Naming a start-up can be an exciting but equally a very challenging task. Depending on the company size and the naming brief, help from a professional naming team can bring the long term benefits of a great brand great name. An unforgettable name saves on marketing costs and can be that initial bridge to establish an emotional connection. Emotion is one of the ways through which humans memorize easier, it’s a trigger for curiosity and long-term memorability.
Here are some steps that you can follow to come up with a name for your start-up if professional help is not within easy reach yet:
1. Dig into the naming trends of the industry you target and think outside the box. Perhaps the best strategy in a tech sector over saturated with names formed artificially with suffixes and prefixes or letter removals would be to come up with a very human approach. Think of names that tell a story, phasal names, even if the final result is longer that you originally hoped for or it has a few words instead of one. As long as the name is easy to pronounce and has some linguistic flexibility (ability to be verbalised in various contexts, thing “google it!”) this can be a great choice.
2. Brainstorm words, phrases, and concepts that describe your startup’s purpose, values, and products or services. Try to come up with as many ideas as possible and write them down. AI based business name generator tools like Namelix can be helpful, but they open up so many threads of thinking that sometimes they make the whole process even more complex. Narrow down your search to a list of potential names while researching to see if they are already being used by other companies or if they are trademarked. Some ideas on how to do this are below.
3. Check the availability of the domain name and social media handles for the names you’re considering. Having a consistent brand name across all platforms can help your start-up with its SEO and general online presence. Platforms like Namechk.com can help but sometimes searching on domain name registrars directly can be more efficient – when you have a winner, you can secure it.
Go to a domain registrar website or a domain name search tool, such as GoDaddy, Namecheap, or Domain.com. Some domain registrars offer high value packs that include hosting for your website which can be an affordable solution to start with if the website is basic a presentation one and not a complex platform.
4. In parallel with the domain availability, check to see if they are already being used by other companies similar to yours or if they are trademarked. Trademark infringement can lead to legal issues and costly lawsuits, so it is crucial to do thorough research and check the availability of the name before finalizing it.
Avoid generic or descriptive terms that are commonly used in your industry. These terms may not be eligible for trademark registration, making it difficult to protect your brand. You can use the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) website to search for existing trademarks and once you have confirmed that the trademark is available, you can create a trademark application on the UK IPO website. The application will ask for details such as your name, address, and the goods or services that the trademark will cover. The basic fee for filing a trademark application in the UK starts at £170 for online applications, but if you want to register the same trademark for multiple classes of goods or services, there is an additional fee of £50 for each additional class.
Consider hiring a trademark attorney who can help you conduct a more comprehensive search for potential trademark conflicts and advise you on whether the name is available for registration in UK, Europe, USA and beyond. At Onomatopy, we have a trademark partner who has extensive experience and has worked with top global brands to secure their IP assets. We always do pre-checks before we propose any brand name, it’s part of our process.
5. Don’t underestimate the cultural and linguistic checks: test your short list of names with your target audience in terms if meaning, pronunciation and memorability and get feedback. This will help you understand how your potential customers perceive your brand name and if the name resonates with them. Use this feedback to refine your list further.
6. Scalability: Finally, it is important to choose a name that can scale with the company’s growth and expansion plans. A name that is too narrow or specific to a particular product or service can limit the company’s future growth and make it difficult to expand into new markets or product lines.
When launching a company in multiple countries or regions, it is essential to ensure that the chosen name does not have any cultural or linguistic connotations that could be perceived negatively in other countries. This requires extensive research and consultation with experts in the region. So make sure you conduct a basic profanity check which naming professionals usually do with the help of linguists or with specific digital tools.
At Onomatopy, we can help you develop the perfect brand name that ticks all these boxes and we create brands identities that are unique and align with your business goals. A name needs to be timeless, empathetic, and effective and have the capacity to create the right set of associations. This will help your company stand out, grow strong and resonate with customers. We also develop comprehensible visual platforms from logo design to website and office environment design in partnership with a highly talented team.
Written by Alina Chirvase, Senior Brand Strategist at Onomatopy. Get in touch.