One of the crucial aspects of setting up a fresh company is to select the right name. The decision on selecting a name is one of the first steps to setting up a corporate identity, even before designing a logo. The name of the company serves as a corner stone when you are designing a logo.
Selecting a name for a company was never an easy task, and it has become even more difficult thanks to the Internet! Any company today needs a web presence. It is worth your while to verify the availability of a preferred domain name before you finalize the name of the company. You also need to consider what could happen to the name of the company in future, as you grow year on year. For example, if you run a design company specializing with logo creation, a name such as ‘Logo Factory’ could serve you well. But what if you expand to other realms of web design, what if you start a CMS training module etc? Well, you would either need to change the name of the company or set up an entirely new division with its own name and corporate identity.
Further, the name may lose its strong connotation over the years for no fault of years. Words themselves can become a little too common place over time! There’s no way around this, is there? Further, there is no shortage of other businessmen and users passing comments on everything under the sun on the Internet today, including company names! People can simply ‘like’ a brand name of a social media site like Facebook. On the other hand, they can even leave negative comments about your brand! This can no doubt have a negative impression on other users. However, people usually do not go out of their way to leave negative feedback unless they truly have had negative experiences with a particular company, and we believe that is well justified in such case.
If you are looking for a fresh name for your company and just cannot come up with the right now, why not check some names out on the Internet just for inspiration? If not, you could just do this as a learning experience. Search the most valuable and effective logos and their names – a quick Google search should be sufficient. It is better to take as much time as you can when you are deciding on a brand name. Do take the opinion of others, possibly future board members. Take advice from your designers and your advertising personnel if any. Remember, it is going to be difficult to change the name of the company at a later date, so try and get things as crystal clear as you can – why this name? Why not that one? Why is this one the most effective? These are questions that you may have to answer to other people soon enough, so make sure you convince your self first!
Personal vs. Corporate
A company such as Dell is named after the founder member Micheal Dell. On the other hand, the name Microsoft has nothing to resemble the name of the founder Bill Gates. Thinking further along those lines, I don’t believe Apple computers ever considered calling themselves ‘Steve Jobs Inc’ or anything like that, and they probably wouldn’t be as successful if they did! Using your own name to title the company is a purely personal choice, and usually depends only on how you wish to promote your own name. It is a decision that only you can make. It depends a lot on character and personality. Some may find using their own names has something to do with ego, while others could believe the company needs to be an epitome of their own successful characters! And then of course it depends upon the kind of name you have as well!
Many of us have the kind of upbringing where we are taught not to ‘blow your own trumpet’. And this never allows us to use our own names in a company title. Whether this is right or wrong is out of context of this article. However, if you feel that using your own name could eventually mean you hate speaking about your own company to other business men, you should refrain from using the name even if other people feel it is right. There is nothing wrong with wanting to ‘hide’ behind a corporate identity if you feel that using your own name could put you under a spot light that you would not be comfortable with. It could even come down to a question of privacy if the company becomes a highly successful venture! Further, if you do use your own name, you could getting too many requests from strangers to talk to you about a complaint! Imagine you are a hot shot client with a complaint about a batch of computers from Dell. Imagine wanting to speak ONLY to Mr Dell about your concerns. You get what we mean by that don’t you?
One of the advantages of having a company name that describes nothing about the founding members is that you can assign responsibilities to different units without being held accountable (to some extent) about the effectiveness of each of those departments. This can work both ways! On the other hand, if your name is already a reputable one in your own field, it could work well for you to use the name in the company title. It could save you months of brand building if you have already put in the effort to build your own reputation. Again, there is to sides to this. Some would NOT want to experiment with a new company on their own names, for the fear of ruining a perfectly good personal reputation. Finally it comes down to the nature of the company. If it is dear to you, you may want your name in it, but if it is an experimental venture why not use an experimental name?
Developing a Corporate Name
Lets say for example, you have decided against using your own name to name your company. What next? Read on to get a few more ideas on how you can build on a name.
A Fancy Name? Some company names consist of fancy words that never existed in the language before! Kodak and Nike are two examples of fancy names that made a huge impact. The advantages of using a fancy name is that you will probably not have problems with issues such as trademark registration and domain registration. Fancy names also allow a lot of creative options for the designer working on the logo. You could come up with a fancy name using initials of founder members, just to give one example of how you can come up with a name.
An Arbitrary Name? Arbitrary names are real English words that have no connection with the company’s core values, except for an abstract resemblance or connection. ‘Google’ is a mathematical value while ‘Yahoo’ is a kind of yodeling or even the description of a hooligan! If you can come up with a punchy arbitrary name that is still open to registration on the Internet, go for it! You could have a few problems when you realize that most arbitrary names have already been registered on the web! Arbitrary names are usually effective and also allow a good deal of creativity with logo designs and advertising. try and get one by all means, but do not lose hope if you cannot come up with a really good arbitrary name! There’s still more you can do with a good brand name!
How About A Suggestive Name? A suggestive name speaks of some aspect of the company or some feature of it. For example a name such as ‘Mustang’ speaks of the speed of the car while the name ‘Cheetah’ speaks of the speed and efficiency of an all new macintosh operating system. If you are thinking of using a suggestive name for your own company, you will probably have to use a phrase rather than just one word. You could find names such as ‘Rocket Computers’ have already been snatched up over the years. Today you will need to be a little more creative than that if you want an effective name.
Descriptive Names? These are straightforward names that speak of exactly what the company actually operates in. Obvious names that can come up are ‘Paycheck Loan Company’, ‘’Nuts and Bolts Hardware’ and ‘Mike’s car Wash’! You get the idea! Such names usually work well for smaller establishments, possibly one-man businesses (Mike’s Car Wash?). They may seem a little out of place for larger establishments. Such names are usually associated with classic American companies from ‘the good old days’!
Whatever route you decide to take, you could soon realize that in today’s world most good names have been taken up already, and that is a reality of what the scenario is today. The only answer is to get as creative as possible!