What does your brand stand for? This is the first and foremost thought that should cross your mind while choosing a name for your online business. Choosing a business name is not a simple task. It needs a lot of patience and research.
Coming up with memorable and catchy ideas for a brand name can be a challenge. You might feel like all the good brand names have already been taken. After all, a great brand name isn’t just something that looks cool on your business card. Neither is it something that’s fun to say. A good brand name should be meaningful to you, and your visitor as well.
How do you find a name for your online business that’s attractive? Finding something that looks good on a web ad and has an available URL can be a daunting task. Some might tell you to pickup a name-generating tool and go their merry way. Others might ask you to pay them and they’ll do it for you.
Depending on your time constraints and budget, you may choose any of the options available.
What makes a good name for your online business?
Around 1.7 billion shopped online last year.
There are ample studies and theories on what makes a good brand name. For instance, according to a 2010 University of Alberta study found that consumers react more positively to brand names with repetitive consonants. For example, Kit Kat, Coca Cola, and so on.
There’s no magic formula or jinx to it! Ideally, you want a name that is easy for you to use, and for people to remember. The following traits can help you in your search:
- Meaningful: Does it conjure up a brand image? Does it communicate your brand essence? Your brand name should cultivate a positive emotional connection with your audience.
- Distinctive: What makes it stand apart from the crowd? Your online business name should be unique and memorable. Above it all, it should make the audience feel a distinct feeling.
- Protectable: Is it possible to claim a domain? You should be able to ‘own’ it and trademark it. Both should be possible legally and in the general consciousness. In other words, you should be able to make the brand yours.
- Visual message: You should be able to communicate your brand message through its logo. To sum it up, it includes the brand’s colours, icons and design.
- Future element: Will it evolve with the company? You should be able to adapt it to different products and brand extensions. Thus, your relevance should not fade with time.
These are helpful criteria to help you come up with a good online business name. Remember, all that matters is: does it resonate with people?
Finding a suitable name
If you wish to come up with a brand name on your own, here is a step-by-step guide to help you through the process.
1. Who are you?
Before you choose a name for your online business, it is important to understand who you are and what you want to achieve. To do this, you need to articulate your brand heart. This further includes:
- Purpose: Why do you exist?
- Vision: What do you want to create? What does your future look like?
- Mission: How will you achieve your preferred future?
- Values: Which principles guide your brand behavior?
When combined, these elements influence everything you do, which includes naming your online business.
2. Who is the competitor?
Understanding what makes you unique from everyone else is the key to finding a good online business name. You aren’t just looking for a good name, but a good name for you. By taking a look at your competitors, you get a firm grasp on how to stand out through every aspect of your branding process.
3. Ready to brainstorm?
Gather all your stakeholders and creatives to host a structured brainstorming session. Provide them with guidelines and constraints to work with, while also letting them run wild with ideas. Start your session with certain prompts or brain exercises for better results. For example:
- Write down the adjectives that describe, or relate to your brand.
- Describe what you want your audience to feel through your brand.
- Do a free association of words about your brand’s products or services.
Another great way to brainstorm is to think of different categories of brand names. Outlined by Alina Wheeler in Designing Brand Identity, these include:
- Founder: A name based on a mascot, real or fictional person. For example, Ben and Jerry’s or Calvin Klein.
- Descriptive: A name that describes what you do. For example, General Motors
- Fabricated: An entirely made up name. For example, Kodak or Xerox.
- Metaphor: Mythical, foreign or imagery-heavy things. For example, Amazon, Safari and Nike.
- Acronym: A name that uses abbreviation or initials. For example, James Bullough Lansing (JBL) and American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T)
- Magic Spell: A real made up word or a portmanteau (mix of two words) such as Facebook, or Flickr.
4. Do a background check
This might be the most frustrating part. You need to vet your front-runners as there’s no point in testing a name that’s already taken. Narrow your brainstormed list (preferably 15-20 names) and search the database of registered trademarks. If they’re all taken, get back to the drawing board. This will narrow your list down. And if you’ve somehow managed to come up with a list without a single name taken, write down your top 3 online business names and choose from them.
If a name appears to be available, get a legal to team to thoroughly vet it for you.
5. Test, test, test
Here comes the most exciting part! Now that you’ve come up with your top 3 brand names, it’s time to create your mock-ups. These include logos, packaging and homepages. You may be surprised to see what resonates more with people.
Here’s a simple testing technique by start-up lawyer Steven Cook:
- Use a branded landing page for each brand name. Use identical copies, and change only the logo and brand name.
- Run a highly targeted Facebook ad and target your customers once a week.
- See which page gets more conversions.
64% of small businesses have a website.
After completing this exercise, you should have your front-runner. If more than one makes it to the top, let your team decide the final online business name.
Finding an appropriate online business name can be infuriating at times. To make your quest easier, there are more and more services available today that can generate a brand name for you. We’re mentioning a few name-generator tools to help you select an appropriate name for your online business.
Shopify’s Business Name Generator
Shopify’s business name generator is a free tool that combines your business nature and keywords to create a unique brand name.
Namelix is a website that comes in handy for coming up with brand names and logo ideas. You just have to enter keywords and Namelix will use similar keywords to come up with a name.
Brand Bucket is a free resource tool to help you look for brand name ideas. It shows you business names available for sale with premium domain names. It also allows you to browse businesses by your preferred industry. Hence, giving you a complete view of your branding.
Complete your brand
Your brand name is only the beginning of building a strong and memorable brand. Starting from your name, to your visual identity – approach your brand strategically and thoughtfully.
Once you have your final brand name, you can work on completing the brand.
- Build out your messaging – Find your voice, personality, tagline value proposition and brand messaging pillars.
- Design a strong visual identity – This includes the logo, colors packaging, website colors, email layouts, and so on.
- Create useful brand guidelines – Create comprehensive and easy-to-use brand guidelines for your employees and teammates for better branding.
- Brand through your content – Branding is just a tool to communicate who you really are. Tell your brand’s story through creative content.
Remember, above all, branding is something that requires lots of commitment. If you are stuck at any stage, it is advisable to bring in some support.
Brands are more than companies and logos. So define your company, what you bring to the table and what you stand for to the world through your brand.
Visit Social Grow to choose from a pool of brand and media experts to guide you through the branding process.