You’ve decided to set up a business. You NEED a name that sticks in the mind of your target market. Trouble is, it seems that all the catchy unique brand names are already taken.
Choosing an attractive AND unique business name needn’t require the expensive skills of a branding agency. All you need is a little creativity, plenty of research and this five-step strategy.
The many roles a unique business name can play
Before we dig into the six steps for coming up with your unique business name ideas, let’s first understand why, exactly, it’s so important to get this part of your company setup right the first time around.
Choosing a unique brand name should…
- Help to define you from the competition
- Communicate your values
- Reflect your brand personality
- Describe what your business does (albeit very briefly!)
- Connect with your audience – talking in ‘their language’
- Ensure that you’re remembered
So that’s the WHY of choosing a unique name for your brand, now let’s move onto the HOW.
Five strategic steps: From brainstorm to fully-formed brand name
- Start with your target market
Before you even think about unique names for your business, you need to take a moment to weigh up your target market. Consider the language they use in their day to day – are they formal or informal – young or old? What are the core problems that they have that you resolve? What are their worries, cares and concerns? Answering these questions should help you understand whether you should choose an explicit unique business name which explains what you do, or whether a more creative brand name might be the way to go. We explore this further in step four…
- Consider your competitors
Next, look at those you’re competing with – both businesses of the same size, as well as market leaders. This can provide you with inspiration and insight into your market.
- Sit down and create a mind-map
Now it’s time to set about writing. Start with a mind-map created from all the words, terms and concepts associated with your business. Place a ‘?’ in the centre, with branches outwards that include the products or services that you provide; from these create clusters of words that include all the emotions, descriptive words and experiences associated with each product or service.
- A creative, unique business name versus a simpler, more explicit brand name
If you do choose to take the creative route with your business name a simple approach could be a two-word brand name with a proceeding adjective (a describing word). When done well, not only does this create a unique business name, it can also be deeply memorable. Just like – Big Spaceship, Concrete Elephant, Red Antler and Salted Stone.
All of these are business names for brand and digital agencies, which is no coincidence. These businesses clearly now how to communicate and be remembered (after all, this is basically what they do in their day to day jobs).
For your business, you could also choose to take a half-way approach, using an interesting adjective in front of a word that is associated with your product, service or industry. Going with this approach doesn’t mean that you can’t create a unique company name with meaning. It just means that your industry-related word will be made all the more impactful because of the adjective that comes before it.
- Set to work on a list of (at least) ten unique brand namesDon’t commit yourself to a unique business name before you’ve created a list of at least ten possibilities. You should then ask friends, family, colleagues and business contacts for their thoughts on the unique business names you’ve created.
Can’t get around your writers’ block for unique company names?
If you’ve followed the tips in this article and can’t move past staring blankly at a blank screen (save for the cursor blinking at you), fear not.
It just so happens that we’re in the business of unique companies names and unique names for shops. Not only that, but our packages include the brand name, matching domain and a logo.
Explore our website by category – our unique company names fall under the industries of: Health & Beauty; Art & Design; Business & Finance; Travel & Construction; Entertainment; and Tech & Web.
Unique business name ideas to AVOID at all costs
So far, we’ve filled you in on our expert To Do’s for landing upon an inspired, unique brand name. Now, before we leave you to your brand name brainstorming, we want to explain three MASSIVE mistakes when it comes to naming your business.
- Don’t use your own name unless you own (or are about to start) a ‘personal’ business
A ‘personal’ business is one that revolves around you delivering your services (such as a mobile hairdresser, web designer or copywriter).
For all other forms of businesses, using a name can make the business sound ‘small’. It can also be difficult to work your name into a unique brand name that’s memorable. Even the biggest brands in the world that have opted for this approach could be accused of having forgettable business names (such as Morgan and Stanley; Johnson & Johnson and PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) LLP.)
- Listening to other unique business name guides and using a map
Yup – there are more business name guides out there than we care to count that recommend using a map to randomly pick out a city, state or region. This really isn’t helpful, not least because it could confuse your target market, as well as the search engines when you attempt to rank your website for an area that’s different to your name.
However, on the flip side, you should also think twice about including your hometown/city in the name. If you expand in the future, you’ll have to climb a mammoth re-branding mountain.
- Choosing a unique company name that’s too ‘out there’
Let’s think about the most valuable brand names in the world, such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Toyota and Louise Vuitton – some of the biggest brands in the world have company names that are in no way associated with what they do.
Clearly then, going for a creative approach for unique business names can be an effective approach, but it’s worth remembering that there are big budgets behind these billion-dollar companies. They have HUGE budgets to spend to promote their business, with large scale marketing campaigns that ensure their target market remembers their name and correctly associates it with what they do.
Beyond the brand name – Characteristics of a good domain
After you’ve chosen your unique business name, it’ll be time to purchase the domain for your website. Here are our simple tips for getting this step right.
- Are easy to pronounce
- Are easy to spell
- Use a Top-Level Domain (TLD) – such as .com
- Avoid being too similar to other websites (especially your competitors)
- Avoid using hyphens and numbers – which can cause confusion
- Are short (generally website addresses that are as short as possible are preferable, however the domain should always reflect your business name)
Need more? For an in-depth overview of buying a solid domain name for your brand, head here: Benefits of a Short Domain Name for Business.