The smart way to name your business  

Naming: don’t make the Classic error.

Posted on February 25, 2015 by Dave Clark

Classic business name errors -and how to avoid them

What your business is called is important. So when you’re starting a business, one of the first things you want to get right is the name.

You want your new name to sound and look credible. Ideally, you want to give people an idea of your business does, or at least suggest some of its qualities. You want to steer clear of fashionable gimmicks. And most of all, you don’t want to make a mistake (after all, you’re going to live with this name for years to come).

But it’s not easy - nothing that starts with a blank sheet of paper ever is. So the time-consuming sequence of head-scratching, note-making, brain-storming and day-dreaming starts.

It starts to get really difficult when all the names on your shortlist get rejected - either they just don’t feel right, your partner isn’t keen, or your friends aren’t convinced. For one reason or another, you’re getting nowhere.

It’s at this point that the temptation to turn to reassuring, business-like names starts to grow. These are timeless names that clearly suggest definite qualities: they’re the classics.

Classic business names don't make for good brand names

You know where you are with names like Kingfisher (…it’s a specialist at what it does, it’s elegant), Orion (…he’s the hunter; strong and smart) or Neptune (…it’s all about water). Or Optima (…it’s the best!), Advantage (…we can help you take it) and Contour (…it’s stylish!). Names like this never go out of fashion.

So Kingfisher Building Services, Orion Network Solutions and Optima Management are born.

They’re reassuring, safe and credible. They all sound like names that proper companies have. Unfortunately, familiarity is all they offer.

‘Classic’ business names like this don’t do anything overtly wrong - but they don’t help your business to get remembered, get found online or to make connections with your customers. These names are simply not brandable, so they’re never going to be effective brand names.

So when those reassuringly familiar names start appearing on your naming shortlist, cross them out - don’t let the fear of ‘getting it wrong’ lead to a classic error.


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