The business name is the first thing your customers, and potential employees in the future will see. You want to pick one that is meaningful, authentic and represents what your business is all about. As the adage goes: “The first impression counts.”
Here are some tips for new business owners who’re picking out their business name:
Check against trademark databases and registers to ensure that your business name hasn’t been trademarked!
Tip: Look up your business name idea on search engines to ensure that you don’t pick any business name that misconstrues with another registered business.
2. Consider your business domain name
Your chosen business name almost always ends up becoming the domain name (i.e., the URL of your business website). Utilize domain lookup tools such as Namecheap or Godaddy to ensure that your ideal domain name is available! When considering your business name, as well as your domain name, think about the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) benefits you may be able to draw from it. As an example, if you are a marketing company, it’s not necessary to use ‘Marketing’ in your business name, but it can have positive effects on your search result ranking.
Tip: “.com” is still reigns supreme as the most popular Top-Level-Domain (TLD). TLDs are domain extensions - i.e., what comes after the “.”
Some TLD ideas:
.com: The most common domain extension, it is typically associated with for-profit businesses.
.info: An abbreviation for “information,” it is used for sites that are informational or educational.
.shop: Perfect for online stores, it is used for e-commerce sites or business names that include the word “shop.” It is often used as a domain extension to indicate the digital storefront of the business.
.org: This TLD, short for “organization,” is commonly used for nonprofit and charitable organizations around the world.
.tv: Ideal for businesses related to television or businesses that use a lot of video streaming, this TLD is associated with sites that include a rich media experience such as video, audio or streaming.
.me: This domain extension is great for personal brands and is fitting for a blog, resume or a personal site.
.co: An abbreviation for “company,” this extension became popular because many .com sites are already taken.
Consider the TLD for your country. Common ones include .sg for Singapore, or .au for Australia.
You may also be able to use a TLD that completes your business name such as .rs in www.leade.rs.
3. What if my business name is almost similar to a popular business brand name?
If your chosen business name includes or is similar to a popular, global brand name, this shouldn’t be a problem. As long as you don’t breach their trademarks and get yourself embroiled in a trademark war, you’re pretty much “safe” (legally!).
Tip: How it affects your business marketing strategy:
You want to plan out your business hashtags, name cards and basically all the digital aspects of your business (web designs, social media posts, etc), ensuring that they don’t clash or become mistaken for other popular, global brand names instead.
Business Brand Strategy
Section 3 discusses in more detail how your business name may affect your marketing strategy, and there we will dive deeper into it.
Why have a brand strategy?
The purpose of having a brand strategy is to demonstrate the mission and promise that your brand holds. Apple sells innovation and creativity, not computers. Harley Davidson sells freedom, and life as an outlaw, not motorcycles. Coca-Cola sells happiness and fun, not a carbonated beverage.
When you stand for something bigger than your business, you’ll be able to find your tribe and engage them in a way that makes them want to stand next to you.
Your brand strategy also helps you to fully define and understand your market, as well as how you would like to communicate to them. You, hopefully, will not always be the only one communicating with your customers, and you want the ability to translate how you would like this done to others in your organization, and sometimes vendors outside of it as well. It also has the added benefit to allow you to check your messaging or products against a North Star. When deciding if these things fit your brand, you can always reference your brand strategy document.
Plan out your digital presence and appearance
Starting with what the bigger picture is, and what you want your business to stand for, plan out how this affects your business digital presence - from your business website design, color themes, to captions, hashtags, tone, and types of social media posts.
Remember that every contact your customer makes with your business’s digital presence leaves a memory in their minds, and if you want to lead them to the bigger picture of what your business stands for, you have to plan that path out and ensure that it is consistent across all digital touch points of your business.