What’s In a Name? 3 Questions for Creating a Business, Product, or Service Name that Sticks & Sells

My oldest daughter asked me to help her brainstorm some names for a business her and a friend are launching. Being the marketing-minded Dad that I am I quickly launched into a marketing-101 lesson (why do I do this?). Hey, I’m passionate about my daughter’s success and avoiding the mistakes so many new launches make.

Her initial question tipped me to the primary mistake many make, “Hey, Dad can you help L and I come up with a ‘cute’ name for our new business?”

I’m all for creative biz names and taglines (“cute” not so often). But there’s not as much buzz potential in “cute” and creative as many people think. It’s possible, if you’ve built a brand identity over time such as the big-dog brands have (think Apple, Nike, Starbucks, Ford, Coke, Pepsi, etc.). Or if you’re a recognized personal brand – meaning your name is front-of-mind in a particular niche or with a product.

My daughter’s request (which I’m more than happy to assist with by the way…and which I’ve already opened an Evernote file to collect ideas in) prompted my thinking about naming businesses, new product and service lines, etc.

3 questions to ask when naming a business, product, or service if you want it to stick & sell.

1) What are its benefits?

You want to grab people’s attention. And a top way to do that is benefits. Make sure your name at least suggests a solution to a problem. Invest time to brainstorm as many benefits as you can think of that your product or service delivers (why do people use “it”, what will they solve, feel, experience when they use “it”, etc.) Don’t diss any you think of. Add them to your list. There’s a choice-name in there somewhere.

2) Does Google “love” it?

Do a Google search on your product/service idea. Research the search results for others doing what you want to do or promote. First, see how many search results are returned. High search numbers only tell one side of the story (there’s certainly more science to this than one point in a blog post can cover). Bottom line: is Google showing your idea any “love” at all (Google-love is huge)? Are people looking for solutions to any problem your product/service solves?

3) Will we expand our product line?

Businesses and service providers usually discover more ideas after the initial one that gets the ball rolling. And if any of those have strong potential it’s important to make sure the name you choose has some bounce and flex. Think beyond one product or service line. If your first product/service is your big ticket then by all means stay with a name that promotes the heck out of the benefits it delivers. Keep in mind you are probably in a broader niche than you think. That’s the value of doing your Google research – who else and what else is out there…and what are they into?

Answer these 3 questions for starters. There’s more for sure. But I believe you’ll find these opening the floodgates wide enough to land on a good list of name potentials.

And remember – don’t over-think it. Ready…Fire…Aim, baby!


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