5 Tips for Naming Your Startup

June 17, 2014 | Branding and Rebranding, Business, Design Basics, Launch Marketing Strategy

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Naming your Startup babyAs any founder knows, your startup is your baby. And one of the duties of every parent is to name their child.

Here are some tips to keep in mind during the naming process.

  1. Take your time and test out ideas. Just as your startup idea has likely gone through different iterations and alterations expect the same for your name. Take your time during your early development phase to try out different names.
  2. Listen to feedback. Startup founders are frequently encouraged to share their ideas and get feedback. It will produce a better product or service in the end. Follow that same advice for names. Listen to people’s reactions both positive and negative. If a name is not connecting for several different people it’s time to try something new.
  3. Research and register domain names. Domain names that directly correlate with the name of a company or product are becoming hard to find. Yet consumers and brand experts agree that getting a .com domain name that connects with your brand name should be your first choice. If you find an appealing name that is available, go ahead and register it. Domain names are cheap.
  4. Take the naming of your startup seriously. Logos can change, visuals can change, marketing tactics will change, but the name of your company, product or service probably will not change. Whether you do it yourself or hire a branding firm, take the naming process seriously.
  5. Do your due diligence on researching the trade name. Start with a basic internet search to see if you’ll run into confusion or trademark issues. After that, you may want to hire a lawyer to do a more comprehensive search and then work to protect your name.

The long term effects of the right brand name for your startup

Once a company, product or service is established, name changes are quite rare. Organizations may rebrand by redesigning their logo, but nearly always keep the same brand name. When you don’t, it often raises questions. There are only a few times that make sense for a renaming and these include:

  • Legal issues around trademark infringement. This is not a place where you want your startup to be. It makes you look like you didn’t do your homework.
  • Reaction to a negative reputation. Some firms have renamed themselves as a way of disassociating themselves from a blemished history. Knowing this, many consumers see renaming as a red flag.
  • A change in direction for the company. This is the one instance where a renaming really makes sense. As your company grows and changes you may eventually find that your initial name is no longer a great fit. This is a unique opportunity to better connect with your prospects and customers. But you don’t want to be doing this too frequently.

The name of your startup can be powerful by quickly explaining your offering or creating an immediate emotional connection. A great name can be priceless, whereas a weak brand name makes everything about growing your company more difficult.

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