In 2009, I read a book which I dedicate much of my marketing success to. The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier.
It was in this book that I fully understood the psychology of brand messaging, positioning, and company personality. But moreover, The Brand Gap taught me the secret to naming a business. I even used these secrets while developing my personal companies Sevenly & The Daily Positive. As taught in the book, the heart of this process begins with 7 criteria… I have listed them below.
7 Criteria For A Good Business Name
1. Distinctiveness: Does it stand out from the crowd, especially from other names in its class? Does it separate well from ordinary text and speech? The best brand names have the “presence” of a proper noun.
2. Brevity: Is it short enough to be easily recalled and used? Will it resist being reduced to a nickname? Long multi-word names will be quickly shortened to non-communicating initials.
3. Appropriateness: Is there a reasonable fit with the business purpose of the entity? If it would work just as well—or better— for another entity, keep looking.
4. Easy spelling and pronunciation: Will most people be able to spell the name after hearing it spoken? Will they be able to pronounce it after seeing it written? A name shouldn’t turn into a spelling test or make people feel ignorant.
5. Likability: Will people enjoy using it? Names that are intellectually stimulating, or provide a good “mouth feel,” have a headstart over those that don’t.
6. Extendibility: Does it have “legs”? Does it suggest a visual interpretation or lend itself to a number of creative executions? Great names provide endless opportunities for brandplay.
7. Protectability: Can it be trademarked? Is it available for web use? While many names can be trademarked, some names are more defensible than others, making them safer and more valuable in the long run.
I also found this helpful video which covers much of what is discussed above.
What's your company name? Does it fit most of the 7 criteria? Let me know in the comments below.