Online With Dock Line: How to Name Your Business
One of the most stressful parts of starting a company is deciding how to name your business. While everything else comes to you pretty quickly (the business idea, the products, your mission and goals)—brainstorming a name for your company can take some time and cannot be done without a strategy. While you may have a couple of ideas that you’re ready to run with, it’s very important to first test those ideas and look at the big picture before making a decision.
Choosing a business name is more than a first step to starting making money—your name encompasses your brand (who you are). It is the first thing your customers see and think about when interacting with you. Names give off an impression, and can evoke different emotions or even paint a picture in someone’s mind. For example, The Dock Line makes most people picture boats and a dock in their mind—tying our company back to the local Lake Conroe community.
Our marketing team at The Dock Line has worked with many brands who have chosen great and not-so-great business names. Let us help you decide how to name your business in a way that sets your company apart from rest and communicates clearly to your customers.
What is a Good Brand Name?
Choosing a good brand name will set the tone for everything else about your company. A strong brand name will encompass your company’s mission and values, and will fall under one or more of these categories:
What exactly does your business do? A good company name can inform customers of just that—serving as a mini elevator pitch. For example, Planet Fitness tells you right from the start what you’d be getting, and even paints a picture of a large space dedicated to fitness.
Reflects Your Values
Your company is not just made up of what you do, but also WHY you do it, and why it matters to your customers. Once you know the “why” behind your what, it will give you more direction for deciding how to name your business. Empower is a great example of a brand name that communicates the purpose of the company and their services. The retirement account app helps its users “take control of their finances” and “build financial confidence”.
Search Engine Relevant
When people are searching for your product or service on the internet, does your brand name communicate that you are a solution to their problem? It might benefit you to work keywords into your business name that your customers are searching for.
Your business name should be easy to spell, pronounce and remember. Sometimes shorter is better when it comes to names, and thinking about something that will stick in someone’s mind in the future.
Adds Value to Your Audience
What is the problem your company solves, and what words would you use to describe the solution? Think through the problems your customers have and the solution you bring when deciding how to name your business.
Unique and Clever
You and your story are unique, so there’s no need to copy someone else’s ideas. Not only that, you’ll get in legal trouble if the name is already taken. It’s okay to think outside the box, get creative and even a little punny!
Who are you?
Now that we’ve established some guidelines to follow, next comes the fun part! If you haven’t already, you’ll need to think through the positioning of your brand, and have a solid understanding of who you are in the world. Once you’ve nailed down the details, it will be easier to decide how to name your business. Here are some things to work on before jumping into the name game.
Establish your brand goals and identity
- Why does your company exist? (Vision)
- What problem does your company solve? (Mission)
- How does your company solve that problem? (Values)
- If your brand had a personality, what would it be like?
- What do you want to accomplish with your brand name?
Deciding on your vision, mission, and values are key pillars of starting a business. But digging a little deeper will help you not only start a business but develop a brand people can connect with. That’s why thinking through the personality of your brand, while it may seem silly, is actually very important. Examples of the 5 main brand personalities are: excitement, sincerity, ruggedness, competence, and sophistication.
Study your Customers and Competition
How do your customers react to you and your brand? What words do they use to describe their interactions with you in your reviews? If you don’t have any reviews yet, reach out to your previous customers and ask them for feedback, or send them a survey.
Also take a look at your competitors, what are they doing to position themselves in the industry? You can either jump on the bandwagon or do something that goes against the grain. What do you like, and why? What do you not like, and why? Decide what position you’re going to take in comparison to your competitors, and what makes you different from them. Figure out who you’re not, and who you are.
Once you’ve figured out who you really are, gather all of the information you just decided on and start brainstorming! Grab a whiteboard and start dumping. Writing it down and visualizing it will help. It also helps to bring in a team of people to throw out ideas with you.
Words are everything at this point. Think through which adjectives are used to describe your services and products. Not only that, but how do you want your customers to feel about your business? What are some words you’d use to describe that customer experience?
Don’t be overwhelmed by too many options. Warby Parker, an eyewear company started out with over 2,000 ideas within 6 months of brainstorming before they finally decided on their name.
Once you’ve got a long list of names and words, you can start refining. But make sure all the possibilities are there, first. Once you’ve narrowed things down to a few options, reach out to others for feedback. A question you may ask them is, “What is the first thing you think of when you hear this name?”
Good things take time, so there is no need to rush through the naming process until you’re 100% satisfied, and believe the name reflects your brand personality. Learn more about the best marketing tips and tricks by visiting