August 20, 2021

What’s In a Name?

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Why would Exxon, as an organization spend $100m to find a great business name for their company? As if that was not enough, they tried a lot of names in fifty four different languages! What really is in a name? To Juliet, a name is inconsequential because of her love for Romeo, hence her fatal query: “What’s in a name?” In her heart, the significance of a name is watered down to nothing more than a mere label that distinguishes one being or thing from another. However, in the heat of business competition, names have power! A name is not just another label. It is more than that. Your product or business name affects your ability to generate wealth as an entrepreneur. After generating a business idea, you need to create a memorable business or product name. Easy to remember names are of great value in maintaining a positive reputation on the market. You can work with the short guideline below to craft an excellent name for your enterprise, product, or service.

A linguistically clean name.

Use desirable rather than undesirable language when coining a business name. Offensive connotations could spell doom on your business idea before it takes off! You may decide to be or not to be meaningful but make sure the name remains enticing to say. Make the name sound right instead of just sounding good. Considering that the world is now one global village, research thoroughly on the potential meaning of your chosen name in other languages. One urban legend that has been smuggled into marketing classrooms is about the Chevy Nova that allegedly left Chevrolet embarrassed in Spain. It is put forward that the vehicle sold poorly in Spain and other Spanish speaking nations because ‘Nova’ means ‘it doesn’t go in Spanish. Similar mistakes need to be avoided in choosing a company or commodity name.

A name that reflects the company personality.

You may choose a name that matches your business idea, product, or service. Customers can speculate on the nature or quality of your product or business from how it has been named. There is no need to keep customers guessing the kinds of enterprise you are involved in. Some names are emotional. That way, they convey the personality of the company or its products. Trust, Dove, Swift, Purity, Genuine Spares, Quickfix, Pure, Bliss, Beautiful, Hope, Innocent, Stopain, and Freedom are names that invoke certain emotions among customers. A good business name reveals company personality and draws customers to your firm in droves to help you make lots of money.

A term that fits the ideal length of a name

Most branding experts recommend short, sharp, sweet, and easily pronounced names. Such names reflect simplicity. They are suitable for start-up enterprises that need increased fluency for the business name to remain memorable given that the firm is still new on the market. Short names are easy to remember and if they are well coined and catchy, they remain imprinted on the mind of the customer. Imagine how difficult it would have been trying to remember an alternative name of Twitter such as ‘Microblogging Site Corporation’. This would have complicated matters. Short sweet business names include: Uber. Google; Apple; Amazon; Sky; Virgin; Lyft; Toyota; Honda; and Yahoo. They make you rich easily.

A name that is distinct within its industry

Try to make your enterprise’s name unique within its industry. Make it so distinctive in nature. A well thought out name is imperative in making you stand out! Amazing, rare, and interesting names remain stuck on the customers’ mind, and they are good at leaving the market itching for product or service trials. You are not being encouraged to craft a weird name! Your imagination is being stretched to help you generate a name that cuts through the industry noise. It is pointless to have a name for your company that sounds just like any other name on the market. Would you name your fitness club ‘You Fit’ where the same line of business has existing entities with names like: Fit U; Fit Men; More Fit; Lady Fitness; Fit Muscle; Fit Bodies; and Just Fit?  Choose a name that separates your firm distinctively!

A name that has good alliteration.

Using repeated, identical sounds in the successive group of words that make up a name can be effective if you want to use a long name. A name with exciting repetitive sounds engages the customers in the process of silently and unknowingly muttering the word or name to themselves. Such repeated sound charms the ear and produces a feeling of contentment which can be easily associated with the product or business name.  This strengthens the customers’ recognition and fluency in the name. Perfect Pictures, Money Matters, Peter Piper, Better Bricks, Best Buy, and Money Maker are good examples of business names that improve customer perception of the product or service since they can be silently repeated.

A name that will not age quickly

Try to create a timeless business name. Excellent and effective business names endure generational differences and are perpetually memorable. They stand against the taste of time, and their existence on the market is perennial in nature. When did you first hear about Nike? For how long have you known the names Adidas, Reebok, Stabucks, Lego, Shopify, Google, Canon, Coca Cola, and Sharp? No doubt you know these brands from way back! Now that is what a good business name must be like if it is to be easily communicated on the market.

A name that is flexible and expandable.

A great business name must be easily modified to respond to changing times, set of products, and circumstances that your enterprise finds itself in. Select a name that brings about a pleasant product image for each succeeding line of trade or product without conflict with the currently held opinion on your brand. The name Econet Wireless demonstrates scalability whenever the firm ventures into other lines of business activity. Initially there was just the mobile telecommunications company, Econet. Subsequent business units and products have been introduced around that name in the make of Ecosure, Eco-health, and Ecocash. Similarly, the global conglomerate, Virgin expanded its enterprises and products to include: Virgin Wines, Virgin Bet, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Books, Virgin Action, Virgin Connect, Virgin Care, Virgin Mobile, and Virgin Hotels. Proper naming of a business creates wealth.

A name that is legally available and defensible

Before you rush on to prescribe a name to your business, make sure the name you like is not in use already by another entrepreneur. Perform a name search and when you are certain that the name is available for your firm, register it as a trademark. Names that are free from use are trademarkable. This bestows legal rights upon the name you have picked within your industry. As of today, you cannot use the names like Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn, Cisco, Hotmail, or Kellogg’s. Those names belong to other companies. You will be dragged to the court and sued for millions of dollars for infringing on another entity’s name! Create your own name using the above guidelines and get rich on your own account.


In summary, an excellent business name can transform you to a rich entrepreneur in no time. It is worth investing your time in coming up with a great name. Choose a name that: does not portray a bad meaning; reflects the company’s personality; conforms to the ideal length; has uniqueness; will not age; looks expandable; and is capable of having legal protection.

Oga Chapwanya.

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