Choosing a business name

So you’ve developed a product and committed yourself to your business. But you’ve hit a snag. 

What the hell are you going to name it? 

It doesn’t need to be perfect – but the name you choose is going to be central to your brand’s image.

Yes, you can change it later on. But a strong decision now saves you the time, money and tears involved in a rebrand. 

Need help naming your business? Let’s hear from some of the world’s leading brands. 

1. Make it personal 

Using your surname as your brand can be a great way to pin down a “legacy” feel, but it’s not for everyone – and you might struggle if your a Smith!

Other options are linked to shared experience and inside jokes. We don’t suggest an outright pun (hello Jason Donner Van) but brands have found inspiration in weird places… 

Which takes us to point number two!

2. Be inspired by fiction

Ever found yourself identifying with a fictional character? Jerry Yang and David Filo felt a certain familiarity when they encountered the repulsive and filthy Yahoo creatures in Gulliver’s Travels.  

So, of course, they named their infamous guide to the world wide web after them. 

3. Search the dictionary 

Hasn’t everyone wondered what the world would have been like if Jeff Bezos has chosen a different name for Amazon? No, we have not. But it did nearly happen. Jeff originally had his heart set ‘Cadabra’ – but he encountered an unexpectedly macabre issue – people thought he was saying Cadaver. 

Instead, deciding on a name close to the beginning of the alphabet (pre-Google, the internet directory was indexed like a phone book) he scoured the dictionary and settled on Amazon. Many brands have a similar story – why not try it out? 

4. Make up your own word

If you feel especially creative and want to avoid the risk of your brand name having negative connotations, why not make one up? When George Eastman named his photography company he wanted something short, snappy, and easy to spell. He also liked the letter K. The obvious choice? Kodak.

You could also try a portmanteau of existing words. Lego was created from the Danish words legt (play) and godt (well). (NB: Lego is also Latin for ‘I put together’, but the brand claims this is a serendipitous coincidence.) 

The downside here is that people may struggle to spell – or even remember – your name. 

5. Say exactly what it does on the tin

Who can forget these no-nonsense adverts from Ronseal? They show us that branding isn’t all about being unusual. 

It’s always worth considering a descriptive name for your brand. Consider Toys R Us. It wasn’t an exciting name, but you knew exactly what you were going to get from the store. 

On the downside, this kind of name can be limiting if you decide to expand. 

6. Visualise what you want for your brand

Visualise the future of your business. What do you see? 

The name Volkswagen literally means “people’s car”, and was born from a desire to produce a car for the masses. (The idea came from Adolf Hitler – but let’s not think too deeply about that.) 

Is there a dream you have for your product that could influence the name? 

Have any of these tips given you an idea for your business? Let me know if the comments!

And if you’re looking for a copywriter please get in touch.