The Name Game

Just for a drill, let’s think of a few great names in the local corporate world … names that encapsulate the essence of the business; names that differentiate themselves from their competitors and resonate in the mind of the consumer.

Is this a tough exercise for you? It was for me. I could think of plenty of ‘good’ names like Trader Joe’s, Bank of America and State Farm; but great names are much harder to come by. U-Haul, Lifetime Fitness, Home Depot and Netflix are what I would consider examples of great brand names.

When it comes to naming your company, it’s OK to have a grocery store named Fry’s or a laundry detergent named Tide because you invest in the needed components to build the brand. Those components are customer service, price point, product quality, and the advertising that promotes and reinforces these brand attributes.

Apple is a great name because it’s different from the sterile technology names that are so prevalent in the industry (IBM, Microsoft). Founder Steve Jobs is purported to have come up with the name because it was ‘fun, spirited and not intimidating.’ I think we can all agree now that he nailed it.

Here are some things to consider when naming your company:

1. Is it taken already? In Arizona check here to find out. Whereas you can have some redundancy in names, it is subject to rules regarding trademarks, services and locations. In almost all cases I would steer someone clear of using the same name of an existing company regardless of the circumstances.

2. How will it look? On a sign, on social media, across the internet … will it readily translate to memorable domain name?

3. Be unique. Brand differentiation is key in a crowded and competitive marketplace. Don’t get lost by looking like or sounding like everyone else.

Your company name is the foundation of your brand. It’s the core component from which everything else stems from. Whether you’re a startup or completely re-branding your company, you need to do your homework. It also doesn’t hurt to be a little bit creative as well.