5 reasons why invented business names are a good call
What kind of name do you want your business to have? Although there seem to be an infinite number of options open to you, there are really only a limited number of business name types (as shown in our infographic). And if you organise these options further, there a four main categories of name.
First, there's the functional name. This is the safe choice. Many people are comfortable with a sensible, functional name that describes what they do, or features their surname or their local town. Functional names are everywhere. Think Integrated Network Solutions; Ealing Motor Repairs; Clark Components; or Mary's Haircare and Beauty.
Second, there are experiential names that try to capture an emotion or highlight a benefit of using a business or product. Names like this might be Speedy Couriers; Safe & Sound Scaffolding; or Future Financial.
Third are evocative names that are neither descriptive nor experiential, but say something about a business by way of allusion or even metaphor. A popular example of this is when companies use animal-themed business names, drawing on symbolism and associations to imbue their brand with a set of qualities. Familiar names like Virgin, Apple or Firefox fit into this category.
Lastly, there's the invented business name. These are names that are not in any dictionary, and are either completely made-up words, an unusual mix of letters, or combinations of bits of words. Invented names start off sounding strange (some very strange indeed) but end up feeling normal and familiar - names like Google, Kodak, Accenture or Tesco are everywhere.
It’s this last category - invented names - that holds some of the most promising opportunities if you want your business name to become a memorable, successful brand.
Why invented business names are a better option
Invented business names are 'ownable'
Although you can't guarantee that a word is totally unique (it's a big world, and even if a word is unique today it might not be next year) it will be uncommon enough for the word to be associated with your business alone. It’s this ’ownership’ that is key to building a brand name.
Invented business names stand out and get remembered
There are hundreds of companies out there with very similar names ...even within the same sector or market. Choosing or creating an invented word for your business name means that it's highly unlikely that anybody nobody else is using it. So it will not only stand out from the crowd, but it will stick in people’s minds. It’s this differentiation that is key to effective branding.
Invented business names have longevity
Businesses change and adapt as they grow - adding services and products, moving locations and expanding scope. Sometimes they evolve into something completely unforeseen at their conception. (Nokia famously started life as a paper manufacturer and ended up making mobile phones.) An invented business name that is non-specific will never become irrelevant, misleading or out of date. Invented names allow the values and qualities - not the specific service, product or features - to become associated with the business and therefore become 'attached' to the brand name. And it’s this flexibility and longevity that's a powerful attribute of a brand name.
Invented business names are easier to trademark
If you want to protect your business name against misuse or appropriation by competitors, then you might consider registering your name as a trademark in the countries in which you operate. But registering a name as a trademark isn't easy. You can't register common descriptive words or generic words that are widely used in your industry. So Hercules Solutions can't be a trademark. You can't simply re-spell common words, either. Trendy Handbagz can also never be a trademark. If a name is invented, however, it avoids these issues so a trademark application is far more likely to be successful.
Invented business names are easier to find online
If you want your business to be visible online, you really need to make it easy for people using search engines, like Google or Bing. But a business name that uses common words (especially words that are industry-specific) is not easy to find. Your business will be invisible amongst the search results because using generic words in the search will inevitably produce results for all of your competitors. If your name is unique, or even just unusual, then you will increase your chances of being found.