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What's in a name?

Image of Simon Goble
  • De Simon Goble
  • 25 jul 2009

Names for businesses can come from a variety of places. We've taken a quick look at a few different options for finding the right name to suit your business.

What's in a name?

In Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare's famous heroine Juliet passionately asks:

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Sadly, the same cannot be said for the name you give your business or brand. Your business name is how you will come to be known in the industry, how your clients will see you, and it'll be the name you put on your Business Cards. It matters what you call your company - and for some, it's a big motivational step to getting started.

So, what's the best way to come up with a company name?

Many small businesses begin with one employee - you. As a result, they begin with their owner's name in their company name - Chanel, Jack Daniels, Ford, JP Morgan, Marks & Spencer, JC Penny for example (there's a long list on Wikipedia). For companies taking their owner's name, it can be hard for clients and customers to tell the difference between brand and owner - something to remember if you're active in social media. Where do your personal tweets stop, and your company's start?

Other companies have a name that seemingly means nothing at all. For example, what does Google actually mean? There are lots of rumors behind the name, but where did the name Coca-Cola really come from? On delving a little deeper we learn that both of these names tell a story, and relate in some way to the history or nature of the business.

Sometimes the business name is more closely related to the products and services they provide. Whilst not always explicitly using your industry in your brand name (e.g. Modern Photography Inc.), some names can be a little more cryptic and still related to the industry. We asked our friends at Blurb - "What does Blurb mean"? Watch Founder and CEO Eileen Gittins tell her brand naming story.

If you find yourself struggling to name your new business as Eileen once did, why not search for inspiration somewhere different! We created a set of MOO Text-o-matic MiniCards each with a different word printed on the cards. We threw the them in a bowl and pulled cards at random to inspire some new name ideas. You can see a few of our selections in the image above.

If you don't fancy making a set of MiniCards, you could always take a quick peek at Name My Design Company Machine. If you find a name you like, you'll need to define what exactly your business does. For this, there is no better tool (honest, we checked) than the Great Ideas Generator - just keep hitting refresh for more and more ideas...

BrandBucket have come up with ten points that they feel make up a good name, and they're all worth considering with any of the methods we've mentioned above: Length, Real Word/Expression, Alphabet, Pronunciation, Spelling, Conflicts, Industry Match, Longevity, Uniqueness, and General Retention... and not to forget possibilities for domain names for taking your brand online!

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