6 Psychological Tactics To Come Up With A Dazzling Name For Your Business:
Your business is ready to take off. The IP dazzles. The business plan is solid. You've secured funding and are ready to become the next Apple, Google, or Amazon. All that's left to do is decide on a name that's worthy of your greatness. Here are 6 pieces of advice that'll help you in your quest to find name that forms an emotional connection with your customers while staying buzz-worthy, impactful, catchy and cool.
1. Make it memorable to maximize stickiness
Shorter names, and ones that are easier to pronounce or roll off the tongue make the most impact. An NYU study cited in Entrepreneur magazine corroborated that fact, showing that stocks with easier to pronounce names “outperformed those with names more difficult to pronounce.” Over the course of a year, easier to pronounce names outperformed over 30% the ones that were more difficult to pronounce. With that in mind, some general guidelines to keep your brand memorable are:
- Keep it 2-3 syllables. Max.
- If possible, keep the first letter closer to the beginning of the alphabet.
- Repeat (similar) syllables if possible.
Apple and Amazon are perfect examples of the first two bullet points. Though not exactly saying what they do as companies, the simplicity (read: ease) of recalling their names is definitely a sticking point for the consumer. They also capitalize on a psycho-linguistic tendency that makes names starting with letters closer to the beginning of the alphabet perform better than those towards the end. Coca-Cola, one of the most recognizable brands, takes it a step further by capitalizing on the built-in cachet of repeating similar sounding syllables.
2. Let two wor(l)ds collide
Portmanteaus of two or more words are a great way to show off your creativity as well as give a more robust idea about your company's culture and specialty. Company names that use this convention build in complex identity while streamlining the brand's story. This makes it easy for customers to understand product offerings, and makes it easier for them to connect and identify with the brand.
Take Netflix as an example. From its name, we know it's (now) web-based and we know they specialize in cinema and entertainment. It's as simple as that. Unsurprisingly, Netflix's brand recognition amongst younger millenials (between the ages of 18 and 26), those who are most likely to “Netflix and Chill,” is at a staggering 65%. This far outreaches the recognition of the nearest traditional media outlet, Fox, whose brand recognition is 40%. Globally, Netflix's brand ranking overall, taking into account into all companies, is impressive, beating out companies like Nike, Verizon, and Starbucks as the 20th most recognizable brand in 2017.
3. Use historical, literary, or foreign words
This is another great way to build cultural distinction while showing off your playful side. Using words that may not be de rigeur adds intrigue and almost instant notoriety.
4. Fake it until you make it
Try your hand at making up a word that sounds interesting. Be careful when you go this route as it may come off as cheesy, or worst yet, have an unintended meaning in another language. Be ready to change your name for said market if that is the case. In China, for instance, where the US exported over $100 billion in goods in 2016, companies as diverse as Coca-Cola and GE have changed their names to make sure their brand succeeds in that lucrative and culturally distinct environment.
5. Try using initials and/or acronyms
Initials and acronyms are a great way to build on the last point and differentiate your business. IKEA, PwC, HSBC, IBM are all companies that are recognized throughout the world and are within the top 100 most recognizable brands in the world.
6. Forget the naming hacks. Keep it simple, short, and sweet
You can also just keep it to the point. There's something beautiful in simplicity and transparency of this tactic that oftentimes resonates with customers. Smith Creative Consulting may not roll off the tongue, but if you focus on the quality of your product, most consumers will be quick to forgive a basic or uncreative name. If you go this route, make sure you use words that are simple, impactful, and positive. Words like creative, unique, and stellar are better to use than negative or complex words that sound pedantic. Using the word “fiduciary” might seem like a great idea for an investment firm because it's smart sounding, but it comes off as condescending to the average consumer.
Keep these tips in mind as you brainstorm names for your business. If after going through these steps, you've exhausted all your options, there are countless name generators, some of which allow you to check if the web domain is available; Oberlo has compiled a list of 22 free Business Name generators to Find the Best Brand Names.
Whatever name you decide to go with, remember that a buzz-worthy name only goes so far. If your service is lacking, the novelty of a brand's name will quickly wear off and the brand may become toxic. So even though names are important, your product and the people you serve should stay your top priority.
And lastly, remember that a name can be changed. Companies do it all the time. Rebranding is commonplace, and sometimes it's easier to change a name and dump any ill will built up than it is to stick with a name isn't working.