Tag Archives: creating a business name

Creative Business Names-What To Avoid

Most creative business names function to redirect our attention, from whatever we’re doing to a company name that we suddenly cannot ignore, for whatever reason. Whether it is a minor pun on words or a hilarious business name concept that has us doubled over with laughter, the element of distraction (over and above a name that is simply descriptive or catchy) can serve to garner attention and possibly create customers from people who otherwise might never have been aware of our business.

It is true that generating a business name that is truly memorable and creative will imbue it with an additional stickiness in the minds of people who hear it. It is also true that for any new business fighting so hard to get established in the first six months to one year of its existence, catchy business names that really “work” can make all the difference vis-à-vis the general visibility of the company, compared to names that fall flat. However, there is a limit to just how far you should go in getting creative with a business name, and at least two constraints that you would do well to observe as you try so hard to come up with a business name worthy of your efforts. By the way, are you familiar with the convenient business name generation tools you’ll find all over the Net? These are often semi-automated tools and they are handy for coming up with cool business names that work for you.


The first caveat that you as a business owner should keep in mind is that creating business names should not be an exercise in delving into obscurity. There is a limit to how creative you want to get with your business name because if there are complex allusions to abstract concepts, ancient Greek or Latin roots, or literary or historical figures, etc. then your name risks going completely over the heads of people who might otherwise take an interest in the product or service you are offering. If you look at creative business names that have successfully gain a foothold in the general public consciousness, such as Apple, Nike, Volkswagen or Visa you will find names that work on different levels both superficially as well as on some deeper-or even profound-manner.

The second constraint that will affect the way you come up with an initial selection or list of creative business names boils down to simple economics. As critical as a business name will be to every advertising campaign you ever undertake in whatever medium, spending too much money on a creative company name can be a mistake if it leaves your new business strapped for cash. Even a cursory search on the Internet will reveal dozens of companies touting their services as branding geniuses who can easily supply you with a name that perfectly fits your business. The problem is that the cost of purchasing creative branding services like this can run into the thousands of dollars quite easily, possibly leaving your new business hobbled in terms of cash flow and being unable to meet unforeseen expenses.

With regard to the second point, you must keep in mind that you cannot simply rely on a marketing firm to come up with examples of creative business names from which you can simply select. You’ll have to be involved in this process, and in fact you should be involved, because naming any business is a subjective exercise and no one has a clearer idea of the brand you are in the process of creating-and putting so much time and money into-than you do.

The best business names will always strike a balance between being overtly catchy on one hand while still “working” if one reflects on the deeper meaning of the name. In fact, the more successful your business gets the more likely it is that you’re customers as well as the general public will “get” the slightly hidden meaning that usually exists with creative business names, and this can work for you, almost as though your name is an inside joke of which people are privileged to be a part.