Branding 2: Choosing A Name

“What’s in a name?” asked Shakespeare. “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.” When you stop and think about it it’s true isn’t it? If a gun was pointed to your head, what exactly does Nokia mean…or Apple? If you had never heard of Mcdonalds would you assume it sold Burgers, you would Burger King no doubt. There are many schools of thought when it comes to naming your business…

The Domain

It seems odd but nowadays more businesses are named after what domain was available rather than anything else. Despite the plethora of options you would imagine must be out there, it can be extremely frustrating when all the options you had brainstormed are not available. Generally speaking .com is the main one to go for and then whatever domain extension is your country for example One thing I would generally avoid is hyphens in your domain…because you WILL have to tell every single person that there’s a hypen there! Sometimes it’s necessary for example if your business is called Kids Exchange, then your domain might want a hyphen in-between those two words.

What You Do

The most obvious starting point is trying to form you business name around what you do. This will probably make it harder to get a domain and may already be taken. People have a slightly backwards idea when it comes to generic names I think. People think if they are called Wire Extruders, then anyone looking for Wire Extruders will come to them (afterall it’s in their name!) I think though this actually makes it harder to stand out above other companies and is actually less distinct. Coke own 90% of the soft drinks market but if they called themselves Soft Drinks Company…it wouldn’t work for some reason. Coke is a much bigger brand. As mentioned before, businesses do have a habit of changing what they do naturally over time and having a name tightly connected to a particular service may need changing only a few years down the line.

Your Name Here

Popular option if you are starting off on your own or know you only plan to be a freelancer. The disadvantage of this is of course that it makes you seem a little small and ties the fate of the company to your own reputation. It also makes it slightly more difficult to add in other people, although has hardly been a problem for WH Smith.

The Abbreviation

Another option for those creative minds is to put two words together to form a new one. For example Microsoft is a combination of Microcomputer and software. This might make your company a little difficult to spell but could be a good option so long as the logic is clear.

The Abstract

Last but certainly not least is the abstract option. Funky Pigeon and Moonpig are two examples that spring to mind. The idea with these unconventional names is that they stand out and are more easy to remember. I think this suits a certain type of business, most often B2C and is not necessarily suited to a more corporate service.


There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to naming your business. Generally speaking you want something that is memorable and should give people a flavour of what you do for a living. Just make sure it’s not taken!