Could be it's a revolutionary invention, Or an ingenious mobile app. Or perhaps it's your debut novel…Now that you've finally nailed that final plot twist, got a working prototype product made, or hired a great app developer, you've only one niggling concern. Your wonderful creation remains nameless.
It's tempting to tell yourself not to worry, that something will come to you and anyway, it's only a name. Do NOT lull yourself into a false sense of security. Never underestimate the power of a name. Finding the perfect name gives you the best possible chance of a successful launch, followed by decent sales. A name that's not quite right, on the other hand, could mean abject failure.
Make sure to leave plenty of time and energy for coming up with the ideal name. You should follow a clear process, just like naming professionals do: Such as the one outlined in free ebook How to Develop the Perfect Name for Just About Anything.
Never be difficult
Don't you hate it when you come across a business or brand name you have no idea how to pronounce? You are likely to find yourself avoiding mentioning the name to others- afraid you'll get it wrong and embarrass yourself. Names that are difficult to spell or pronounce should be left well alone. A tricky or complicated name won't stick in people's minds. It will be near-impossible to recall. Difficult names also lack the all-important shareability factor we rely on today. They're unlikely to be repeated via traditional word of mouth or on social media.
Don't get too clever
A brand that's clever – ie. witty and whimsical – can be very appealing. However, when it comes to a name, it's possible to be too clever. Don't go for an obscure metaphor that only a handful of your target audience will “get” immediately, for instance. You don't want to be constantly having to explain what it is your name refers to. Likewise, avoid overly technical names. Clear, simple, short names are more appealing and memorable. Remember, it's okay to make up a brand new word to use as your name, just as it's acceptable to merge two words together. Tread carefully, though, if going down this route; be prepared to spend more on advertising.
Don't play it too safe
It doesn't matter what industry you're in, you don't want a name that's boring or generic – first impressions count, and you've got to stand out from the crowd. Let's say you are launching a business offering a rather dry solution – accounting or tax advice, for instance. This doesn't mean your company name should simply be your surname with “Accounting Service” tacked on the end. Other names to avoid are those that are bland or generic. Names containing overused terms like “pinnacle” or “peak” for example, aren't going to get you noticed. When following a good naming process, it's important the ideas you shortlist align perfectly with your brand, reflecting its personality. A good idea, when brainstorming names, is to keep coming back to what it is that makes your product, app, or book unique.
Availability is key
There are legal issues to consider when naming. You don't want to pick something that's already taken – not only will that negate your aim of being unique, you also run the risk of future legal trouble. There's nothing more sobering than a cease and desist letter. Keep legal implications in mind throughout the entire naming process.
Trademarks can be a tricky area to navigate. You can check with the United States Patent & Trademark Office to find out if your desired name is registered as a trademark. But bear in mind trademarks can be recognized by common or federal law, too. To ensure you have no issues, you should hire a specialized company or attorney to conduct a more comprehensive trademark search. Domain name availability is also a pertinent issue when naming. Before you get all excited about the great name you've come up with, ensure you've researched available URLs.
So, there you go. The most essential information required when naming a new product, app, book…or anything else. Remember, naming is more difficult than most people think. Don't let your name be an afterthought and don't let the wrong name scuttle your project. Invest the time and effort into finding a moniker that's nothing less than perfect.
Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Squadhelp–transforming the way names, logos, and taglines are developed by combining an affordable agency-level brainstorming process with the unmatched creativity of “the crowd.” His book How to Develop the Perfect Name for Just About Anything is available to StartUs readers for free.