Coming up with a business name, product name or brand can be tricky, especially when you come to register the website domain or Facebook page and Instagram accounts when you may find them already taken. So, where do you start? Do you brainstorm ideas until you are blue in the face and keep cross-checking online to make sure you’re safe? Well, in a way yes. However before you end up snapping your pencil or shaking your monitor with frustration, we’ve put together some great hacks and tips for creating the perfect name for your online business.
We asked our marketing and design agency team for their tips for coming up with a name. Here are the comments back:
1. Start with the obvious
Keep writing ideas down. Don’t just think about names, put everything you think of down on paper no matter how silly it sounds. Don’t stop until you’ve exhausted your ideas. If you get stuck, sit down with someone else and go through the same exercise – again writing everything down. Write down as many negative connotations too, you’d be surprised when you look at the words how you can ‘flip’ their meaning into a positive idea.
As David Ogilvy once said “I like the idea of ‘stuffing your conscious mind with information”. This can lead to big ideas coming from the unconscious mind. If you struggle with sitting in a room to come up with ideas, go out, try the pub, try the beach or maybe a country walk with a notepad perhaps. Anything to inspire your thoughts and give your mind the space it needs!
There are some excellent websites out there to help with word association such as Urban Thesaurus and NameLix, both great places to find inspiration – these websites can help when seeking ‘quirky’ names. Scour around the web to help when you start to slow down on the ideas front. Keep ideas punchy, short as possible and memorable. Single fabricated words offer you an advantage from the start.
2. Circle the strongest
Scan over all the ideas you have to date. Just highlight each name you feel is a contender, or what words you quite like. Once you have your selection select another colour and circle the strongest again.
3. Ask people you trust for feedback.
Quite often, fresh eyes can offer alternative ideas or point out an obvious issue.
4. Sleep on it
Visit the ideas the next day. Sometimes what you think is a great idea feels very different the next day. Don’t ask why – it just does.
5. Check for trademark infringement
It’s worthwhile checking to make sure that all your hard effort won’t be legally challenged in the future by an owner of a similar name. You can do a simple search here at the Intellectual Property Office. You may find that a name or trademark is already registered but double check which classes it is registered. Each class number is associated with products and services – some of which could legally collide with yours and some are in entirely different sectors and shouldn’t be an issue. Either way, if you do see the same name registered and your heart is firmly set on it then it’s best to check with a legal advisor to make sure there’s no conflict, and you’ll be safe further down the road.
6. Check social accounts
We can’t stress the importance of having a strong name on social media. If you can grab the name in its entirety then great, you’re lucky. Due to the vastness of social media accounts, don’t be too surprised or disheartened if someone else has the same name for their page. The key is not to panic. Finding a unique page name is becoming increasingly rare, and many new starts opt to break down their name with extra digits such as underscores or full stops. Don’t be put off if your name has gone, figure out a different version that still works for you.
7. Check website domains
Again it’s a great place to check that your name won’t have the same competition and there are no conflicting issues. Registering the domain as a .com or a .co.uk or both will add value to your brand and safeguard its future. 123 Reg is a good place to check and buy domain names.
Another article you may find useful on this subject which can be transferred to many other businesses: