At BrightBox, we often treat companies like individuals in that they have personalities, activities and goals. If you are a new entrepreneur, you are in many ways raising a baby. Babies take time to grow and require nurturing to become strong and successful.

One of the best ways to give your baby an advantage in building up its personality and helping it become a successful person is to choose a good name. Brands with poor names never get into the consumer’s mind because a bad name is an unnatural fit for a specific category. If you were selling a sprinkler system, you wouldn’t want to call your top line product “the Torch.” Rather, a name should represent the product.

Nike is the Greek word for victory. What does Nike make? Athletic shoes and other sport-related items.

H&R Block is a surname followed by the simplest and most predictable geometric shape. What do they give you? Even, dependable, rock-solid accounting.

Microsoft sounds like small, effective software. What does Microsoft make? Small, effective software.

Budweiser sounds like a pal (“buddy”, “wiseguy”). What does Budweiser make? A beer we can drink with our buddies.

Starbucks sounds like money that can only be used by rich people. What does Starbucks give you? A status symbol cup of coffee.

Your name should help brand you. It should use scenery to play on emotion and secure a concept in the mind of your consumer. To accomplish that, consider these suggestions:

#1 BE BRIEF

Using a long slogan can be OK if you insert plenty of emotion into the idea of your business. Slogans are the statements you use when someone asks you what you do. However, your name should be easy to say. A name is a tag. It has to imply plenty while maintaining brevity. Stick to two syllables or less.

#2 ALLITERATE

Every language has a natural flow to it. If you speak English (I presume you do), try this exercise.

Say BrightBox ten times fast.

IlluminatedBox ten times fast.

Notice the difference?

The meanings of these names are the same, but the length and alliteration work together to make the second name awful. BrightBox is able to show that we know Branding merely by choosing a respectable, easily remembered name. The B’s at the beginning of each word that makes up the term are easily stated.

Don’t make it hard on your customers. Be easily referenced.

#3 RHYME

Not every company has to follow every suggestion in choosing a brand name. However, rhyming is a fast way to be remembered. Learning song lyrics is almost always easier than memorizing quotations and poetry because a song has a rhythm and thyme that are easy to learn and repeat. Spice up the lyrical aspects of your brand name as to be music to the ears of your market.

#4 UNIQUENESS

There are two incredibly good reasons to strive for uniqueness in a name. First, you don’t want your company to run into a trademark or fame issue with some other group of the same name. Trademark cases are won by controlling a word in the consumer’s mind. Generic names are the terms with plenty of competition trying to control them. You should strive to pick lower hanging fruit by being one of a kind.
Second, if you and another company have the same name, you may run into trademark problems. These can get rather messy in the context of both law and comparative advertisements. Be nice to your legal status and your pocketbook. Stand out with your own title.

#5 YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO

A car dealership should never go by the name of “Southside Cyclists”, or worse, something that directly damages the reputation of the company, like “Lemon’s Autmobiles.” Give your consumer a reason to like you immediately upon hearing your name. You will be rewarded.