How to Find the Perfect Business Name: Lessons from 30,000+ Clients
In this guide, we break down: (1) what you need to consider when searching for business names, (2) finding business names that elevate your brand, and (3) naming a business that resonates with your target audience.
Here’s why this is important:
Choosing the right business name significantly impacts your brand's success and long-term viability.
This explains why 68% of small business owners spend over three months deciding on a business name.
With so much riding on a naming decision, it’s essential to take the time and effort to pick a business name that reflects your brand’s values and attracts your target audience.
Natfluence teamed up with Squadhelp, the world’s largest naming platform with over 30,000 customers and 300,000 creatives globally, to deliver actionable naming insights and tips.
Table Of Contents
The Importance of Searching for Business Names
When searching for business names or looking for domain names for sale there are important legal and business implications. Let’s have a look:
Legal Implications of Naming a Business
The first and most important step is to ensure that your business name doesn’t infringe on someone else’s trademark.
The interesting part is that while there is a growing awareness of the importance of protecting intellectual property, trademark infringement still remains a common issue.
For instance, the World Intellectual Property Organization reported 5,764 domain name disputes in 2022 (a 67.2% increase in cases filed since 2018).
This underscores the need for businesses to ensure their business name does not infringe on existing trademarks — which can result in costly legal battles and damage a brand’s reputation.
Proactively protecting your intellectual property can safeguard assets and avoid potential legal challenges.
Business Implications of Naming a Business
After vetting potential legal concerns, your brand identity is the next most important consideration.
Choosing the right business name helps you to establish a unique brand identity that sets you apart from your competitors and enables you to build trust and recognition with your target audience.
Further, a strong and memorable business name can help you cultivate credibility with potential customers and incentivize them to choose your products or services.
A Consumer Research Survey found that 90% of consumers are willing to pay more for something when it comes from a brand they trust, highlighting the importance of building a strong and trustworthy brand identity through a memorable business name.
So, how do you come up with the perfect business name? Let’s dive in:
Six Steps for Finding Business Names That Elevate Your Brand
The following steps can help you stay on track when naming a business:
(1) Align Your Name with Your Brand Identity
Think of your brand identity as the “personality” of your business. Or, if you want to get technical: the collection of visual, emotional, and psychological attributes that define your company.
Together, these attributes help you to connect with consumers and manage your brand perception.
Your business name is an integral part of your brand identity and should be consistent with your brand's unique attributes, values, and mission.
Therefore, before jumping into the process of finding business names, it’s important to ensure that you have a well-defined brand identity and that your name complements and strengthens how you build your brand.
Consider the following to help further define your brand:
- What is your brand’s purpose and values?
- Who is your target audience?
- What makes your brand unique?
- What message do you want to convey?
- What does your brand stand for?
Next, double check that your business name aligns with the direction of your brand (based on how you answered the above branding questions). Then, think about what the business name signifies, how it sounds, and what people feel when they hear it.
EXAMPLES OF SYNCING BRAND NAME WITH IDENTITY
One example of a business that has done a great job of aligning their brand name with their brand identity is TOMS Shoes.
The name itself is a clever abbreviation of “Tomorrow’s Shoes,” which conveys a sense of forward-thinking and a commitment to making a positive impact on the world.
This message is consistent with their brand identity, which emphasizes social responsibility and ethical business practices.
Additionally, TOMS has a “One for One” business model, where for every pair of shoes purchased, the company donates a pair to a child in need. This ties directly into the brand’s identity as a socially responsible company, and the name TOMS helps to reinforce this message.
Another example is Whole Foods Market, whose name aligns with their brand identity of providing high-quality, natural and organic foods. The name conveys the message that the store offers a wide variety of fresh, wholesome foods, which is consistent with their brand values of promoting health and wellness.
(2) Use Trusted Tools to Brainstorm Unique Names
A highly effective technique for finding business names is to start with brainstorming as many ideas as possible.
To kickstart the process, consider using credible online tools for brainstorming and crowdsourcing business names.
To put things in perspective, a study by the European Journal of Marketing (i) found that:
Here are three popular online tools for brainstorming business names:
|Shopify Business Name Generator||Generates creative and memorable business names based on the keywords you enter.|
|Oberlo Business Name Generator||Generates creative and unique business name ideas based on the keywords and categories you provide.|
|Wordoid Business Name Generator||Generates made-up words that sound catchy and are easy to remember.|
Here are three popular online tools for crowdsourcing names:
|Squadhelp||Lets you launch a naming contest and receive name suggestions from a global community of creatives. You can set your own budget and select the winning name from a list of submissions.|
|Namestation||Allows you to generate name ideas based on keywords and domain availability. You can also run naming contests and get feedback from other users|
|Naming.net||Provides name suggestions based on the characteristics you want your brand to convey, such as personality, tone, and style|
You can’t go wrong using these tools to help you get started. However, it’s also important to consider how your name will look on various materials, such as business cards and websites.
The name you choose should be simple to remember, easy to spell, and usable in multiple contexts.
(3) Consider Metaphors, Visual Imagery, and Emotionally Charged Words
Using metaphors, visual imagery, and emotionally charged words is an excellent way to create a unique and memorable business name that captures the essence of your brand.
Metaphors, for instance can help create a visual association with your brand, while visual imagery can create a lasting impression in the minds of your customers.
Just look at Amazon:
Amazon’s name is a powerful metaphor for the company’s mission to offer an enormous selection of products to its customers. It’s a play off of the Amazon river which is the largest in the world, with an incomparable number of tributaries.
The name also incorporates the letter “A,” positioning the brand at the top of any alphabetical list.
Overall, Amazon’s name is a great example of branding because it is memorable, easy to spell, and has become synonymous with online shopping, demonstrating the power of a well-chosen and effectively executed brand name.
It’s also important to consider emotionally charged words which elicit strong emotional responses.
This helps your brand to stand out. Find names that embody the feelings you want your brand name to evoke.
For example, Nike’s name evokes feelings of power, strength, and determination. These are qualities associated with the company’s brand and its products.
Here’s a video from Niel Patel which provides more guidance on finding great business names:
Niel Patel (Top 10 marketer by Forbes) on how to choose a great business name
(4) Pique Interest, But Don’t Overcomplicate it
A study by the Stanford Graduate School of Business (ii) revealed that companies with names that are easy to pronounce, spell, and remember are more likely to be positively perceived by consumers and generate higher sales revenue.
Additionally, companies with shorter names tend to outperform those with longer names.
Therefore, avoid using complex or confusing words that might make it difficult for people to remember your brand. Instead, go for a name that is simple, catchy, and memorable.
EXAMPLES OF SIMPLE BUT POWERFUL BRAND NAMES
Here are three brands that have mastered the power of simplicity and intrigue:
Apple brand is a great example of a simple, memorable, and easy-to-pronounce name. The name has become synonymous with innovation and design excellence, and has helped Apple become one of the most valuable companies in the world.
Airbnb quickly became one of the most recognizable and successful companies in the travel industry. The name is easy to remember, pronounce, and spell, which has helped the brand to gain traction with travelers around the world.
Zoom is another excellent example. The name reflects the idea of zooming in and out of different locations, which is a perfect fit for a video conferencing platform.
(5) Conduct Audience Testing to Confirm the Strongest Business Name
Audience testing is the process of gathering feedback from your target audience.
By conducting surveys or focus groups, you can get valuable insights on which brand name resonates with your customers.
For example, by testing potential brand names with your target audience, you can confirm whether your brand name is easy to understand and memorable.
To get started, gather your list of potential brand names from steps 1-4. Next, request feedback on each of the brand names from your target audience.
Here are examples of questions you can ask:
- Which brand name is the most memorable and easy to remember?
- Which brand name do you think best represents the product or service being offered?
- Which brand name would you choose when looking for a business like this?
- What do you think of when you hear the brand name?
- Can you spell and pronounce the brand name easily?
Based on the feedback you collect, try narrowing your list and conduct further testing to determine the strongest brand name.
Here is an Audience Testing Template from Natfluence for help with finding business names:
(6) Perform Trademark Checks
In 2020, Oatly (a Swedish-based company that produces oat milk) discovered that Glebe Farm Foods Ltd, a UK-based company that also produces oat milk, had been using the name “PureOaty” for its product.
Oatly subsequently filed a lawsuit against Glebe Farm Foods for trademark infringement, claiming that the use of the name “PureOaty” was likely to cause confusion among consumers and harm its brand.
The case went to court, and in 2021, the judge ruled in favor of Oatly agreeing that the name “PureOaty” constituted trademark infringement. Glebe Farm Foods was ordered to change the name of its product and pay damages to Oatly.
This case highlights the importance of conducting trademark research before choosing a business name.
Even if you think your name is unique and has no intention of infringing on an existing trademark, you may still be at risk of legal action if your name is too similar or likely to cause confusion with another brand.
Here’s a quick overview of how to perform trademark research:
- Conduct a comprehensive search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database to check if any similar names or logos have already been registered.
- Search the internet and social media platforms for businesses with similar names.
- Review local business directories and trade publications to see if any similar names or logos are in use in your industry.
- Consult with a trademark attorney to evaluate your search results and identify any potential infringement risks.
Performing trademark research before choosing a business name, can help you avoid a costly and time-consuming legal battle.
The Bottom Line: Naming a Business
The steps in this guide are based on insights from working with over 30,000 clients and counting.
Searching for business names and ultimately finding the perfect business name requires a thoughtful and thorough approach.
However, by investing the time to find a unique and memorable business name that enforces your brand and appeals to your target audience, you can establish a strong foundation for future growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Squadhelp |
Squadhelp is a leading naming platform with over 30,000 customers and 300,000 creatives globally. Squadhelp allows you to host competitions for business names, tag lines, logos and other marketing projects. From machine learning to audience testing to comprehensive trademark validation, you get best in class support for your branding projects.
(i) Alter, A. L., & Oppenheimer, D. M. (2009). Easy on the mind, easy on the wallet: The roles of familiarity and processing fluency in valuation judgments. Psychological Science, 20(2), 139-146. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02267.x
(ii) Merrilees, B., Miller, D., & Herington, C. (2013). Brand naming and its impact on brand equity and customer response. European Journal of Marketing, 47(8), 2081-2105. doi:10.1108/EJM-04-2011-0176