• TGW

What's In A Name?

Every entity needs a name. Something simple that people will know instantly what you’re referring to. And while Shakespeare is correct in saying, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, it’s probably prudent to think of something that isn’t going to cause confusion. To this day, there are people who say that Viking settlers switched the names of Iceland and Greenland on purpose, and if you didn’t know better, you’d think that Iceland was generally colder than Greenland. But it’s also this instant acknowledgement of identity that landed many western cultures of their surnames.




Many years ago, a town might have only had one person named John. As the town got bigger and more people were named John, people needed to differentiate between this John and that John. They then started referring to them as John the Smith, or John the Baker, which eventually would get shortened to John Smith and John Baker. Instant recognition. The same goes the same for a company name. When you’re thinking about a name for your company, think about how you’d like for your company to be recognised.


Branding


Something that you'll see me talking about a lot is that 'Branding Happens At Every Point Of Contact'. Which means, your company name is going to come up, a lot. Consider what correlations people will think of when they bring up your company name. Think about the imagery that the name might evoke. John Cusack's production company is called, "New Crime". Great name for a production company, but probably not such a great name if you're naming an accounting firm.


When it comes to branding, you also don't want your company, the name of your company, and your brand to be confused with someone else's company. So make sure that it is specific and unique. If you're in doubt, check out the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) and do trademark search.


Recollection


You want to make sure that whatever name you choose, that it's easy to recall; especially if your company is in a crowded industry. And while words like 'Floccinaucinihilipilification' might be a cool, impressive word, naming your company that will likely mean that anyone that's not a wordsmith won't be able to pronounce your company name (myself included), and if they can't pronounce or recall your company name, they're also not very likely to be able to share your company name with others. Oh, and apparently, according to the dictionary, Floccinaucinihilipilification means the action or habit of estimating something as worthless... And... I can't pronounce it either. Please don't make me try.


Meaning


Unlike people names, company names can be anything you can think of. While I suppose you could name your child whatever it is you'd like also, but a name like 'Yrhnes' (I heard on the radio someone actually named their kid this, and apparently it's pronounced, Your Highness) will only likely end up traumatising your child. Company names however, go ahead and dig deep to find something that has meaning to you and the industry your company is in. Use the thesaurus, ask Google, talk to your friends. The only thing in mind is that, the more obscure the relevance and meaningless the name is, however catchy it might be, the more effort it will take for people to catch on.


Longevity


Whatever you choose for your company name to be, think about how long you intend to hold on to that name for. Nightclubs and bars go through rebrands fairly often. They can get away with thinking about a name that will be trendy and cool. But if you intend for your company to thrive decades from now, or centuries from now, it's more expensive to completely re-brand something than it is to brand it for the first time.