What’s in a name? – Perhaps everything!

With so many major factors like Idea, Execution, Funding to take care of, many a times the Startup founders end up deprioritizing one of the defining aspects of starting up: “The Name”. It is your Brand-Name that the people are going to identify with at the first instance. While, good out-of-the-box name can make you the buzzing HashTag online, a bad one can finish what you have just started.

Though naming seems to be a straightforward process but it can be a way more complicated. The reality is there is no easy route, but yes following right guidelines can increase the chances of success substantially. Follow the guidelines below to ensure you haven’t missed anything important and to prevent plagiarism.

Get Creative

In this age, where almost everything ends up being copyrighted, it is more important to stay unique and create a niche for your name in the market. Coined names can be more meaningful than existing words. For instance, “Compaq” has no dictionary definition but the word suggests conciseness just as the company intended with its sleek series of laptops.

Discovering the Source Word

The foundation of your name will be the source word, so the best way to start is to generate a set of words that should be fairly literal and represent a core aspect of your business. This may include the product category (travel, music, fashion) as well as the product function (discovery, sharing).

Emotional Connect

You must ensure that you come up with a comforting and familiar name that conjures up pleasant memories so that customers respond to your business on an emotional level. Paying close attention to the kind of emotional response you invoke from people is pivotal to connotation. One can always gather feedback from their family, friends and the employees. Remember, if your employees are not at ease with the name, you will never be either.

Examples of Strong and Weak Names

You may use this section as a reference to get an idea about the kind of name that may work.

Strong Names:

1. Weebly.com: Thanks to the use of commonly used suffix like “-ly” and prefix like “wee-”, it turns out to be a very simple word to pronounce and doesn’t sound ugly or foreign.

2. CardPool.com: A pun that holds extreme relevance. CardPool pools together gift cards (as kids are pooled together in a car pool). This is a level of naming quality that every entrepreneur should strive to achieve. This is a fun and completely unforgettable name.

3. TripAdvisor.com: This is the most apt example of a name that is self-describing and easy to remember.TripAdvisor.com helps the travelers have the prefect trip and its duly explains it with its name.

Weak Names:

1. Dataoracle.com: Not only does this name potentially infringe upon the copyrights of an enormous company, but it also refers to one of their active markets. One can only brand around a major company’s name when the context of their use is clearly differentiable from the incumbent’s use.

2. IOBits.com: The name will occur highly confusing and meaningless to most non-techies. Unfortunately, not only would the average consumer not know what “IO” is, but the suffix “bits” seems “too geeky” to most unperceptive individual.

3. Splurgy.com: The first thing a viewer would have perceived would be an app that encourages you to go on a shopping spree with coupons for high-end stores, like Bloomingdales or Tiffany’s. But, in real it is a portal that runs marketing campaigns for coupons and deals on social networks. Clearly, the founders ended up contradicting themselves in order to make the name catchy and distinct.

Final Analysis

In general, entrepreneurs arrive at a final decision either by going with their gut feeling or by doing consumer research or review from target clientele to see how the names are perceived. You can also doodle an idea of what each name will look like on a sign or on business stationery. Keep in mind that professional branding firms devote anywhere from six to ten weeks on the naming process. You probably won’t have that much time, but plan to spend at least a few weeks on selecting a name that resonates your idea.

Once you have decided upon a name, start building enthusiasm for the new name immediately. Your name is the first step towards building a strong brand value, one that should last as long as you’re in business.

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