When it comes to creative brainstorming all ideas are allowed, no idea is too weird or outlandish and in general: There is no bad idea! But then what to do with a bunch of ideas that are perhaps a bit extravagant or impractical, or where you end up being the only one who understands the joke behind it? It is often similar when it comes to finding a name for a company. All ideas are good at first, but in a second step they must be checked and, if necessary, changed to make them easier to understand. Comprehensible names increase the recognition value and ensure the long-term success of a business.
A Name That Speaks for Itself
What distinguishes a comprehensible company name from other names? Nobody wants a name that is incredibly long, hard to pronounce and practically a tongue twister. A concise name, on the other hand, not too long and not too short, which is also easy to remember and easy to pronounce, is at the top of the wish list for a name. A company name should therefore be "simple" and at the same time stand out from the competition: realtor.com, realestate.com, realtytrac... it is difficult to distinguish here whether these companies all belong together or whether they are different providers. For the customer, this rather gives the impression of arbitrariness and interchangeability.
A name that is perceived as unique clearly distinguishes a company from its competitors. This increases overall attention and contributes to the lasting success of a company. So when it comes to finding a name, it's best to take a more unusual approach and not to stick too closely to the obvious or the "buzz"-words of the industry - such as "real..." for property. By the way "Zillow" is the most successful real estate portal in the USA and has a very unique name, a portmantau. It is a blend of zillions and pillow.
Sometimes a meaning can only be recognized at second glance, especially if it is a word that is easy to understand but not descriptive. The best example of this is probably the most famous "lexical" name: Apple. A short and generally known word that now stands for an innovative, trend-setting technology company. Other examples are insurance companies that call themselves (Happy) Friday or Lemonade. Both are words that have nothing to do with insurance per se, but which everyone knows and thus create a positive image of the company name. Friday is the day before the weekend and lemonade refreshes and tastes delicious. Comprehensibility does not only mean that you can immediately recognize what the name is all about, but that the term itself is easy to understand, has a positive connotation and you do not get "stuck" with its pronunciation or spelling.
The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating
How do you find out whether the chosen name is also well received by the customer? First, it makes sense to pronounce it out loud yourself and ask yourself what the name sounds like. Is it easy to speak or is it a tongue twister? How would a Frenchman or an Englishman pronounce the name? Is a professional language check at a translation agency worthwhile? This is a step you should consider if you are planning to enter the international market with your business.
Next, you can call in colleagues or friends and ask them to pronounce the name. It is also useful to do a test run on the phone. This way you can find out how the new company name is received when you call: does the person on the other end of the line repeatedly ask how the name is pronounced or does one understand it right away when one hears it for the first time? This provides a first indication of whether the new company name is easy to understand or needs explanation.
Of course, it can also be helpful to survey to find out how the majority of respondents pronounce the name spontaneously or what associations the name evokes in them on first hearing. If the name sounds nice but arouses mostly negative associations, one should perhaps take a step back in the process of finding a name. Caution is advised, however, with surveys that only aim at subjective perception. Unusual or novel names are seldom understood correctly at the first attempt and in such surveys the familiar is often preferred to the unusual. You can find more information about this in the blog post "How to decide on a name".
Finally, a tip: Many unusual names are popular and perceived as great if the companies behind them became successful and pursue a good brand strategy. At the beginning, who would have rated a strange name like "Google" as positively as they do today? So, do not be afraid of unusual names or approaches. In the end, success speaks for itself – and for the name!
How important do you find the comprehensibility of a company name? Is comprehensibility more important than uniqueness?