So you’ve decided you’re starting a business, an app, an e-commerce store. You need a name, and trust us, it ain’t as simple as it sounds. A brand name is how your company introduces itself - and first impressions do count.

If you’ve had a google squizz for ‘name my business’, there is an endless list of name generators, articles and strategies for finding the one. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the possibilities, we don’t blame you. Below are our tactics on the process of finding the right name.

Start with a description

There are so many ways to go when it comes to naming your business. You can be playful, ironic, elusive, witty or clear-cut.

To know what’s right for you, we like to start with a description. Your description can be a paragraph, some bullet points, a list of words, or even a personified character description.

What are you trying to articulate is your brand’s personality and tone of voice? Is your brand witty? Bubbly? Sarcastic? What would the voice sound like talking?

While you do this exercise, have a think about who your brand is talking to. This would be your ideal customer - what role does your brand play in talking to your customer? If you’re starting a gym, how would your customer’s dream coach communicate? This is to make sure that your brand speaks to your ideal customer, in their language.

By the end of this exercise you should have an idea of the ideal personality and voice of your business, and a direction for how you’ll decide its name.

Brainstorm targeted keywords

With some ground work done on your brand description, you should have some solid footing to kick-off a brainstorm. There are so many strategies when it comes to finding the name. Have fun with the options here and go wide. Whether you use a name generator, or a good old fashioned thesaurus, give yourself short sprints of 15 minute sessions to think of as many as possible. At this stage, nothing is a bad idea, we’ll get to the sorting later. Here are a couple of our tips on brainstorming:

Choose key words

Start with a couple of key words from the brand description, choose words that have some meat to them, so you get better results from your thesaurus search.

Enlist that thesaurus

You want to look for synonyms that either reflect your brands persona, or refract it - in other words, that give you a zesty, original take on saying the same thing.

Get creative

Try mixing and matching words together in combinations. You can do it yourself by jumbling up letters or using a name generator that joins complementary words together. Have a think about the rationale behind the fusion of the words.

Curate by criteria

Deciding what’s right and what’s wrong can be very much a matter of opinion and personal preference. At the end of the day, not everyone will love your brand name but what’s most important is that your ideal customers get it.

We recommend creating a set of criteria that puts the focus back onto what will attract your ideal customer, so you can refer back to it to select your short list. Below are a couple of baseline criteria to check your potential names against.

Does it fit in with the brand?

First things first, consider whether your name works perfectly in the world of your ideal user. It should resonate with the target audience and the keywords and descriptions that encapsulate your brand.

Does it look good?

It may sound strange, but having a look at the word from a visual perspective is worthwhile when deciding between different options. At the end of the day, your brand name is not just spoken and heard, but also seen and read on your website, signage, stationery and business cards and collateral.

Does it have any urban meanings / connotations that your target audience will unfavourably resonate with?

You want to choose words that reinforce strong, positive connections. Make sure you check the meaning of the words as colloquial language in the demographic you’re targeting so there aren’t any innuendos you don’t want associated with your brand.

Is it easy to pronounce and spell?

You want your customers to be able to find you without a problem. Try to avoid anything overly long, including acronyms. A good tip for this is to keep your name short and simple.

Is it memorable?

We know, it’s hard to tick this box but when it comes to being memorable, originality and humour (if it’s right for your brand) stick like super-glue. Tip: Try alliterations or words that sound good together e.g., Pantone Pops.

Is it already out there?

It is important to know what names are already out there. Not only will you be competing with a potentially established brand for SEO (search engine optimisation), but also the imagery and personality that has already been associated with the existing brand.

Is there a domain available?

Nothing like a great unavailable name, save yourself the trouble and make sure you’ve got a name for your business that you can set up online with.

Let your ideas bake

If you’ve checked through your short list to find you’ve still got a couple of names you can’t decide on, don’t worry - just let it bake for a while. We actually placed our best names up on a whiteboard that we’d walk past every day. This way, you’ll get to see which ones resonate best after the initial buzz has worn off. Give it a week and see if any new variations come up along the way.

So there you have it! Coming up with the right name can seem initially overwhelming, but with a little bit of preparation and thinking, you’ll be able to choose a name that sets the tone for your brand upon first glance.

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