Invest in your name: Brand naming steps

Invest in your name: Your brand’s most valuable asset

Have you ever said “Google” it or “Hoover” the carpet or “Xerox” this? These company names have become synonymous with the product or service they represent. A good business name harmonizes with the values your business embodies and supports your positioning. The name reflects the soul of your brand personality and is timeless.

Many debate what makes a good business name. Some say a name should be no longer than three syllables, easily pronounceable and not generic or ambiguous. The right name can be the difference between leaving a lasting impression or fading into oblivion as your competitor soars ahead.



To create an effective business name, first brainstorm such as developing a list through free association of distinct characteristics of your company brand and goods or services. Sift through all the elements and open up a thesaurus and dictionary to dissect the origins of the words and the feelings and meanings that they conjure up. Through word play you can even invent your name through a unique combination or quirky new word. Toss out words that are too general or do not describe your goods or services such as numbers, initials, or generic words like holdings, enterprises, trading or international. These words appear to be more about legalize than goods and services and makes it more difficult for customers to attach meaning to the name. We have all received email spam solicitations from a phantom business with a generic trading name at one time or another. Avoid geographical names. Who knows, you might move or expand internationally! Names that simply describe services can run into the problem of seeming generic as well. Choose your name carefully. If your name must evolve because business partners have changed, you might need to re-brand. Consult with friends and colleagues to see how they react to your name list. At last, your distinctive name should relate who you are and what you do.

Check legal status

Now that you have invested the time, energy and creativity in deciding the name for your business, check trademarks, company names and even assumed names with the state or province you are incorporating. Additionally check and compare with domain names that already exist through an internet search. You want to prevent any mistaken identity or confusion.

Register Your Name or Incorporate

Your name may be unique today, but it could be someone else’s tomorrow. Once you have checked that no one has the same or similar name in your line of work, file for your incorporation to register your name immediately. You may commence using the TM trademark or SM service mark. You do not have to register them prior to use. In Canada, each province requires that a for profit company include Limited or Ltd., Corporation or Corp., or Incorporated or Inc. in its name.  Additionally, register your domain name and any variations of it.

Last Word

There is an exception to every rule. Your name must be relatable to the public.  A bar named after a person’s first name like “Franks” might seem generic, but if it’s popular with the neighborhood, it will be guaranteed patrons.  Similarly an abstract name like Google might not convey specifically what it does but it is so original and closely associated with its unique service that it is memorable. Remember that a brand name is only as effective as the marketing strategy that supports it. If the public recalls your name, you will stand out among your competitors and you will be ensured customer loyalty for generations.

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