Hidden within the pages of The Brand Gap (by Marty Neumeier), is a substantial piece of shiny gold.
Okay, there are quite a few shiny pieces of gold in this book. But the one I want to highlight today is Marty’s 7 Criteria for a Good Business Name.
In short, this criteria taught me the secret to naming a business. I’ve applied these criteria while developing business names for my clients (like Supportist, Warrick, and BookWorthy) and my own personal companies (like Structure and Craft).
I hope that this criteria provides a bit of a framework as you navigate the deep creative waters of naming your business.
Here are the seven criteria you want when choosing a business name . . .
1. Brand Distinctiveness
Does it stand out from the crowd, especially from other names in its class? Does it separate well from ordinary text and speech? The best brand names have the “presence” of a proper noun.
Is it short enough to be easily recalled and used? Will it resist being reduced to a nickname? Long multi-word names will be quickly shortened to non-communicating initials.
3. Appropriateness for the Business
Is there a reasonable fit with the business purpose of the entity? If it would work just as well—or better— for another entity, keep looking.
4. Easy spelling and pronunciation
Will most people be able to spell the name after hearing it spoken? Will they be able to pronounce it after seeing it written? A name shouldn’t turn into a spelling test or make people feel ignorant.
5. Name Likability
Will people enjoy using it? Names that are intellectually stimulating, or provide a good “mouth feel,” have a headstart over those that don’t.
Does it have “legs”? Does it suggest a visual interpretation or lend itself to a number of creative executions? Great names provide endless opportunities for band play.
Can it be trademarked? Is it available for web use? While many names can be trademarked, some names are more defensible than others, making them safer and more valuable in the long run.