26th August, 2019
From McDonald’s to Myer, the name you choose for your business has the power to make it more relatable and accessible but can also achieve the exact opposite. Here are some pointers on how to choose a killer name for your new business venture.
The importance of giving your business an appropriate and well thought out name is overwhelmingly underrated. It’s one of those things that founders don’t pay enough attention to, due to the fact that their hearts and minds are set on launching their new venture and taking it to market.
What many founders don’t realise is that choosing a business name is something that, if prioritised and done correctly, can have a tremendous impact on the way their brand is perceived, both from an external perspective (meaning, by customers) and within the business itself.
To understand why the a business name carries so much weight, I’d like to turn your attention to a digital design and product agency called Transpire.
Based in Melbourne with a couple of other offices around Australia, Transpire is an agency that creates state-of-the-art digital products and experiences.
About two years ago, Transpire went through an enormous rebranding project that saw their almost 10-year-old agency name change from ‘b2cloud’ to ‘Transpire’.
Having closely followed the lead up to and unveiling of Transpire’s rebrand, it was clear to me that there was a lot more to it than just a standard name change.
The brand’s name, its graphical detail, its narrative and its actual launch were incredibly precise and extremely thorough. So much so that it left countless (almost obvious) lessons to be learnt by other SMEs looking to go through the same process.
In order to take more of a deep dive into Transpire’s story, I reached out to the company’s CEO, Luke Smorgon.
Smorgon, who co-founded the venture along with Josh Guest, was the one who drove the rebrand project, spending years envisioning and planning its rollout and then kicked it into overdrive when the time for execution finally arrived.
Smorgon has an abundance of information to share about this rebrand journey and was enthused by the opportunity to pay his experiences forward to other businesses.
The first area of focus that Smorgon shared was about getting to the bottom of the motives behind the name that you’re choosing, or what Smorgon called, “the why”.
According to Smorgon, a huge amount of thought needs to go into all facets of the prospective name.
“We went with Transpire because of its relevance, simplicity, depth and timelessness,” Smorgon told The Pulse.
“Since our business continues to evolve with technology, we needed to address the key areas of our offering, all the while remembering that there is still a lot more to unfold, or Transpire, in the future.”
When the chosen name addresses the business’ core offering and clear direction, it can be a name that lasts for a long time.
Smorgon also explained that while the business name should be unique, it is extremely important that the name isn’t too “quirky or different”, as this can strongly impact the brands accessibility.
Based on his experience, Smorgon warned founders against choosing names that were “difficult to spell”, “hard to pronounce” or “just too long and complicated”.
“Using a dictionary word that has positive connotations in all languages and one that is easy to say, read and remember are some of the most important criteria for a workable business name.
“When we were b2cloud, we had all sorts of trouble getting people to spell our name properly and understand what it meant.
“We had issues with the lower case ‘b’, the number ‘2’, and the fact that the name just didn’t reflect on who we were or what we offered.”
RESOURCE: How to register your business name
After the light bulb moment finally arrives and the business owner feels that they have found the right name for their business, Smorgon suggested that founders address the following three questions before executing.
According to Smorgon, the founder needs to run significant due-diligence into the availability of the business name.
“Running this due diligence on a national scale is a non-negotiable, and depending on the aspirations of the business owner, it should be run on a global scale as well.”
Run a local check in Australia with Business.gov.au’s Business Name Check. In New Zealand, start with Business.govt.nz’s One Check.
Next, it’s also worth checking to see if any trade marks have been registered for that business name, or a similar one, so you can avoid any potential legal issues, as well as finding out whether you have the opportunity to trade mark the name yourself.
For the majority of people living today, the first and main points of contact for a business are the company website and social media channels.
This being the case, Smorgon couldn’t stress the importance of ensuring that the business gets access to the domain names and social media handles that will make it easy for people to access the brand.
“Purchasing the simple and relevant domain names and social media handles might be challenging and sometimes expensive but attaining them early is worth the effort and investment.
“These domains and handles are likely to become major brand assets in the long term.”
While it is obviously important for the company founders to feel connected to the name, Smorgon explained that a big part of choosing the right name for the business is making sure that the people who the business is made up of feel connected to it as well.
“A business team is made up of its staff and customers. Before going ahead with choosing a name, it is imperative that those stakeholders are able to identify with the name and concept.
“If you get their input and buy in, you can rest assured that the name you’ve chosen has what it takes to really go the distance.”