Names Matter

You know this.  I know you know this.  But I’m going to say it anyway.  Names matter.  They matter a good deal.

Last week I was driving down the highway behind a big RV.  On the back was the name of the vehicle in big, bold letters: INTRUDER.  I thought maybe it was a joke, maybe I was missing something.  I checked the dictionary.  I thought of all possible scenarios where an RV might be used, thinking that the name “Intruder” might make sense in at least one of these scenarios.  Nope.  This is just an awful name.  When you go camping you do so for the peace and quiet it offers.  You don’t want an intruder of any sort to ruin that peace.  I researched the company today and found that it wised up and is no longer making this line of RVs.

There are a lot of bad business names out there, including plenty of terrible band names.  When thinking of a name, in addition to the legals checks, I’d recommend the following:

  • Check it over with people who’s opinion you trust and who will cut it straight with you.
  • Look it up in the dictionary to see if it makes sense for your application.
  • Brainstorm a list of possibilities, keep this list and look at it occasionally, allow the best to show itself.
  • Think long term.  Be sure the name will fit various forms of your business in the future.

Idea: One creative naming solution friends and I have used is a tournament bracket.  Anytime we came up with a name we liked, we added it to a tournament bracket (like this).  We ended up with hundreds of names.  Each week we would go through the brackets and compare two names at a time against each other (as if they were competing in a game).  The winning name would advance to the next round.  This continued to the final four and then the championship where the final winner emerged.  In each round there would be a few of us voting on our favorite name so it insured that the final winner only got there through team effort.  It was a fun way to go about creating a name.  We ultimately used 4 of these names for various musical projects or businesses.

Whatever method you use, don’t rush the decision and ultimately try to find the name that you love.  Then use it.

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