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As a marketing speaker and marketing coach, clients often ask me for branding and naming advice to help create a great company name.

Where do awesome business names come from?

Names like…

  • The Cookie Machine
  • The Video Advisor
  • CareerNavigator
  • SalesGPS
  • The Coffee Hangout
  • Guitars After Dark
  • The Fitness Foundry

I’ve seen solopreneurs and companies go through the branding/naming (or re-branding/re-naming) process smoothly and efficiently in less than a week – and I’ve also seen train wrecks that needlessly dragged on for months.

How to get started

First, take a look at two blog posts to help you set the stage for an easy, effortless, enjoyable naming and branding process:

Instant Branding Toolkit

Building Your Brand Sandwich

How not to screw it up

Here are some ideas to dig into for the “how” or “do’s and don’ts” of the naming process…

  1. At first, sit down with your leadership team. No spouses. No customers. No low-level employees. 5 people maximum.
  2. Generate ideas for your raw branding/naming “building blocks” (as outlined in my “Instant Branding Toolkit” blog post)
  3. Work over the list until you have 10 strong candidates.
  4. Whittle the list down by eliminating 5 of them – the process is “1 vote to eliminate.” If there are no objections from the rest of the group, it’s gone. If there are objections, then it is up to those individuals to argue the case for “saving” that name until the vote is unanimous either way. This voting/defending process makes things go MUCH faster. And it gets you to focus on much stronger names faster. 
  5. With your top 5 candidates, do a customer survey. Not your spouse, your brother-in-law, your Uncle Marvin who used to be an ad agency exec, not your sister who is a brand manager for Tide. Actual, real, live customers. 
  6. Take the top 2 scoring names from the customer survey and do an in-house survey with your own team. Use ONLY customer-facing executives. Sales reps are great. Customer service people are great. Field service people are great. Ask them two simple questions: 1. “Given what you know of our customers and prospects, which one of these two names will resonate with them the most?” 2. “Why?” 
  7. Compile your results, make your decision, announce your winner, and start your transition to your new name. 
Boom – done!

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