Practical Test for Strong Company Names

Check your name ideas with these quick tips

You've already brainstormed, stretched your creativity and come up with lots of name ideas for your new company? If not: have a look at the NameRobot business name generators. But if you have already taken the first step, you are now faced with the crucial question: Which name among all the ideas is the right one for your company - i.e. the name under which you will be successful later on?

One thing is already said: Take enough time for this step. A hasty decision so close to your goal would be fatal. We show you which aspects are important and which questions you should ask yourself when choosing the right company name.

The bigger the choice...the more important are the right criteria!

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It may sound strange, but the question of whether you "like" a name or not is often not the real deciding factor in the end. You probably imagine that you come across THE name while brainstorming, immediately fall in love with it and know exactly: That's the one!

Most of the time, however, it is more difficult because a single name rarely meets all the criteria that are important for a strong company name. The name has to be a superhero with umpteen superpowers: Sounding good, catchy, internationally pronounceable, innovative, sustainable, unique...

Do you see how difficult it is to fit all these qualities into a single word or two? First of all, keep in mind that a name can never meet all criteria. Therefore, it is important to select the criteria that, after careful consideration, are the most important ones for your project.

Make a table with all the evaluation criteria and evaluate each name idea according to these criteria. You can also use a different color for each criterion and assign points in that color. Advanced users can also weight the individual criteria differently. In the end you have a good overview of the possibilities and can decide more clearly for the right name.

But which criteria are the most important? In the following, we distinguish between quantitative and qualitative criteria for the selection of the right business name. This also applies to blog names and all other projects where you want to address others.

Quantitative criteria - The name in numbers

namescore-checkYou can quickly find out the ratings for the quantitative criteria with the help of the NameScore business name check, for example. There you get tangible numbers with which a ranking of the names can be created quickly and clearly. You then only have to decide how important each criterion is to you. Quantitatively important criteria that can lead to the exclusion of a name idea are:

  • Is the name idea (identical or similar) already registered as a trademark? Check all trademark databases necessary for all relevant countries. For example, to check trademarks protected in Germany, you need to check German trademarks, European Union trademarks as well as IR trademarks.
  • Are there still domains available for your name idea? Do you only need a national or an international domain? The Domain Check gives you concise information on domain availability. If the common domain extensions (top level domains) are registered, there are exciting new possibilities available. Read more about this in our blog post Demon Domain - or how to find a suitable TLD.
  • Is the name already used on the Internet? How many results does the name idea produce on Google & Co. The fewer relevant search engine hits you find for this name, the better!
  • Is the name idea already taken as a profile or username in social networks? Nowadays, almost any term is somehow in use on social networks. So you should check carefully whether the hit is really relevant. Maybe you are lucky and the name is used for a completely different subject.

Qualitative criteria - It's all in the mix

generatoren_illuThe qualitative criteria require your full attention once again for the evaluation. They cannot simply be pressed into numbers, but must be evaluated with a mixture of feeling, background knowledge and common sense. The most important criteria are summarized here as well:

  • Does the name evoke positive or other desired associations? What do you think of first when you read or hear the name? You can also ask other people about their spontaneous associations. But beware of overly subjective statements. The feedback should be well-founded and justified.
  • Does the name fit the strategy and the characteristics you consider important for your company or project? Does it sound more serious or funky? Powerful or cute? Does it leave room for future expansion or does it limit the scope of the business? These criteria are very important. After all, the name should fit the strategy, brand direction and identity of the company. If you haven't given it much thought yet, now is the time - BEFORE the final name selection. Because if the name doesn't actually fit the company's philosophy, you'll probably have to change it again at some later point in time, at great expense and time-consuming.
  • Is the name easy to pronounce? Does it sound good? Is it also easy to understand on the phone or in a radio commercial? If you have to explain every time in several sentences how the name should be written or understood, this can be annoying. But it can also be just the way to evoke an "aha" effect. So think carefully about the effect you want to achieve.
  • Can the name idea also be used internationally? Does the name perhaps mean something negative in another language? There are many well-known negative examples, such as the Audi e-tron (étron means "pile of excrement" in French) or the curling iron called "Mist Stick" (= bitch), which flopped in Germany. A professional language check with native speakers and a search for hidden words or swear words will help to avoid falling into this trap.
  • Is the name unique, does it stand out from the competition, or does it sound similar to many other names in the market? Even if there are no concerns from a brand perspective, the very nature of the name can seem like an imitation. For example, there have been hundreds of startups through the well-known name Spotify that end in -ify and are likely to sound outdated soon. So try not to fall into a "me-too" or trend trap just because the name or a company is cool and successful at the moment.
  • If you want to be on the safe side, you can of course ask for other opinions. Here, however, be careful that the respondents also judge according to relevant criteria and do not just decide according to "I like" or "I don't like" or because a name is similar to the grumpy cat from the neighbor. Also, don't ask too many people, because mass voting almost never results in the strongest or most innovative name.

Our tip: Let the people vote individually, in writing and in any case anonymously in a survey and also in a joint meeting. If negative statements are made prematurely in an open discussion, a name is quickly branded and the others are influenced by it. You can find more tips on this in our blog posts "How to lead a name discussion" and "How to decide on a name".

And which name will it be in the end?

Namensideen vom Anwalt prüfen lassenAll questions have been answered, all criteria have been defined, all checks have been carried out. Probably a favorite name has already emerged by now. If there are still several names on the list that have made it this far - great! Then you can compare again at your leisure and evaluate personally. Because in the end it is your "baby" and only you can decide in the end which name is ideal for your project. And: Even after the best consideration and examination, it could still happen that, for example, a problem unexpectedly arises during the trademark application. It's good to have one or more favorites in the race.

If you want to make sure that you haven't forgotten any important points, go through the 10-point checklist for the right company name again. Then really nothing can go wrong.

Despite all the preliminary checks, have your name idea checked by a specialized lawyer. If you have already done some work on your own, you are more likely to get the green light from the lawyer and not have to check several names, which would cause unnecessary costs. The trademark attorney finally clarifies questions such as:

  • Can the name idea be protected at all? For which areas and in what form (word or word-picture trademark)? Even if the trademark check did not produce any relevant hits, it may be that a name is simply not protectable because, for example, it is "purely descriptive" of the activity. What does that mean? For example, one cannot have the term "car sales" protected for a car dealership because this is purely descriptive of the activity and not a name. The lawyer checks such things and tells you whether trademark protection makes sense at all.
  • Does the company name really not infringe any earlier rights? Trademark law is really complicated and even if you are sure that you have not found any already registered trademarks, the devil is sometimes in the details: For example, if you have a "y" in your name, you have to try the same one spelled with an "i". Or, in the case of a double letter, check the spelling with only one letter. Even just adding and omitting a letter or exchanging up to two letters in the name can lead to similar names that are already protected. You should not underestimate this in any case and rather play it safe.
  • Is the name possibly misleading or can it not be used at all because it contains, for example, "American...", "Institute..." or "Doctor..."? There are terms that may not be used in the name without further ado, such as designations of origin or protected terms like "organic". Here, too, a lawyer can help you before you even register your name as a trademark.

Hooray, the perfect business name is here!

And now? After you have decided on one, your name, do not forget the following points:

  • Apply for trademark protection in all desired protection areas.
  • Secure your desired domains. Consider which domains you really need and which you don't. Are there creative alternatives?
  • Save your social media profiles. Even if it takes a while until you become active there, no one can snatch your new name away from you until then.

Finally, a tip: Don't completely throw away or delete name ideas that were discarded during the naming process. There's a lot of thought in there, and who knows, maybe you'll soon need a name for a follow-up product, a branch, or another project. There are thousands of other ideas in a naming process!

Looking for creative name ideas?

With NameRobot's name generators and tools you can find the dream name for your company, product or project.



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