Naming Your New Business

Creating a name is a defining moment for any new business or product. Here are a few tips on how we do it.

So you’ve decided you have a product (or service) worth selling. Congratulations. So what are you going to call it?

Your business or product name is the very first step in defining your brand voice/identity. It’s also one of the most difficult things to do right.

As a writer, I’ve gone round after round with clients to land on the perfect name. A name can evoke emotion. It can also have utility, helping to define the company or product for the customer. You want it to be memorable. You need it to be original. And as far as creating an online identity (starting with the right URL), you need it to be available.

Here are a few quick tips to help you find the perfect name for your new product or business:

Step 1 – Write a short description of the new product or business. Then, make a list of any distinguishing benefits or features. Finally, if the product or business were a person, what adjectives would you use to describe it?

Step 2 – Now that you know the message you are trying to convey, what sets you apart, and the emotions you can tap into, pull out a clean sheet of paper and create several buckets that will help guide your thoughts. Here are a few I like to use; Utility/Features, Benefits, Emotional, Random. (Note: I always prefer to brainstorm on paper. Writing by hand comes more naturally and frees your mind to be its most creative. Plus, a “bad’ idea at the time can quickly become a great idea later on. Better to write it down and strike a line through it then delete it all together.)

Based on your notes from Step 1, write down anything that comes to mind. At this point there are no bad ideas!

Step 3 – Google. Head to the computer and search the names of any and all competitors, similar products and industry categories, and even start searching some of your top picks from your brainstorm. This will allow you to compare your ideas against what is already out there and will also help shorten the vetting process later on. It can provide you with additional inspiration, but be sure not to choose a name that’s similar to the competition. This is why I always do an initial brainstorm before my research.

Step 4 – I will usually put my initial list together with any new additions (minus anything I had to remove based on my research). I’ll then choose my top ten and share it with a select group of friends and colleagues to gain some outside perspective.

Step 5 – Narrow your list down to only a select few and then do a more careful vetting. Start with Google. You then can check copyright sites and government resources for identical names that are already in use. It’s also a good idea to check or other domain sites to see the variations of that name that would be available to you as a URL. You may even wish to provide the short list to a knowledgeable copyright lawyer prior to securing a final name.

By this time you should have a very short list. Take some time with it. Imagine the names next to yours on a business card, in a logo, etc. You’ll find that one truly stands out. Say hello to your new name.

If you’re currently launching a new product or brand and need of assistance with anything from naming and brand voice to a full creative rollout, give us a call. We’d be happy to discuss your vision and see where we can help.


Kevin Liptak is the Owner and Chief Creative Officer of Refresh Advertising. A writer by trade, he has extensive experience in brand development and his work can currently be found on shelves ranging from Home Depot to Whole Foods.