Five tools you need to choose the best company name
Naming an organization is like running a marathon. If you haven’t run a marathon, don’t worry. Neither have I. The analogy still works. You do the introductory work. You generate lots of names, maybe even 100s. You feel like you should be able to see the finish line. You are breathing hard. You are tired. But, those last few miles can be the most mentally challenging (from what I hear). Here are five tools that will help you and your team decide and move forward confidently.
Conduct a preliminary trademark screen
This is a service offered by intellectual property attorneys. This is not intended to trademark your name. It sorts the names into three buckets: those with obvious conflicts, those that might have problems, and those without obvious conflicts. Throw out the no and maybe names. This should cut your list by a third.
Use a URL availability tool
A strong URL shouldn’t be the primary criteria. However, it is a reality. A stronger URL is one of the things that can give you an advantage. It can be a little overwhelming with all of today’s additional extensions: .beer, .pizza, and .party. These are all real extensions that just happen to go together. Use a tool like this one we made or Domainr to give you another data point.
Do some general Googling
If you do this at the beginning, you won’t get anywhere. However, if you don’t do this at the end of the process, you could end up feeling embarrassed. You already likely know the names in your industry. However, a general search can protect you from the unpleasant surprise when someone points out what your brand name means on Urban Dictionary. Better to know.
Turn your criteria into a decision matrix
At the beginning, you created a criteria list. It included things like the name should be easy to spell, available to register as a trademark, match my brand tones, and sound good. Make a spreadsheet. Put your names in the left column. Put the criteria across the top. Rank each name 0 – 5. This will give you additional quantitative data to support the decision.
Ask some random person what they think
It might seem like a good idea to ask a random person if they like a name. But this is terrible advice. Please don’t ask your spouse, kids, or siblings. They do not have your vision for where you are going. They have not been part of the process. They will like what is familiar. And, since the name is new, it will feel unfamiliar. It will not give you confidence to hear, “I don’t get it,” or “sounds dumb.” Stick to the group of people who know where you are going.
Your big idea deserves a good name, and these tools will help you get there. If you are stuck, give us a call. We love unsticking names.