There's only ONE rule you need to know about company naming

There's only ONE rule you need to know about company naming

If you ask two leading experts in any given field for their golden rules for success, you'll almost certainly get two opposing opinions. Or possibly three. And branding consultants are no different...

Company branding: conflicting views

One branding expert will tell you with great authority that successful brand names only come about as the result of rigorous research of the marketplace, the creation of comprehensive, categorised keyword lists, organised creative brainstorming sessions, a scored-based system for identifying shortlists, market testing, and so on. They can reel-off dozens of successful international brands which prove their case that a systematic approach and 'rational' business names are where it's at.

Our other imaginary branding consultant takes a different perspective. This expert reckons that successful brand names don't need to come from logic, and argues that a business name only becomes a brand when associations, products and values get attached to it over time. As long as it isn't off-putting, confusing, offensive, or conflicts with a competitor, it doesn't matter too much what a company is called. They can reel-off dozens of successful international brands which prove their case that seemingly random, 'irrational' business names are the way to go.

The 'right' way to name a business?

As branding experts ourselves, with over 40 years' combined experience of naming and branding businesses, we can categorically confirm that BOTH of these schmucks are wrong.

Rational, descriptive names can be terrible and ineffective, as can some left-field, creative company names. For every randomly-named market leader, there's another global superbrand whose name accurately describes the business.

Whatever the experts claim, there is no approach to naming a business that works for everyone. There’s certainly no style or category of name that will suit all businesses. And there's no process you can go through to guarantee a great brand name at the end of it.

So, what’s the ONE rule you need to know about business naming?

Yep, that's right ...there are NO rules. (Sorry.)

Whatever name you choose, and however you get there, you still need to make some basic checks (availability of the .com domain, potential clash with competitors, etc).

But that aside, follow your instincts. Random names can be great. And some descriptive names are too. A branding agency can help you if you can afford them, but it won’t always deliver. An online business name generator or a brainstorm over a beer with some mates might result in the cool company name you're looking for, if you’re lucky. And picking a name off a list of readymade business names 'just because you like it' is just as valid as any methodical process.

And don’t let so-called experts tell you any different.

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