Perhaps one of the most important aspects of branding is choosing a name for the new business. C.W. Park is a branding expert who has taught marketing at the University of Pittsburgh and USC (a former director of the Global Branding Center). He has seen brand names ranging from the outstanding to the absurd. He offers insight to help new business owners pick a name that will serve the company well both now and in the future.
Short names are almost always best, Park explains. The name should be easy for consumers to say, spell, and remember. It should also accurately represent the business and its products/services without precluding the business from expanding its offerings in the future. Furthermore, Park strongly suggests choosing a name that has a backstory. A brick-and-mortar business with a strong presence in a particular city may want to name itself after an area or landmark that is meaningful to those who live in the immediate area.
C.W. Park also reminds business owners to check .com domain availability to ensure their chosen business name is available as a .com domain. While multiple domain name endings exist, nearly half of all businesses and 495 out of five hundred Fortune 500 companies still use a .com name. Consumers automatically expect a company’s website to use a .com name; failure to use one can seem unprofessional to many potential buyers. At the same time, Park notes, if need be, it’s better to use a different domain name ending than to add or subtract letters from a business name to turn it into a .com domain name.
C. Whan Park continues to point out some business naming mistakes that should be avoided at all costs. Never use superlative words such as “best” or “most”; these words come across as tacky and will most drive consumers to a company’s competitors. A business should also avoid a name that sounds similar to that of a direct competitor. A business name that is controversial in nature and that could offend people should also be avoided.
C.W. Park urges new business owners never to rush into choosing a business name. This aspect of branding is difficult or even impossible to change later, so getting it right the first time is imperative. He explains that a business owner should do careful research to find suitable name options with a .com ending, check each potential name to ensure that it is not offensive to any group of people, and then consider the company’s core values, current and future offerings, and customer base to pick a name that will bring in clients and generate sales. First impressions play a key role in how people perceive a company, and a good business name is a powerful asset that can increase a company’s odds of long-term success.