. Your […]

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