Starting a business takes a lot of work. From clearing legal hurdles to setting up a quality tech stack, there are a lot of things entrepreneurs have on their plate, making it easy to under-prioritize certain things. Something like naming a product or your business may feel small and insignificant. And yet, after you've finished all your other tasks, those brand names will still be plastered on your packaging, letterhead, and everything else associated with your company.
If you’re launching a business or a new product line, you want to take the naming process seriously. Here are a few steps to help you come up with the best brand name every time.
1. Start With Your Branding Strategy
It's tempting to dive right into the creative process and go with your gut when choosing a name. But you want to approach the naming process with more structure than that.
We're not saying you have to pick a dry or practical option. Sure, there are times when practicality should be the focus. At other times being fun or even downright funny might be the right call.
You can start to figure out what is appropriate for your situation by considering your branding strategy. What is the reason your brand exists? What are its mission and vision? Do you have a brand style guide that defines your voice, style, and tone?
These are key elements to review when considering a name and how it fits your larger business strategy. One needs to look no further than Amazon itself to find a brand name that perfectly fits a company's larger purpose.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos considered several names early on in his company’s history, including Awake.com, Bookmail.com, and Browse.com. The world’s richest man even bought the URL Relentless.com (which still redirects to Amazon, by the way).
But the final verdict wasn't any of the above. It was Amazon.com — a name that evokes massive geography and endless quantities, directly connecting to Amazon's nature as a global retailer.
2. Ask the Right Questions
Once you have your larger brand strategy in mind, it's time to narrow the playing field. Here are several questions you can ask yourself and your team (if you have one) to create reasonable boundaries before starting the creative stuff.
- Are your brand and your business the same? Will you give your brand and your business the same name, or will they be two different entities?
- Are you naming a specific or generic group of products? If you're naming a product or service, will the brand be for everything you make, or a particular category or range of items?
- What is your target audience, and what are their interests? The passions of your customers can be a great inspiration and a guiding light as you consider business names.
- What value does your brand provide to your customers? Often the way your company serves your customers can impact what you name it. Greyhound is an excellent example of a bus transportation company using a fast animal as a naming strategy.
- What other brands are successful around you? Consider the competition from the perspective of names. Are there any correlations between specific names and brand awareness and success? Are they short? Funny? Off-beat?
Alright, now that you’ve set the stage, it’s time for the creative part — brainstorming to create that perfect brand name.
3. Brainstorm Ideas
Once you have your business strategy in mind and ask the right questions, it's time to brainstorm different product or business name ideas. It's a good idea to come up with a list of at least four of five options before you commit to anything.
If you're struggling to get the creative juices flowing, there are many ways to get some momentum. If using a business name generator feels too random for you, there are more structured ways to be creative. Here are some common conventions for creating a good brand name:
- Mashups: Global tech company Garmin is a mashup of company founders Gary and Min.
- Acronyms: Think of famous brands like AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph Company), BMW (Bavarian Motor Works), and 3M (Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company).
- Stories, literature, and mythology: Palantir, the data-mining company founded by Peter Thiel, is somewhat controversially and (un)ironically named after a surveillance item from “The Lord of the Rings.”
- Changed spelling: Shopify is a name that closely resembles the retail drive behind the e-commerce giant.
- A foreign language version of a word: American clothing retailer Anthropologie is the French version of the scientific word anthropology.
- Concept reference: Amazon and Greyhound are examples of this. And Bubble's brand name was the result of a process that ultimately was a nod to the concept of "tech bubble," which our founders hoped to one day "burst" with their no-code web app and website builder platform.
There are many other ways to develop ideas, from visualization and word association to rhymes, mind maps, and even free writing. Don't be afraid to think outside of the box.
Once you come up with a list, you can consider how each name works with your brand strategy, target audience, and so on.
4. Avoid Common Mistakes
As a final note, there are several common naming mistakes that you want to avoid whenever possible. For instance, names that are difficult to spell can work against you. So can names that have absolutely no association with your business. (Although companies like Apple and Google prove this isn't always the case.)
Make sure that no one else is using the name you're considering and that the domain name is available. You can even use a domain name generator to help. It's also easy to choose a name that currently fits your business or products. If you want to expand your business in the future, though, be careful not to choose a name that limits that potential.
If you have customers or anyone you can trust to give honest feedback, consider presenting your top names to them. See what they think of them, both written down and spoken out loud.
Finding the Best Brand Names
There are many ways to come up with a brand name. And the truth is, if you're thoughtful about choosing a moniker for your business or product, you can make many different kinds of names work. Don't get too caught up with over-analyzing your choices.
Instead, focus on choosing an option that aligns with your branding strategy, that resonates with your customer interests, that isn't already taken by someone else, and so on. If you can do that, you'll end up with a title that you can proudly and perpetually use to your advantage as your company grows both now and in the future.
Bubble is a leader in the no-code movement. Bubble offers a powerful point-and-click web editor and cloud hosting platform that allows users to build fully customizable web applications and workflows, ranging from simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, SaaS products, and more.
Millions of users are building and launching businesses on Bubble — many have gone on to participate in top accelerator programs, such as Y Combinator, and even raised $365M in venture funding. Bubble is more than just a product. We are a strong community of builders and entrepreneurs who are united by the belief that everyone should be able to create technology.