The influence a name can have on a business is massive. It is the first point of reference that customers, competitors, and employees have to understand how your company represents itself in the business world and beyond, and is an essential part of your branding.
Indeed, a well-chosen name can make a company iconic while a weak one can limit growth and keep a company from being taken seriously. To illustrate how, let's look at why the name of your company wields the influence that it does and how you can make sure that your business and your brand are well represented by it.
A Company Name Carries the Reputation of a Business
Except for perhaps your logo, no other business component means so much to such a vast population – based on so little information – as your company’s name. In just a few letters or words, it establishes the identity of your organisation.
That is why simple, short, and catchy names are associated with some of the most prestigious companies in the world. Amazon, Google, and Intel are names that will not be forgotten by the business community anytime soon, and there's a reason why Quantum Computer Services changed its name first to America Online and finally to AOL.
If you are in an industry that places a premium on professionalism and an authoritative name helps achieve that, then that can be a reliable choice. Companies such as accounting firms or law offices might receive that extra clout from a strong, assertive name that might lend them the authenticity required to land more prominent clients.
Branding Begins with a Name
The name of your business will be featured on all of your products and packaging, and will be a touchstone for your entire brand strategy. Therefore, the importance of a strong brand name cannot be underestimated. A good name will help people identify the quality of your products and remember them, while a bad (or at least unmemorable) name will be quickly forgotten and ignored.
Building marketing momentum depends on having an image of your company that a customer can understand and interact with. Creating a brand identity that will sustain itself starts with having a reliable moniker: one that people can remember and share with others, either through social media or by old fashioned word of mouth.
A Bad Name Can Hold a Company Back
Many business owners fail to realise that not only can the right name elevate their business and its brand, but that a weaker name can actively constrain a company that is seeking to expand. Names that are too location-specific, for example, can limit growth by making it seem inaccessible to customers who are outside of the region that the name specifies.
That is why you need to fully evaluate your long-term goals for what you want your company to achieve over its lifetime. If you have ambitions for large scale expansion, try and pick a name that can grow with the company.
It is also worth mentioning the importance of considering how a name will fare in markets that might use a different language than the one spoken where you started your company. A name that translates poorly, whether into gibberish or something that could be offensive, will keep your company from enjoying the success it deserves in other countries. It can be trickier than you think – the English word "gift" translates to poison in German, for instance, which is not a term you would want to be associated with.
Your Company Name Influences Its Online Presence
We live in an age of super-connected social media, and your company's name is a crucial component of online campaigns that take advantage of that medium. For example, your business' name might be used as a hashtag and will also form the basis for your website's URL, so make sure that you pick a name that can be translated into an online entity easily. This is especially key in today's market, as a name that can be easily searched for is more likely to generate repeat traffic and repeat business.
All these factors mean that your name might have to change, which, while something that should be approached with caution, should not be dismissed entirely. After all, having a weak company name and refusing to acknowledge it or remedy the situation only continues to damage your company's brand. To stay competitive, you need to ensure that you are finding ways to revitalise and improve the company, even if it means a significant alteration like a name change.
A Name Tells a Story
One of the reasons that abstract names can still be effective is that it is the starting point of your company's story. In addition, abstract names that evoke a positive feeling or evoke an image of competency can help a company make a stronger first impression on potential customers.
Think of the story behind Google, for instance, which is derived from the mathematic term googol (the sum of the number ten raised by the power of 100). While this obscure origin may seem off-putting, this detail does evoke a sense of the type of data processing that have made Google the dominant figure in the era of big data.
Google is a great example of a name that allows a brand to be something much bigger than even its founders had envisioned. After all, it has even managed to turn its name into a verb – to google something is a common term for the act of searching for anything online, whether the user is actually using Google or not. This, in turn, has seen the company dominate 90% of the market share of search engines worldwide.
It is a Source of Pride
As an entrepreneur, you will be putting a large amount of your time, money, and effort into making your company successful. This is why you should find a name that you can get behind, and that represents the passion and energy you have dedicated to building a profitable business.
Indeed, your name should reflect the values that make your company stand out, as well as the mission your business has set out to achieve. It should represent why you started the company and should instil the same feeling in both those who work for your company and those who purchase goods and services from you.
Do not be afraid of asking for outside opinions when you are coming up with a company name. Be confident enough to test it against other ideas and see how it fits amongst other players in your industry. Make sure that you find a name that you can rally behind and get everyone else to as well.
Why else is it important to possess a strong company name? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below!