I use a set of simple criteria while naming a brand. If you are starting a startup, the brand name of your key product often serves as the name of your company.
1. Unique Sounding
Your name is the handle by which everyone will come to remember you. Some names are so generic, holding on to them is like holding an eel. A generic name easily slips from the mind. On the other hand, an unique name is like an ergonomically designed handle. These are some of the unique sounding names that immediately come to my mind: 3M, RedBull, Minkle, Wipro and Tata. With so many software companies cramming for the ‘Info’ prefix or suffix, even Infosys and Infotech have lost their uniqueness. If you ever start a software company, for God’s sake, don’t call it ‘Info-something’.
2. Rolls on your tongue easily
If you have an unique name that is difficult to yell out loud, it is not going to stay in people’s mind very well. For example, who remembers Minnesota Minerals and Mining (3M‘s real name)? Vedanta is a regal sounding name. though it’s tougher on the tongue than Sterlite. Most of the people are comfortable using the later. GMR is more easy on the tongue than GVK. Coke is better than Coca cola. Accenture is also good (even though it is a bit too long, in the Business Consultancy business, it is one of the shortest names). Better still, can you come up with a name that people love to pronounce? Something that people use often just because they love the way it sounds, like Jack Nicholson?
3. Not too Lengthy
If the name is longish, you are going to have a tough time while designing a logo. Moreover, with a long name, people are going to coin an acronym instead of using the proper name of your business/brand. And there is a very good chance that the acronym will sound horrible. Companies like 3M, Coke, Mac, Cat, GE, GM, IBM, etc. have been extremely lucky.
4. Uses Proper Spelling
Don’t pick name like Klassic or Classik. It’s too much of hassle. All your customers searching for you in Google will land up at Classic Furniture, not Classik Furniture. By the way, Classik also fails the first filter given above. A name like Classik is worse than a name like, for example, Saravana Furniture!
5. Communicates what you do
If you have limitless advertisement budget, you can take a meaningless name like Accenture and spend cart loads of money so that everyone knows that they are Business Consultants. But if you are a small company or a start-up, you need a different strategy. The name of your business must describe what you do. Unfortunately, people end up naming their business after God, founder, dog or other such irrelevant thing. It’s such a waste of opportunity. From this point of view, Coca Cola, General Motors, General Electrics, International Business Machine, FaceBook, Microsoft and Google are good choices. Pepsi, Saravanabhava, Sangeetha, Starbucks, Accenture and Minkle are bad.
6. Communicates what your USP is
Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is the reason why your customers are doing business with you. If only you can find a name that communicates your USP, you can compromise on few other requirements. Accenture is a name that subliminally communicates superior capabilities. Lexus communicates luxury. And what do you think is the winning entry: RedBull, of course! If you are looking for names that don’t communicate the USP, they are there everywhere: IBM, Microsoft, FaceBook, Saravana Stores, GRT…
7. Dot-COM domain name is available
If you can get the .COM domain of your name, without prefixes or suffixes, that is an wonderful advantage in itself.
8. Satisfies numerological requirement
I am not into numerology and I can’t tell you much about this aspect. But if you believe in numerology, this won’t be a laughing matter for you.
Generate hundred names. Then, start short listing a hand full. Only then, fall in love with that one name that is just right for you.
By the way, there is also a 9th criteria: Common Sense. Don’t forget it.