You have the idea. You’ve asked others about the idea. You have plans to build the idea. But…in order to start writing code, buying URLs, designing branding, doing your social media thang….you need a name.
Easy. I’ll just come up with a name. No. Big. Deal.
A few hours later, you have a name, you love it. You think it’s pretty clever. You’ve decided to name your idea baby: Xymr (You know, like simmer but with zest”). The product is a recipe app for dogs (obviously).
But when you email about Xymr to others their eyes twitch, they ask…so what does “Ex-eye-m-ar” do? Or you recommend Xymr to a friend at the dogpark and they google “Zimmer” and find nothing. Or they do get it right, and oh hey, it looks like the first entry for Xymr goes to…a…porn site. Wait, you never googled your own company name? Oh man.
See where I’m going here? A good name for your product or company isn’t necessarily trendy or cool but one that works. Everytime. It needs to work visually, aurally, and on the internet. Unique but not tooooo unique.
There are some basic rules to try to follow when coming up with a product name and while you don’t have to follow all of them, it’s important to weight the importance to your audience of each.
- Spelling. You can be creative but not too creative (leave the vowels please!). People will hear about your product and search for it. Make sure what they search will bring them to your product.
- Being unique. Also known as Google juice. If someone googles your product, are you going to be front and center? Or 9 pages back. Don’t name your company “Googl”. Don’t name your cooking product “Kitchen” or “Recipe”. It’s a losing battle with the SEO giants. Your user isn’t going to hunt for you, and if they can’t get to your product with one or two obvious search terms your name needs to be better.
- Competitors. Don’t be too similar to competitors. If you name your company Zimmer and your competitor is named Simmer, you might be losing half your interested audience through a mistaken search. Don’t make users hunt for you.
Now as an aside, you might ask – what about Spotify, what about rrreally unique names? Brand new words? You CAN do this, but again it needs to be easy to hear, easy to spell, easy to search, and easy to remember.
Okay, so I have what I shouldn’t do. Now, how do I go about finding a GOOD name? What if I can only come up with derivative garbage? Work Corp. Synergy Labs, Best Business.
First I like to start by setting the mood for brainstorming ideas. Relax. Be prepared to be silly. Have a beer or light some candles. Get hopped up on sugary donuts. Ready?
- First, write down adjectives you’d like people to think about when they think of your product.
- Then, write down words related to what your product does.
- Do you have a giant list of words now?
Here’s an example. For our dog recipe app, I’ll write down some adjectives: Dog, Pet, Puppy, Pup, Food, Nourish, Meal, Healthy, Delicious, Fun, Homemade, Authentic, Cook, Prepare, Create, Craft, Kitchen, Stir
- Now, let’s make that list bigger and more interesting. See if there are any words that are similar but we didn’t think of.
- Go to thesaurus.com and turn those 20 words into 100 similar words.
- Go to Google translate and turn those words into other languages. (latin, greek, sanskrit, portugese, anything sound cool here?)
- Stretch your brainstorming even further. I personally love this site: https://onym.co/
- Now you have a biiiiiiiig list of words.
- You can remove ones you don’t super like or aren’t working for you. Be brutal, slash it down to just the words that make you excited for your business.
Here are some additional words we found: Pooch, Fido, Chow, Fare, Grub, Snack, Fresh, Fit, Hearty, Make, Plan, Mix, Victus, Canis, Hundo.
- Next step. Go to Bustaname.com and put in your list to start making combos. Tinker with the word combos (first vs last), suffixes, prefixes.(Sidenote: I know this site is ugly, but it is powerful. There will be a lot of garbage in there, but also some gems. Sort for your gold!)
- You can also think about prefixes and suffixes -ly, -fy -ist. Or group combos +studio +labs + craft +bits +team.
For this exercise – Bustaname suggested pupmeal but I like the idea of MealPup – a short, quick, fun meal for your puppy, puppers, pupperino.
Now even though Bustaname has done a rudimentary url search, go ahead and google search them, social media search them, and url search them. Few competitors? Available handles? Friends can successfully type it in or pronounce it? You have a name! Time to start plastering that baby everywhere.