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How to come up with a unique name for your business

How to come up with a unique name for your business
Hayley Spencer
Hayley Spencer
Sparke Club
 

Posted: Fri 9th Apr 2021

Settling on the right name for your new business, rebrand, product or service can be tricky. It can stall progress and make you feel you're going round in circles. So here are some top tips, and some things to avoid, when coming up with your new name.

Types of names

This may sound obvious but there are many types of names. Here are a few examples:

Made-up words

These are not only unique, but allow you to take ownership of a URL/domain name. Examples of company names based on made-up words are Fanta (derived from Fantasie – German for 'imagination') and Karmarama.

Alternative spellings

Again, these let you get a unique URL and help you stand out. Google, for example, is an alternative spelling of the word 'googol', which is the number 1 with 100 zeroes after it.

'All about you' names

These are usually the name(s) of the business founder(s), such as Sainsbury's, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer.

Existing words with new meanings

Using these can be really powerful. Apple has done this brilliantly.

Play with word endings

Adding different endings to an existing word can help you find a unique name which works really well for your business. Examples would be Shopify, Deliveroo and Maltesers.

Mash-ups

These are having a bit of a moment, especially in food. For example, cronut (croissant combined with doughnut) or brookies (brownies with cookies).

Acronyms and initialisms

A great way to shorten a longer name. Just be sure to make it memorable – for example, ASOS, BMW, M&M's, HSBC.

How to assess your name

Here are a few questions to ask yourself about your proposed new name, which will help you assess and refine your options.

Does it reflect your business and your values?

If you pick a serious name for a fun business, for example (or vice versa), it might not quite sit right.

Will the name resonate with your target market?

For example, if you're aiming at the budget market, of course your name should reflect this (B&M Bargains and Costcutter are great examples).

Is it memorable?

Making sure people remember your business name is crucial, especially for word-of-mouth recommendations or looking you up online.

Common mistakes to avoid

Here are a few things to avoid when deciding on your business name.

Check the URL is available

This is critical if you're to have a website and social media accounts that are easy for people to find.

Google it

Check what other businesses exist with the same name. Are they competitors or do they operate in different industries? How many results do you get? Too many similarly named businesses could be confusing and is probably worth avoiding.

Dual meanings

Check Urban Dictionary to make sure there aren't any slightly embarrassing alternative meanings to your chosen name.

Pronunciation

Make sure your name is something your target audience will be able to pronounce confidently. If it's difficult to say, they may struggle to recommend you or ask for your product in a store.

Translations

It could be worth checking that your name doesn't translate into anything offensive, so you can confidently sell to customers whose native language isn't the same as yours.

Think big

A common mistake is people naming their business for what they're selling right now. For example, Hayley's Granola could be a great name for a new granola brand. But once successful, the business may want to expand into other products, industries or sectors. Make sure your business name is relevant but not too narrow for you to grow.



We hope this has helped you in your quest for a new name. If you'd like any further support, don't hesitate to connect with me or book a discovery call below.

 
Hayley Spencer
Hayley Spencer
Sparke Club
 
I'm Hayley, co-founder of Sparke Club. We love all things innovation, our focus on the early stages from idea generation through to concepts. Together we have over 35 years experience working with products, development, branding and marketing. We’ve worked for big companies and small, mainly specialising in food.  We have worked on products that have been sold in some pretty famous high street stores, in supermarkets, online and  some of our fantastic products have even made the trip internationally. 
 

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