Naming your company graphic

Three questions to ask before naming your company

Taylor Swift describes naming the album Folklore on social media: “Images in my head grew faces or names and became characters. I found myself not only writing my own stories but also writing about or from the perspective of people I've never met…” 

Naming an organization requires a similar perspective shift. You aren’t naming it only for you. It is for current and future co-workers, partners, customers, clients, etc. While your preference matters, it isn’t the most important thing anymore. You need to establish a naming strategy. Here are three questions to ask yourself as you start the naming process to ensure you are on the right path. 

Should my brand name fit in or stand out?

This is the first strategic fork in the road. If you have established competitors, you may want to create a name that fits with other organizations in your space. If your offering is disruptive, you would do yourself a disservice by choosing a name that fits in. Start by making a list of all your competitors. Then, think about brand strategy. Should you fit in to appear more established or stand out to show differentiation?

Do I know what makes a good brand name?

You have chosen to fit in or stand out, but you will still have options. How will you decide? You need to create naming criteria. Your criteria should be a mix of hard (yes or no) criteria like: is a URL and social media handle available for an acceptable price? Is the name able to be a registered trademark? And you should have soft criteria such as preferred tones, memorability, and ease of spelling and pronunciation.   

Do I need to trademark this thing?

That is actually the wrong question, but it is the one we normally ask. The United States uses common law trademarks. That means that as soon as you start using a name, you claim it as intellectual property. So, the real question is, do you want a strong or weak trademark? A strong trademark is defensible in court. A weak trademark leaves your hard work vulnerable. 

You now know the direction to choose and how to make the best decision. You also know about the importance of a strong trademark. All that is left is creating the names. No problem. If you run into a snag, give us a call. We love making lists and lists of words. Weird, I know.

Brad Flowers
Brad Flowers
Founding Partner

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