Naming is hard. Often, businesses spend countless hours naming their company, products and sites only to see very little return on their hard work. That doesn’t mean naming is unimportant. Naming will never “make” your product, company or site, but it can “break” it (and hurt your search engine results).
Naming is a process that has similar considerations, whether you’re naming a company, a product, or domain. Here are some helpful tips to guide your naming activities.
Start with the brainstorming process. Make a list of words that are qualities and attributes of what you are naming. Consider words that are benefits, terms that are consistent with your business category, and words that describe the differentiation between you and the others within your category.
Think about the functionality of what you are naming. You can also take this core list and use resources such as the Visual Thesaurus to identify more options.
After you have completed this activity, put each word on an individual piece of paper and do a free association. Put the word in the middle of the piece of paper, then five to ten free association words, and then do a separate free association off of those five to ten words. Once you have exhausted this activity, go through and take stock of your list. Eliminate anything with a negative connotation, or words you simply don’t like.
Take the remainder of your list and extract a list of possible names. Combine and get creative. Try tools such as More Words and these name generators to produce more ideas. Look up words in other dictionaries such as a Latin dictionary.
Focus on the ideas that are easy to pronounce and spell. Your name should also be memorable as well as differentiated from other well-known brand names on the market. If you have a name on your list that is too similar to a competitor, get rid of it so that you are not leaving yourself vulnerable to potential legal action. Eliminate names that are number heavy, as well as your ideas for names that may confine you or pigeonhole you into one thing. You want to make sure that you are leaving the door open for growth. Be sure to check that your concepts are foreign language friendly. Make sure your name does not have negative connotations in other languages by using various English to Language online dictionaries.
Once you have a final list, it’s time to do research. Check sites like Whois for domain availability, TESS for trademark availability and Google to see how competitive the results are. Test your name with a minimum of ten people and get their feedback. Most importantly, let it resonate with all the individuals on your brainstorming team, think about it for a good 24- 48 hours.
Your name won’t make your product better, but it is the cornerstone of identity. What naming techniques have worked for you?