What types of words make the best company names?
When looking for a business name that has the potential to become a distinctive brand name, you know you should avoid blandly descriptive names. And you know that you shouldn’t copy the latest me-too trend. You also know when it comes to brandability, unique synthetic names - names that are made up - are the best company names to go for.
But where do you start? We’ve put together some tips that will help you to arrive at a name that is right for your brand objectives.
What are the best brand names for cutting edge, hi-tec, disruptive game-changers?
- You have the freedom to be totally abstract, and synthetic. Your audience might even expect it.
- Keep your name short, so it sits nicely under an on-screen icon.
- Consider phonosemantics (what words sound like and what those songs mean). Using words in which ‘hard’ or ‘sharp’ letters dominate is good - letters like V, K, Z, T, C sound and feel clinical and accurate. But letters like M, N, W, or F are softer and suggest more human qualities.
- Consider social media handles too - it would be great if your name was unused on any platform.
- You could also surprise your audience by being counterintuitive, and opting for a more traditional-sounding name.
- If you want credibility - or funding - you’ll want to avoid silly randomness and fashionable misspellings.
- Avoid naming your product - that might change. Instead, focus on an attitude, style or approach that never will.
Tip: Break some rules ...but not all of them.
What types of business names would suit consultants, advisers, and budding corporates?
- You’ll want to avoid names that are too quirky. If you want to reassure your audience that you are credible, thoughtful and trustworthy, your name should reflect that.
- Your name will have gravitas if you can hint at concepts like intelligence, or use elements of familiar business-like words, or adopt a classic Latinate name structure.
- Words that mimic the adjective word style could work well, because they suggest action, cause and effect …and suggest that you have a way of doing things that is all yours.
- Words with a hint of tradition, heritage or history are good because they suggest both longevity and stability.
Tip: Your name should really mean business.
What would make great company names for creatives, communicators and style-led businesses?
- Your audience is likely to be familiar with what’s fashionable and contemporary …but it will also notice when you blindly follow a trend, or try too hard.
- Choosing a name that’s unique could be a real bonus if you want to register your name as a trademark; abstract or synthetic names are easier to protect.
- Don’t be too rational: it’s better to choose a name that ‘feels’ right than one that ‘means’ something.
- Think about your core values or drivers. Are you all about effortless elegance? Influenced by Italian style? A utilitarian innovator at heart? Whatever it is, your name should reflect the essence of your creativity.
Tip: Don’t hide your influences or passions.
What would work for house builders, property developers, realtors or architects?
- You’re in a crowded market, with lots of competition - and most of your competitors have literal, descriptive names that spell everything out. So choosing a more abstract name will help you to stand out, be remembered and get found.
- Don’t use your own name as a business name - people want to deal with a business, not an individual. And it might limit your expansion plans if things take off.
- Avoid specifics - you might specialise in roofing today - but you’ll be stuck if you move into attic extensions or drainage down the line.
- Be vague about geography - although you deal in property, and focus on the local area, it will limit your scope if you’re too specific. Going for a name that sound like a place or location - but doesn’t actually exist - is a better bet.
Tip: Whatever you do, don’t blend in.
What about company names for food makers, food sellers, restaurateurs and the generally hospitable?
- Food and drink is an emotional business - it’s about subjective qualities, not objective facts and features. So your name should be less about ‘explaining’ and more about setting a tone.
- We associate eating and drinking with family and friends - so your name should be approachable, likeable and human: not sharp and corporate.
- If you want to make people feel comforted and relaxed, you might consider a name that feels familiar, and exudes history or heritage.
- If you’re more about fun and informality, then your name could simply make people smile.
- You’re in a sector in which business names are often based on owner’s names, items from the menu or towns in exotic lands. So you’ll really stand out if you buck the trends and avoid the obvious choices.
Tip: Set a tone, and avoid the cliché.
How about scientific, clinical, research or pharmaceutical businesses?
- Business names can convey a lot about an organisation without being literal. So avoid dictionary words, and try incorporating elements of appropriate words (called morphemes). For example, a name that starts with the morpheme ‘Acu-‘ can suggest accuracy or precision. Using the morpheme ‘spect-‘ can suggest perspective, analysis, or vision.
- Your audience will be used to words and names that sound unusual or have unusual spellings - so you have some leeway to choose an ‘unusual’ business name. But take care that you don’t infer certain qualities or specialisms by adopting an unusual spelling or word structure that’s already used by competitors.
- The desire to protect intellectual property that results from scientific or clinical research has led businesses to register thousands of business names as trademarks - so take care to run searches to ensure that there are no conflicts with your chosen name.
Tip: Take care to check for uniqueness.
These are just a few example market sectors, and you'll find hundreds of available brand names by clicking on the banner below: