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Tips on Choosing Your Business Name

written by: SallyOdum•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 6/26/2011

Did you ever wonder why famous corporations selected their name? Or why a particular slogan pops into your head when you think of a certain company? It's all a part of branding. When you're choosing your business name, it is wise to think of all the connotations that will be associated with it.

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    "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." (-Shakespeare)

    Times Square c. 2008 by Sally Hansley Odum 

    The truth is: there is a lot in a name. Plenty. Especially when it comes to your business name. There are a lot of things to consider in selecting a business name. Luckily, there are many free ideas for naming a business readily available on the Internet.Chiefly, the name should convey more to the reader than just what your business is or what it does. Think about some of the greatest names in business.

    Let’s take Nike™ for example. The little TM after the name means that it's trademarked. Do you know where the word Nike originated? Most people know it’s derived from the Greek goddess of victory. So this company chose a name that implies to the world, “victory." It’s sending a strong message of association. Look at their logo – the famous “swoosh" and “wings" design. What does it imply to you? FAST – super fast – fast enough to fly. So this company that makes athletic wear and sneakers is now associated with several broad thoughts: super fast, flying and victorious. Now what is the company’s slogan? “Just do it." This implies courage, perseverance and dedication.

    So wrap it all up and you have a very successful brand name and image. “Fast, victorious and courageous" is just what an athlete wants to be. And what do athletes buy? Athletic gear, of course.

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    Branding

    This is a part of what is called “Branding" in the marketing world. To brand a company means that you consistently portray the same image and evoke the same emotions. Some brands, as we noted above, carry far more connotations. When someone mentions the company, General Electric / GE™, what do you think of? You might think of their ad campaigns, or the phrase “GE - We bring good things to life," or electricity powering the products we use everyday, light bulbs, appliances, and so on.

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    A Brand Is Considered a Cultural Accessory and Personal Philosophy

     

    A brand is a name or trademark connected with a product or producer. Brands have become increasingly important components of culture and the economy, now being described as ‘cultural accessories and personal philosophies’. (Wikipedia.org)

    So let the name you choose work in conjunction with the overall “theme," “brand" or “idea" that you want to convey about your business. Check with the trademark office to ensure the name you choose is not already taken. Once you’ve chosen your ideal business name, act fast to claim your name in an Internet Web address (URL) and on social media Web sites. Register your business name in all the appropriate places – you may want to trademark it. Take steps to protect your company and brands from brandjackers.