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The Name Is the Game

By the time clients reach our door, they have a business with a name. Occasionally, a client shows up asking for help choosing a business name, which challenges our creative skills — and our practical ability.

A business name often is the first point of contact with a customer. You go to a grocery store with a name. You select a gas station by name. You pick a bank by name. So names matter.

But what matters most is what that name stands for. Most people would have no difficulty differentiating between Wal-Mart and Whole Foods Market. Both sell food but offer very different value propositions, not to mention almost totally different product selections.

Wal-Mart and Whole Foods Market have had time to develop and hone their reputations. New businesses start fresh, so it is important their names do some very basic things for potential consumers:

Say What You Do

It may seem obvious, but one of the most essential functions of a business name is to make clear what products or services you provide. If you are starting a bank, your business name should include the word "bank," just like a credit union would want to signal it is a "credit union." If you don't say what you do or sell, your potential customers may glide by on the street or online never knowing. 

A Name to Remember

A business name needs to provide the sizzle in the steak. Chances are there are other businesses that do what you, so you need a name that stands out and attracts interest. If you are opening a fast food restaurant featuring hamburgers, you will be competing against Burgerville, Burger King, Five Guys, McDonald's and more. Maybe your best shot is "Ultimate Burger."