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Naming companies and businesses as part of a branding process


Known in the professional jargon as simply ‘naming’, the process of choosing a name for a company, a business or a product is a vital step in any branding process. In fact, names are often suggested in the very first stages of branding, alongside such fundamental steps as brand differentiation, positioning, and the definition of its strengths and weaknesses. Below are a few key principles to help you with this step:

Make a preliminary list of names
It is best to start off with some internet research, in order to establish a solid foundation for your list. Find some company names you like; then, find out how those names came to be; what stood behind the decision to choose them over others. This will help you in the conceptual process of coming up with your own list of original names. As you try to think of good names, ask yourself: do these names suit your target audience? Do they communicate your brand’s differentiation, value proposition, and unique DNA?

Look for synonyms, conjunctions and foreign words
Now that you have a preliminary list, look up the names you have come up with in online dictionaries. These searches sometimes yield interesting results, which might prove helpful in gaining a better understanding of the meaning of the names you have chosen and detecting any spelling mistakes along the way. Entering your names into thesaurus.com, for instance, might yield some useful synonyms you had not thought of. Checking for conjunctions and agreements with your names in them may also prove worthwhile. An excellent tool for this is wordoid.com. You can also use foreign languages; many words in Spanish, Italian, or French sound great to English speakers. The Italian word for ‘tree’ for instance, is ‘albero’, which could work well for a company that targets an English speaking audience.

Add prefixes and suffixes
Try adding different prefixes and suffixes to the base names on your list. You can also add words that are associated with your company’s content world, such as ‘med’ for a medical company, or ‘cam’ for a company that deals with photography.

Check domain availability
The internet offers a wide range of freeware tools and utilities that can help you check which domains are available for you to use. This step effectively kills two birds with one stone: first, it guarantees that the name you pick will have an available domain for you to buy, and second, many domain availability checkers suggest alternative names if the domain you want is already taken. For your convenience, we have composed a list of recommended sites in this category:

Even if the domain you wanted is taken and not up for sale, do not despair. You can always contact the domain owner and negotiate with him. You can find some useful tips on how to go about this here: http://blog.domai.nr/post/17910329952/buy-a-domain-that-someone-else-owns

Get feedback
Once you have completed all the steps, your list should be narrowed down to only a few name choices. Now is the time to test how the people around you respond to and feel about your names. We recommend asking your business partners, family members, friends, and perhaps most importantly – your company’s employees. The feedback you receive during this step may prove much more helpful than you think, so keep an open mind. Sometimes, names that seem right to you evoke a completely different emotional response from others. If you find that to be the case, always be sure to ask why, and really listen to what they have to say.

As a company that specializes in naming leading businesses and products, we thought we should share a few names we believe to be brilliant:

FourSquare
Pinterest
Waze
Pango
Yelp
Spotify
Skype
GetAround
Instagram
MeetUp
Expensify
KickStarter
FarmiGO
Adzap
Swappel
Giftly
SkillShare
Sphero
Goodsie
WeWork

What do you think was the rationale behind these name choices? Know any other great names and want to share? We’d love to read all about it on Titan’s facebook page.