The Ultimate Guide to Naming Your Business in the Digital Age

Originally posted on January 12, 2019 @ 6:20 am

Four hundred years ago, William Shakespeare inquired, “What’s in a name?” This question remains a defining one in the business industry.

Just like auditing a consultant, you have to audit your business to ensure that it has the best possible name for use in the real world and the online world. If you haven’t named your business yet, or if you’re considering rebranding to get better play online or with your customers, this guide will help walk you through the steps to creating a good name.

Brainstorm! Brainstorm! Brainstorm!

Every good name starts in the brain. More specifically, the non-judgmental brainstorm. Just start with a bunch of free association. What pops into your head when you think of your business? Write down everything, and never judge any of it. That’s not for right now. What’s for right now is coming up with every last possible idea for naming your venture.

Need a little bit more guidance? Here’s a few models for brainstorming ideas that might jumpstart the process for you.

  • Round Robin – The round robin approach is a method that involves bringing in the whole team to help. Maybe you don’t have a team yet, but that’s ok, bring in some friends! Just have everyone take turns submitting one name and write them all down. Then after about 10-15 minutes, take stock of what you’ve got, and do the process again, this time building from the group’s favorite names.
  • Mind Mapping – Mind mapping is a classic technique that involves creating visual connections between ideas. Ask yourself what your business does, and what its goals are. Ask who potential customers might be. What names connect with those concepts?
  • Steps from Point A to Point B – Think about your customer. They’re at Point A, which is knowing absolutely nothing about your business. Point B is them knowing everything they need to know about you and what your company does, or at the very least, they want to know more. What are the steps necessary to get them from Point A to Point B? What kind of names will help get them there? No name will be perfect, but some might lend themselves to better explanation than others.
  • Let’s Do the Opposite  – Pick a competitor, or even more extreme, imagine the farthest, most opposite thing you’d want customers to associate with your business. Then, work backward until you’re at a place that feels like what your business is. It sounds odd, but it can be a very useful tool that allows you to work backward and come up with a name that sings.
  • Music Time – Speaking of singing, having some musical accompaniment for your brain jam can help lubricate the thought process. is a great place to start.  

Test It and Vet It

Once you have several candidates for your business’ name, testing and vetting is the next stop.

There’s a number of ways you can test out your new name. Focus groups are a business world classic, and there’s plenty of ways to do them, both in the real world with a focus group company, or online. Depending on your budget, one might be superior to the other. Also, think about social media. Can your name be shortened, or made into a cool acronym that makes for easy tagging on Facebook or Instagram? Preparing that might seem silly, but social media is an enormous driver for many small businesses, and you don’t want to neglect it.

Once you’ve found a name that many people like, and feels good, it’s important to get in touch with a trademark search firm or a trademark attorney so you can ensure there’s not going to be any copyright issues with the use and deployment of your brand’s new name.

Make Mockups

Now, let’s say you’ve got your name. It’s time to create a few potential mockups for how that name will look on logos and other marketing materials.

This is a step that a lot of folks miss, and is an integral part of naming your business. A clever name might not be so clever if you can’t find a good way to visualize it. Another entire blog post could be devoted to logo design, so we won’t do that here, but it’s important not to neglect this step. If you just want to try a few logos out, see how your new name looks in print with some snazzy graphic design, 99 Designs is a great way to make this happen affordably.

Showcase Your Work

It’s time for the big reveal! All of the work you’ve done is about to pay off as you introduce your new business name to the world. Make sure to create catchy social media accounts that play off the name and capture the imagination of your audience. Be flexible and tuned into the way that people talk about your name.

After launch, do some research. Set up Google Alerts for your name, and do the occasional Twitter and Facebook search for possible mentions that may have gone untagged. You’ve created a moniker for yourself, and it pays to see how your audience is responding to it.

Web Upon provides a full suite of digital marketing services, and we’re always available to talk and brainstorm ways to help you take your brand to the next level. Contact us, and see where your business can go next!