12 Questions to Ask When Naming Your Business

8th, 2019
Keyhole - Content Marketing - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder
8th, 2019
Keyhole - Content Marketing - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder

Naming your business can arguably be one of the most challenging aspects of launching a new company or rebranding your business. Your business name is what customers will see first, talk to their friends and family about, and write about online. Creating the perfect combination of something simple, yet memorable, that captures the true essence of your brand may feel like an impossible task.

To make this experience a little less daunting for you, we created a guide of 12 questions to ask when naming your business.

Name + Brand

1. In your own words, can you describe the products and services offered through your business?

Getting really clear on your value proposition is not only good for your marketing strategy, but can also uncover some common words or phrases used in your industry that will be helpful when naming your company.

2. How would you explain your business to a five-year-old in a way that would keep him or her interested?

This is a really fun activity to do in order to get your creative juices flowing, and to think outside of your everyday lingo. You are the closest person to your business, and many people that come into contact with your brand won’t understand the ins and outs of your industry like you do. Boiling down your business message to a five-year-old will uncover new language and help you get really clear on what it is you want to convey through your name.

Writing a Good Mission Statement
Having a solid mission statement is like making a great first impression. It sets the tone for the relationship between you and your customers and serves as the backbone to your entire brand.
3. How do you want your employees to feel about this business after hearing the name?

Embrace emotion during your naming process! Talk to your team or close friends and family about how they feel about your business, and compare their answers with how you want your customers to feel when hearing your brand name.

4. What five words would best describe the tone you’d like the business to have?

Think about your brand voice and narrow down 5 character traits you would use to describe your brand. Use these words as inspiration, or in part of the actual name!

5. What analogies can you come up with for how your business operates?

Do you ever use analogies when describing your business to an outsider? Maybe you say that you are the “uber of healthcare.” Think about what comparisons you can make in regards to how your business operates and this may spark some ideas.

6. Why is this business important to you personally?

Dig deep and do some reflection here. What inspired you to start this business? Is there a key experience or story you can draw inspiration from? What is your calling as a business owner?


7. How would you describe the target audience? Age? Location? Interests?

What is the demographic of your audience? Do they respond well to trendy language? Or do they need something a little more straightforward? Take into consideration other brands your target audience engages with and how they structured their names.

8. What problems are you solving for them? What role in people's lives are you aspiring to fill?

This goes back to your value proposition. You should be able to describe the problem you are solving for your target audience in a sentence or two. Get really clear on this before jumping to naming your business.

9. How will a customer find you?

Does your target audience live online? In person? On social media? Understanding exactly how your customer will find you will help dictate what type of brand name you can go after. Think about what it will look like in various places:  a URL, the side of a building, a printed piece of collateral, etc.

10. What should someone know when hearing the name?

Do you need your customers to know something about your business in the name? Or can it be abstract, inviting people in to learn more? Knowing your audience and understanding how they consume information will help answer these questions.


11. Are there any words to be sure to incorporate or stay away from?

Are there any words that are essential to your brand that you need to include in the name? Conversely, are there any words that may be taboo in your industry that you should definitely stay away from?

12. Does this need to be trademarked?

Do your research and understand the market of companies that already exists, especially in your industry. Stray away from duplicate names or names that sound too similar. Consider talking with a lawyer once you’ve chosen a few name options to figure out if you need to trademark your name.

Where are you in the process of naming your business? We’d love to hear your stories, ideas, questions and tricks for those who are just getting started. And as always, we’d love to chat more over coffee or a beer. Cheers!

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