Small business: Advice on picking a good name

Add a comment
Think Red founder Richard Wheatley. Photo / supplied
Think Red founder Richard Wheatley. Photo / supplied

Richard Wheatley, founder, Think Red - brand specialists talks to Gill South about picking a good name for your business.

What's in a name?

In business today, being the best at what you do isn't enough. Customers and prospects are bombarded with competing information all the time, so they need to remember your company, product or service. And how better than through your name. The key is to ensure you have a 'sticky' name, one that is hard to forget, rather than just easy to remember.

As brand designers we think the name is fundamental. It will always be an uphill struggle to build a brand with a weak name. A great name can help create a great brand.

Finding and choosing a name

Naming is not for wimps and can be quite frustrating. You need to be creative and original but you also need to be strategic. The name needs to tie in with how you position your product or service and it needs to be geared to your customers. Names can sometimes be inappropriately flippant or silly just for the sake of being catchy. There are other ways to be distinct. And, unless you're IBM, BMW or MTV, steer clear of meaningless acronyms and generic names (computer services limited), people will forget you or even confuse you with a competitor with a similar name.

When picking a name, remember that it will become part of a branded look that is designed to make it memorable and meaningful. Basically, the name will always appear in context.

Some tips

Names are spoken more often than seen, so make sure they sound good and are easy to pronounce and spell.

Avoid 'clever' spelling when trying to be different - you'll be forgotten. In the same vein, the name should be search-engine friendly. You want people to find you on the net so pick a name with an available url.

Your name will become a valuable asset so make sure you pick one that you can register and protect.

Changing an existing name is a very tricky process and should not be lightly undertaken. Established brand names, however weak, do have brand equity that should not be underestimated. Don't change unless you have good reason to.

Buying another complementary company in your industry, or merging with another, can turbo charge your firm's growth if done the right way.

But the process has to be done with exquisite care and attention to detail just like any marriage. Tell us your stories of getting together with another, and how that worked out for you.

Email me, Gill South, at the link below:

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a5 at 29 Aug 2014 20:29:18 Processing Time: 601ms