Why it pays to avoid names with an obvious ‘meaning’

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When it comes to company names, 'meaning' is misunderstood

When naming a business, it’s tempting to choose a name that ‘means’ something.

But what does ‘meaning' mean?

It certainly doesn’t mean ‘literal’ or ‘descriptive’. 

3 compelling reasons why you should avoid a literal, descriptive name

A descriptive name will make your company invisible. Whatever industry you’re in, getting attention is hard enough without naming your business with words commonly used by competitors. Having the bravery to stand out will pay dividends in the long run. 

A sector-specific name paints your business into a corner. Nobody knows how their business will develop in the future, so if you name your business with an accurate description of what it does today, you might find that it soon goes out of date. Keeping the name open or even vague will give you wriggle room later, when your business changes direction.  

A keyword-derived name makes you hard to find online. If your company name is created from dictionary words, think about the kinds of results you might get in a Google search when you use those words. It’s not good or useful. A distinctive name with a no-compromise .com domain will usually get you on to page 1 for a branded search, right from the get-go.

Unique company names show us what ‘meaning’ really means

Names without an obvious ‘meaning’ have been in the mainstream for decades. Think about global brands like Häagen-Dazs, Accenture, Kodak, Sony, Google, and countless others. These companies had names that started out ‘meaningless’. But, over time, their reputations for certain types of products and services grew, and customers understood what the companies stood for. Their names now mean something.

When we think of Sony, we don’t ask, “What does the word Sony mean?”. We don’t need to, because we know that Sony stands for quality consumer electronics, movies, music, and other things. 

In other words, originally ‘meaningless’ company names become brands when meaning is attached to their names. They mean ‘quality electronics’, or ’speedy service’ or ‘amazing tech’.

So don’t get hung up on what your new company name means. Its meaning will develop as your business develops, and your name becomes a brand name.

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