Entries Tagged as 'Naming Ideas'

Adding a Personal Touch to Business Naming.

One problem with adopting a person’s name as a business name is that there’s little legal protection available. Oh, there may be some based upon longevity and intent, but it’s chancy. Also, it may not be that unique.

But personal names are the basis for this business naming idea.

There are naming customs that permeate certain cultures that can be adapted to non-name words to produce compelling company or product names.

Some examples of unique two-part company names

Some examples of unique two-part company names

The most famous of these is McNuggets. But be careful in adopting “Mc” because McDonald’s will probably come at you with a cease and desist order. They have pleaded and won in the U. S. court system that they “own” “Mc”-whatever.

h, but look at the other possibilities: Mac, O’, Van, von, D’, Di, De, Del, Bel, San, La, and L’. And I’m sure there are others as well. Just hook them up with descriptive nouns like (O’Cedar, MacFrugal).

It’s also worth exploring making up new lead-ins as if you were on staff at Paramount Studios dreaming up character names for the next Star Trek series: (RelTran, B’Yond, G’Wizz, G’Dar). 

When Naming a Brand, Think Action First.

Action words make for better business names.

So I recommend exploring participles (adjectives that are verb-like in form, usually ending in “ing”, “ed”, “en” or “t”) to produce vital, active name candidates.

Action wins

Both verbs and participles provide action-based words that are better remembered and embraced by constituents. People actually like and appreciate the sound and feel of them even when they don’t know why. Plus, this form is not used often for names.

Here are two structures using participles to impart action names: participle-preposition-noun (examples include Hooked on Phonics and Cooking for Health), and the reversed structure of noun-participle (Skills Abounding and Promise Keepers are examples). Also, you can sometimes substitute a participle for a noun to impart more vigor. Turning Point Consulting is more action-oriented than Turning Point Consultants.

Sorry if this entry began to sound like an English lesson, but after all, English is our weapon of choice. We need to know and utilize its power.

Synthetic Company Naming Suffixes And Prefixes

Almost all the suffixes and prefixes we use in English come from the Latin or Greek. But for business naming, I think we can invent our own suffixes and prefixes.

The key would be to make those new word parts familiar enough that they easily integrate with your word root. There are two approaches that are easy enough to implement

First you can incorporate suffixes and prefixes into names that are derived from common, pronounceable abbreviations:  Innovinc, Banco, Diddibid, Rig-etal, Ficafast, Asaptrax are examples.

Second, try finding letter groups whose sound suggests their meaning, i.e., onomatopoeia, and use them in place of traditional suffixes and prefixes. For instance, Buzzworthy, Crankout, Sunboost, Powoomph.

Some day soon I’ll compile lists of those two synthetic suffixes and prefixes and share them on this blog.

Why Limit Yourself to 26 Characters When Business Naming?

Why limit yourself to 26 characters when business naming?

Don't limit your naming opportunities: think numerals and symbols

Don't limit your naming opportunities: think numerals and symbols

Though hyphens are not good naming devices (they’re hard for folks to remember to use, and this is especially important for domain names), there are other characters and symbols that can be used when naming a company.

The most obvious would be numerals.

There are certain strings of numerals and characters with inherent meaning. For instance A1 or One A meaning top notch. Don’t forget that numerals can also be expressed in Roman form. So you might look at a name like Factor X or Alpha III.

Number sequences can also be familiar expressions favorable to a company’s identity. Everyone is familiar with 101 and 123 meaning easy. Other combinations, though not as familiar, can be explored. The main attribute of a number sequence is whether or not it can be remembered easily.

As we’ve seen on the web, the use of the “at” sign (@) can be incorporated into a name. So can the ampersand (&), the pound sign (#) and of course the plus sign (+).

In the same manner as numerals, individual characters such as the “A” in “A1” can be used in names. Other examples include JohnnyO, Double-D, Factor-X, Blog-E.

So as you build your name candidate list, look beyond the 26 characters of our alphabet to embrace familiar symbols and numbers.

Business Naming Can be Colorful

Consider incorporating the name of a color in your corporate name.

Often reciting the name of a color will produce an emotional response almost as strong as viewing the color itself. Thus, Red Bull, Greenway, Yellow Book convey energy, nature and bright respectively even in a radio commercial.

But there are a couple of caveats:

First, different colors may evoke different emotional responses in different cultures. For instance, white is a color linked with death in the China.

Second, the color (word) should be hooked up to an active word so that the combination name will be unique as well as memorable.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, certain colors have strong associations, so it’s wise to know what they are before adopting a color name in your company name.. Here’s a rudimentary list of primary associations:

Red evokes aggressiveness, passion, strength, vitality.
Pink suggests femininity, innocence, softness, health
Orange means fun, cheeriness, warm exuberance.
Green evokes tranquility, health, freshness, and can also represent money.
Blue says authority, dignity, security, faithfulness and security. Plus it is universally popular.
Yellow is cheerful and easygoing. It stimulates creative and intellectual energy.
Purple represents sophistication, spirituality, costliness, royalty and mystery. It’s upscale.
Brown suggests utility, earthiness, woodsiness and subtle richness
White evokes purity, truthfulness and refinement
Gray says somberness, authority, practicality and a corporate mentality.
Black reminds us of seriousness, boldness, strength and somberness.

And don’t forget the many naming opportunities shades and variations of major color groups can produce.

Tacking for Company Names Isn’t Tacky At All

Some business naming techniques have a long history, yet still manage to produce fresh name candidates.

Tack a Suffix to a Root Word for Unique but Relevant Names

Tack a Suffix to a Root Word for Unique but Relevant Names

The activity of “tacking” is one of them.

One form of tacking adds an appropriate but unexpected suffix to a descriptive root word. Ideatrics, Visioneering, Profitology, Travelocity and Webolution are examples of corporate names created by suffix tacking. For this technique to work effectively, the first word part should be familiar and connote the meaning or arena in which the company plays. The suffix must also “fit”, i.e., help reinforce the meaning, and add uniqueness.

For instance, Ideatrics is a good name for the company that adopted it – they help surgeons design and produce specialized surgical instruments. Thus, the “atrics” suffix (meaning medical treatment) puts the company in the medical field. And coupled with “idea” somewhat defines the business an unique and innovative. Each of the examples above follow this same pattern.

Note that tacking prefixes can perform the same duty but not usually with the panache as suffixes.

So use a definitive list of suffixes as you compile your list of name candidates. You can find such a list at this naming resource.

Business Naming By Truncating Words

Business naming using coined words probably give you the best chance of getting your corporate name trademarked

Several examples of truncated names

Several examples of truncated names

There are several techniques for creating coined names. One of those methods is called truncating. You take parts of two words, preferably from words relevant to the subject being named, and combine them into one word.

Here are a couple of examples: Webolution (web and revolution), and Champale (champagne and ale). In both those examples note that one of the words is used in its entirety while the other is truncated. You may also truncate both words as Washington Mutual attempted to do with the nickname, WaMu.

(Editorial aside: Though I doubt if the WaMu name had anything to do with the bank’s downfall, I really thought adopting WaMu was a terrible strategic mistake for a bank. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable banking at WaMu even if I felt that most banks were too stodgy. Washington Mutual just went too far over that line for me.)

When you abut two words in their entirety, that’s not truncating it’s just combining them. Combining is another technique which is certainly viable and provides many more naming candidates as well.

I’ll write more about coined names in future naming tip posts.

Company Naming with Phonics

One way to expand your corporate name candidate list – and possibly find a winner – is to look at some of the basic words you’ve introduced into the list that can be spelled differently. Mostly these will be the descriptive words that always creep into the lists even if you’re not planning to develop a descriptive name. (it’s a good idea not to develop descriptive names as I discussed in the blog, Business Naming with Descriptive Words: a Bad Idea.) However, they will slip in.)

Examples of five variations on a theme

Examples of five variations on a theme

Some of those words can be spelled alternatively or phonically.

Thus if you were naming a naming agency, you might explore “Knames”, “Gnames”, “Naims”, “Naymes” and “Naimz”.

There is a caution in that some candidates are really homonyms that could become confusing. (Homonyms are words pronounced the same way but spelled differently. (feet, feat, fete).

In addition, you may run into legal hassles if someone in your trademark classification has trademarked a name containing the more common spelled word. If the courts were to decide your variation led to confusion in the marketplace, you would probably have to change your name.

A thorough trademark search for variations before adopting a name is always a good idea.

Business Naming Can Be Possessive

Adopting a possessive company name such as Bob’s Vital Signs or Victoria’s Secret might be effective for some companies, but not for all.

Three unique possessive names

Three unique possessive names

A possessive name will connote a less formal, more friendly business – one delivering personal and responsive services. But it just doesn’t seem appropriate for a bank or a valve manufacturer or many other business types.

They certainly seem more appropriate for local service businesses. But therein lays the rub. You’ll find hundreds of businesses with possessive names in your local yellow pages. So to make your name unique, the second word, the object being possessed, should be unique. That will help you differentiate the business. (And it doesn’t hurt having the possessive be unique as well, even if it’s fictitious)

With this approach, even a world-wide business might be comfortable, even successful, with a possessive name. It certainly worked for Victoria’s Secret.

So look beyond a definition of your service/product category. If you’re a mechanic, think about something like Otto’s Motive.

Another variation: just use a one-word possessive without tacking on an object. But for this approach to work, the possessive must be really unique, as in the name I created for a local day spa, Molly Coddler’s.

Try Naming a Business with Reverse English

Business naming can be more productive when you have a great number of name candidates from which to choose.

The longer the list, the more diversity and creativity emerges – also the more points from which to diverge and thus add more candidates. Business naming is not a game of numbers, but the more candidates you have, the closer you come to a “perfect” name.

Here’s a way to increase the length of your list as well as provide two or three name candidates that might show up on your short list.

Just reverse the words - Signature Strategies becomes Stratigic Signatures

Just reverse the words - Signature Strategies becomes Strategic Signatures

Review your list looking for two-word candidates in the form of adjective-noun. Then reverse the two words.

Thus, “Strategic Innovations” becomes “Innovations Strategic”. “Medical Insights” becomes “Insights Medical”. “Proactive Solutions” – “Solutions Proactive”. “Legal Perspectives” – “Perspectives Legal”.

Not only is the idea retained, it’s presented in a unique way that makes it more memorable.

You can sometimes change the reversed noun into an adjective as well. The example I share here is my own company name, Signature Strategies. When I first reverse the two words we get “Strategies Signature”. Not very promising, even with punctuation. But by changing Strategies into an adjective we get Strategic Signatures. I could have lived with that if “Signature Strategies” had been unavailable to me.

Remember the key to effective business naming: “the more the merrier”.