10 Tips to Choosing a Great Business Name

Updated May 16, 2022

What’s in a name? Everything, if you’re a business. A great business name is more than just clever. They’re innovative, exciting and engaging. A great company name is the foundation of a fantastic company and an enduring brand.
So, what’s the secret to naming success?

Some experts believe that the best names are abstract. Others believe that a great name should be informative and intuitive. Many brand consultants insist on a playful approach, while some prefer a more practical position. In reality, any name can be an effective foundation for your brand and business, provided it’s backed up by the appropriate marketing strategy.

Naming your business is nothing to take lightly. Here are 10 tips on how to create and choose the perfect company name that is memorable and will resonate with your customers.

Characteristics of a Great Business Name

1) It Needs To Be Available – Online and Off

Naming a brand isn’t just about being cute or clever; it’s also about being visible. “Before you set your heart on the perfect name, do a quick domain search, and also make sure the name isn’t already registered as a trademark or being used by another company. Nailing down a strong and available URL is extremely important in today’s modern marketplace, so exercise due diligence,” explains Chris Dugas, Partner & Managing Director at ZOO Media Group. To conduct a trademark search to ensure the exact name you are considering is not already being used, visit the Canadian Trademarks Database. Brand awareness is key, so try to avoid any unnecessary confusion with existing companies. Once you’ve found your name, make sure you take immediate steps to secure it.

2) Shorter Is Sweeter

Nike, Apple, IBM, Google, Facebook – these successful companies all feature short and punchy names. Studies have shown that brevity leads to memorability, so kick any complex names to the curb and keep it simple.

3) It Needs To Be Inventive

Want a great business name? Then make your own language. Gizmodo, Weebly, Lego – the list of successful companies with made-up names is long. A company that prides itself on innovation needs a name that’s equally experimental and fresh. Try combining two words or spelling a word incorrectly for inspiration. Customers appreciate businesses that are independent and have the ability to think outside the box.

4) It Needs To Be Natural

The best businesses names aren’t forced. They’re natural, simplistic, and smart. Take Apple, for instance. The world’s most innovative computer company got its fruity name because Steve Jobs used to spend a lot time in an orchard in Oregon. Inspiration can come from anywhere, so be open. If a name resonates with you, explore it. The best brand names have a stickiness that’s impossible to shake.

5) If It’s Hard to Spell, Don’t Bother

You want potential customers to easily find your business online, so avoid hard-to-spell names. Keep it simple to avoid misspelling and missed opportunities.

6) Think Big Picture

Don’t pick a business name that could be limiting as your business evolves and grows. Many start-up businesses fall into the trap of naming their company after geographic or generic terms, or using their own name. What happens when the “Toronto Glass Company” wants to expand to Montreal? What if they want to diversify and get into the plastics business? What if “John Doe Marketing Agency” wants to expand and bring in new partners? Think big picture and always consider your long-term goals when you are going through the company naming process.

7) Get Help With Your Name Hunt

Coming up with a great business name can sometimes be a complicated and frustrating process. In order to save some time and trouble, consider enlisting a branding expert with corporate naming experience. Naming firms have elaborate systems for creating new names, plus they have extensive knowledge concerning trademark and copyright law. Brand naming consultants can be pricey but spending a reasonable amount of money early for expert advice could save you in the long run.

8) Ask For Feedback On The Name

When we work on company or product naming, we will brainstorm 5 to 10 names for your company to review. Choose your favourite names, then run them by your family members, friends, and trusted colleagues. You could also get feedback from your target audience as well. Its important that everyone understands your business goals and products/services before sharing the name options with them so they can give an educated and relevant opinion.

9) Make Sure You Like The Name

It’s obvious, but you will have to live with the new business name for a long time, so its crucial that you are happy with it. As mentioned several times in this article, the new company name needs to be memorable and resonate with your target customers too.

Okay. Now you have a new business name. What’s next?

10) Register Your New Business Name

Now that you have a great business name, its time to protect it by registering it with the government. If you are an Ontario based business, whether a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation, you must register you company name under the Business Names Act. Visit www.ontario.ca/page/ontario-business-registry for more information.

And it’s not legally required, but you may also want to trademark your new name to protect it from use by another business. We don’t provide this service, but for more information for Canadian businesses, visit this site.

It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Name

Some of the best businesses in the world have changed their company name. For example, Xerox was originally known as The Halloid Company, Nissan was Datsun, and LG used to go by their full name: Lucky and Goldstar Co. Even the almighty Google started out under a different name: BackRub. If your business has evolved and your business name doesn’t reflect your new brand experience, then its probably time to change your company’s name. It’s never too late to change your brand name for the better.

We Can Help You Impress

ZOO Media Group can help you create and choose the right company name that builds a strong and lasting brand for your business. If you want to get it right from the start, let’s talk.