The Name Game, Part 2

This week’s column is part two in a three part series on naming. Last week’s column contained advice on how to select a naming firm and today I’ll address the elements that go into creating a great name. Contrary to popular belief all of the great names have not already been taken. So, what are the components of a great name? While the answer varies a bit from industry to industry, the following rules of thumb should be kept in mind: 1. Keep it short: Short names are more memorable, easier to design around, more suitable for domain names and e-mail extensions, and possess a number of other advantages when contrasted with longer names. Another by-product of a short name is that it will likely be easier to spell. 2. Make it memorable: What good is a name that no one remembers? Your name should be distinctive and creative. Stop and think for a moment about names that you feel are great names, and you find that it is likely those catchy, memorable names that your brain will recall. 3. Your name should describe what you do: If your name is short, memorable, and descriptive you have hit the naming trifecta. Most of all, your name should not confuse the market about what you do. If you refer to the use of the name “Alfalfa” for a tax and financial planning firm described in last week’s column you’ll see what I mean. If you work for a company where you consistently have to explain who you are, and what you do, then you may want to reevaluate your choice of name. 4. Your name should be Internet friendly: The domain name exactly resembling your brand name should be available so that you can maintain continuity in your branding. If you find that your name is either not available, or that you have to shorten the name to make it work you may want to think twice. Additionally you should enter your domain name into all of the major search engines and if the returned search count is too high it is a good indicator that you will have a difficult time securing high search engine rankings and that there may be confusion in the market with regard to your name. 5. Color pallet: Make sure that the colors you choose work well across all mediums, and that the color is memorable while still being appropriate within your industry. Have your naming firm provide you with several different color pallets to work from so that you can make sure you end-up with something that is credible, works across mediums, and still has some “pop” to it. 6. Your name should be easy to design around: In a perfect world your name should consist of an integration of your name, logo and tagline into a single design concept. Okay, I can’t resist a little shameless promotion…Look at the N2growth logo (www.n2growth.com), and I think you’ll agree that it is short, creative, memorable, internet friendly, associative, descriptive, relevant and contains an integrated design. 7. Your name should be conflict free: Step one is to do an internet search to see if others are openly conducting business using your name. Step two is to check with the municipalities in which you will be doing business to make sure that someone has not registered the name, step three is to search the database at the United States Patent Office (www.uspto.gov), and step 4 is to do a linguistics check to make sure that you will not be offending other cultures with your name selection. There is little sense in selecting a name that is going to be fraught with future legal battles. If you make sure to follow the seven steps noted above it is likely that your name will be effective and have some staying power to boot.