Naming Your Business: Gazelle Index Best Tips

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Different Naming Philosophies:

  • A business name should be clear and informative and reflect the products or services you provide; examples include General Motors Corporation and United Parcel Service.
  • The name does not matter. What really matters is the strength of the product or service behind it and the marketing effort that promotes it; examples include Hewlett Packard, Dell Computer and Jenny Pruitt.
  • A business name should be a hybrid, that is it should identify the product and service area by way of a catchy and memorable syllables; Netflix, Microsoft.
  • A business name should be catchy and memorable and stir the imagination without necessarily having any logical meaning or direct link to the product or service; examples include Amazon.com, Google, Yahoo and Groupon.

Based on the illustrations provided above, there is ample reason to agree with either philosophy. However, conditions exist today that are radically different from those of past generations, when companies emerged like UPS, Hewlett Packard, and even Microsoft.

Today, even storefront businesses must fight for presence on a fragmented web. They must advertise their products or services, promote their brand via social media or at a minimum establish their company’s credibility and credentials.

This business necessity means that naming has taken on added importance. Obviously, a good name is useless unless it is backed by a product or service of distinctive price and/or quality. But I assume the reader knows that most consumers are not satisfied with just a name.

In the same way, most consumers are driven to buy products whose names and brands convey distinctive quality and satisfaction. In short, names matter because in a fragmented market such as exists today, names help promote brand identity.

We will prove this by having you answer a question – we will ask you to identify a brand name that has not been in the market place for almost two decades. Yet, 80% of readers regardless of age, will answer correctly.

Here is the question. The name “Primetime” is most often associated with what business brand?

  1. The evening network news
  2.  The 9:00 pm programming on television
  3. Deon Saunders
  4. MMA Telecast

Of course, Deon Saunders! So ask yourself, would his marketing have been as successful had he used his own name instead? You might respond that Michael Jordan used, “Jordan”. That is correct, but Jordan was also the best player in the history of his sport.

Deon was an incredible athlete, in fact one of the best in the sport of football, but he was not “the best” ever. Nevertheless through skillful branding and naming, he built arguably the most recognized brand in football and one of the most in American business. Naming matters!

Listed below are the Gazelle Index’s eight best Naming Tips

  • One: Stick with philosophies (3) or (4) above to name your business. Forget about (1) or (2). They belong to the age of the mule and buggy.
  • Two: Find a name to which you can attach the top level domain .com. Yes, it is true that the governing convention of the internet is about to make many new top level domains available. However, the web is already incredibly fragmented, so unless you have lots of money to devote to marketing and advertising, forget it.  Consider this, .net is a well-established top level domain and yet very few people can name five .net companies.
  • Three: Remember, the best names have two syllables–Yahoo, Google. Also, they usually have no meaning that is related to the product or service. Often, they have no meaning at all.
  • Four: To find an appropriate name, scan reference books and dictionaries diligently. Try books in engineering or sciences. Identify a list of names that you like, even if they are unrelated to your products or services.
  • Five: Create a short-list by running the names by friends and colleagues or even better, people you know in the media.
  • Six: Go to a domain registration site such as register.com, yahoo.com or others. See if your name is eligible for a dot com extension.
  • Seven: If so, great, reserve it. If not keep searching or do a variation of the name by changing a syllable.
  • Eight: The last step is to trademark your name.

Best wishes and go to it!

Last modified: July 16, 2012

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