11 Tips to Help Brainstorm A Name For Your Startup
By: Carli Evilsizer | February 6, 2018
Agree or disagree? One of the hardest parts about launching a startup is deciding what to actually call your new company! When you have a great idea, it can seem so daunting to have to figure out what to name this idea.
Your startup’s name needs to say so much in just a word or two…. So where do you even start?? X founders share how they came up with their startup’s name and their best tips for any anyone looking for ideas and ways to get inspired to help you brainstorm a name for your new company!
1. READ HISTORY
If you don’t know where to start as your begin to brainstorm, do a little research! A great first step to finding inspiration is to research the history on the industry or the problem your startup is solving. Also, creating a name based off of a historical reference can provide a deeper meaning behind your startup’s name.
2. BE LITERAL
While having a really deep meaning behind your name tells a nice story, sometimes it’s better to not overcomplicate things! Write down what your company does in a few words as possible and use that as the name for your startup. Not only will it be easier to find a name for your company but this is actually a great SEO strategy!
“There are various ways to start process: looking at song or book titles, finding synonyms of company’s mission or goal, re-appropriating random words; in the end, for us, anyhow, we took the primary function of our company and named it after that word’s contraction: REP is an influencer marketing marketplace; a place where, essentially, anyone can find brands or businesses with whom to collaborate, by which I mean, “represent” them across their social profiles. That’s how we came up with REP.”
-Isaac Lekach CMO, Co-Founder REP
3. USE YOUR TAGLINE
While we are on the topic of keeping things simple, why not just use your tagline as your company name? Coming up with taglines can be tricky but sometimes these can be easier to brainstorm than a brand new, original and catchy company name, Using a tagline as your startup’s name will also rely the benefits of your company to customers immediately!
“It’s become fashionable to come up with creative names for companies, especially in tech over the past two decades with names like Google, Yahoo and Amazon. But I think those days have changed, it is my strong believe that in a world where attention spans are limited, the name SHOULD also display the value of the company. When developing my data based app for the music industry I waited until the concept of the app was finished then analyze what the value it brought to bands and the music industry in general. It turned out that to generate income in the music industry bands needed to monetize their fan bases but they didn’t always know where they were. Enter our app… FindMyFans. We decided to go with practical over catchy – our name is our tagline and we get to save money on marketing describing what exactly we do.”
-Ravi Ramkeesoon, CEO of FindMyFans
4. CREATE A MASCOT
Who doesn’t love a good mascot? If you like animals, one route to creating a name for your new company is to select an animal as part of your startup’s name. When thinking about animals keep in mind what the animal looks like and what the personality of the animal is. Also, having an animal as part of your company name can also help guide the design and make it easy to define your brand’s personality.
“The reason we picked Badger Maps as our company name is because I like things that are memorable, and I think that common nouns, such as animals are really memorable. I went to the University of Wisconsin, where the mascot is a Badger, so that was a perfect animal for us. I think that animals make natural mascots, and give the brand a lot of personality. The beauty of nouns and combinations of nouns is that people can visualize them. Bonus points if your name describes what you do and even better if it rolls off the tongue easily.”
-Steven Benson, Founder & CEO of Badger Maps
5. PICK 1 KEYWORD
Have one word that is essential to the problem your company is solving? Are you are just really inspired by or drawn to? Stick with that word and write down as many options as possible using that one keyword.
“8 years ago when I was brainstorming our current business name, I racked my brain for descriptive words of what we do and what we want to achieve. Since we increase ad revenues for other websites, I knew I wanted to have the word monetize in it. I predicted that monetize in the context of online would be a trending keyword (Which it has been since). Then the alliteration title came to mind: Monetize More. It's exactly what we do and want to achieve! After a quick search on GoDaddy, it was available! I've never bought a domain so quickly in my life!”
-Kean Graham, CEO of MonetizeMore
6. SLEEP ON IT
How amazing would it be if you could just go to sleep and wake up with the perfect name for your new startup? It can happen! If you aren’t as lucky as X and can’t lucid dream, it’s still possible to get inspired by sleeping on it. Spend a whole day brainstorming and writing down everything – re-write research about competitors, the problem your startup is solving and why your future customers will love your new company’s offerings. Then take a break, go to sleep and see if you can get inspired in your dreams!
“The name of Nestiny actually came to me in a dream. I had ideas for names swirling around in my head for several days and nothing was quite clicking. I wanted a name that was clever, cozy, empowering and aspirational that also encompassed homes and the spirit of achievement. That was a tall order for one word. Luckily, I'm a lucid dreamer so I can work while I sleep and my subconscious mind helped me out. The next morning I woke up with the name! I get compliments on our name all the time so I'm very proud of it.”
7. THINK NEW
If you are looking for a really unique name for your startup, you might be drawn to the idea of creating a word that doesn’t even exist yet! This is probably one of the hardest methods of coming up with a name for your startup and will require quite a bit of work but it’s not impossible.
RELATED: Naming Your Startup: 2 Ways to Create a New Word
8. TRY A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE
Have a product that is deeply connected to a certain part of the world? Look to a different language as inspiration for your startup’s name. This approach is great to provide a deeper meaning behind your company’s name and can make your products feel more luxurious.
RELATED: 3 Easy Ways to Use a Foreign Language to Name A Startup
9. ENVISION THE LOGO
Are you a very creative person? Or maybe you are building a company that will benefit creatives? When brainstorming a name, try to think about what you would like the logo to like. If you like the look of logos that are only one word you will know you should brainstorm short names.
RELATED: 5 Sites to Help Build a Startup's Brand Designs
“When brainstorming for a company name, I find it best to come up with a creative word/phrase to describe your vision or what the company actually does. Our name, SoundEvolution Music, fits because our vision is based on the phrase your music, evolved. Having the words sound and evolution in it let you know, in a creative way, what we're all about. I also consider what type of logo could possibly go with the name and how it sounds when spoken. It's all about being memorable, having a cool look and sound, and creatively describing what you do.”
10. ASK YOUR COMMUNITY
Have you already built something and have decided to give it a name? Or maybe you have a really large following on social media. Use your community to help you! Share your idea and what you are planning to do, then see if they can help brainstorm ideas. Not only will this make your job easier but it’s a great way to engage with your community and allow them to help you build your vision.
“When coming up with a name, I'd definitely do a quick Google and look at social media sites to make sure that you don't choose a name that is too competitive. Otherwise, nobody will be able to find your product! When naming Commaful, we had users already, so we reached out to our community for suggestions and ideas. Our users were able to give us an idea for how we wanted to brand the site as well as come up with suggestions.”
11. DON'T OFFEND ANYONE
Still stuck coming up with a company name? Just find something you find funny or practical that won’t offend anyone! You can’t launch your startup without a name so sometimes it’s better to just pick something that run with it. And as long as the name doesn’t offend anyone (*cough* like Bodega *cough*) and you will be off to a great start!