Naming your business or product is a crucial element in the marketing process. Here is a step-by-step approach to finding the right name and some helpful tips to consider when launching your business or product online.
Step 1: Start with a Naming Brief
Before you can find a good name you’ll need to develop a road map for success. That’s what a naming brief is. A written document which defines your goals and objectives for the name. Without this guidance, you will be literally fumbling around in the dark for a great name. Be realistic and realize that it will take some research and strategy. This is how the “big guys” do it, and it works! A useful naming brief asks and answers such basic questions as:
1. What does my business or product do? What problem does it solve? What need does it fill?
2. Who is my target audience?
3. What makes my business or product unique?
4. What do I want this name to communicate to potential customers?
5. What’s my criteria? (Decide what you DO and DON’T want in this name)
Answer all of these questions on paper and will already be halfway there. It’s the most important step, but the one that’s most often missed in the rush to find a name and get the business launched or the product to market. Yes, I know you want to print up business cards TOMORROW but just take a deep breath and lay the groundwork first. Believe me – it will pay off because a good name is one of your best marketing tools, whereas a mediocre name (or one you just “settled for” because you were in a hurry) will bore you and your customers from the get go. Mediocre name = boring logo, boring ads, etc. Great name = exciting logo, exciting ads and limitless marketing potential for the future!
Step 2: Do Some Initial Brainstorming
Using your naming brief, sit down, grab a cup of coffee and start brainstorming! You don’t have to start with full names yet. Just write down some words and catch phrases that come to mind as you look over your goals, objectives and business image. You might even list some objects, animals and adjectives that capture the spirit of your project. For example, Dave Ramsey, a captivating and hugely successful financial expert and teacher, often uses the gazelle to describe the intensity and speed with which a motivated individual can get out of debt. The right “image” might lead to the right name.
Step 3: Pick Your Favorites
Now that you’ve got a list of words and phrases to work with, highlight your favorites. Choose the ones that communicate best what you’re trying to say to customers. Use these to prepare your final list of official names. A list of 10 names or less is ideal.
Step 4: Play Around With Slogans, Logos and Domains
Looking at your final list of name possibilities, think about each one and what kind of logo or slogan will go with it. Imagine what the “dot com” will be. Playing around with logos and slogans is a great way of feeling out your name choices. You might find that a name you thought was good doesn’t have very good marketing potential on printed and published material. Or that there’s no possible “dot com” available for a particular name.
Step 5: Try it on For Size
Once you’ve picked the name you want, try it out for a day or two. That is, design some imaginary letterhead. Use the name in your speaking and writing to see how much you really like it. Bounce the idea off on a stranger and get some feedback. If it starts to fall flat after a day or two, go back to your list and pick the second best. Repeat your test.
Step 6: What if I’m Still Stuck?You may go through this step-by-step process and find yourself still stuck. Why does this happen? Several reasons:
1. Limited scope – After all, you’re just one person. Two heads are better than one! I have personally launched a website and naming service to help folks out who are in a rut and just can’t seem to find the right name.
It’s cheap and it’s fast. What more can I say? Click here to find out more.
2. Burnout – Since you are the driving force behind your business, and have put your blood, sweat and tears into it, it’s very possible to get burned out quickly when it comes to finding a name. Just getting a business started is stressful enough; the pressure to find a perfect name can be overwhelming. Sadly, too many business owners fail to seek outside help and settle for a boring name because they are tired of brainstorming. How unfortunate! Your name says so much about your business or product! In fact, a poor one can potentially cost you customers. It’s never too late to ask for a helping hand. Even if you’ve already picked a name and it hasn’t worked out, you can make a fresh start!
3. Relying on friends and family – Too many business owners rely solely on feedback from family and friends when choosing a name. This is very shortsighted! First of all, it’s always difficult to get honest, unbiased opinions from those close to us. If they think your name idea is terrible, how likely are they to tell you so? Most will be afraid of offending you, especially if you tell them something like “This is my favorite name; what do you think?” Secondly, chances are good that those close to you are going to be very like-minded, that is you probably won’t get any fresh or broad-minded opinions. Remember, your customers will most likely be strangers that come from different backgrounds and perspectives. Your name must have a wide appeal.
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