What's in a name?
As a fractional CMO, I work with founders, CEOs, and COOs to build a high-performing marketing infrastructure for their company or startup. One of the first questions they often ask is about the importance of the company's name. Many founders want to know what factors to consider when naming their startups.
The Importance of a Startup Name
Yes, the name is important. It kickstarts the positioning process:
- Duracell signifies a battery with high durability.
- Edge implies a razor that shaves close to the skin.
- Marketo represents marketing automation.
- Gong evokes the sound of winning.
Although it's possible to change the name later, it's a challenging process.
Three Types of Names
- 𝐃𝐞𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐩𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 - Clearly communicates what you do
- Toys R Us sells toys.
- GitHub is a hub for git repositories.
- Booking.com is all about booking accommodations.
- Descriptive names can be limiting for a startup since they may not allow for future growth or changes in focus. They work well if you're certain about the niche you want to dominate.
- 𝐒𝐮𝐠𝐠𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 - Hints at what you do or why you do it
- Gong helps you win.
- Firebolt suggests blazing speed.
- Lemonade plays off the saying "when life gives you lemons."
- In my opinion, suggestive names are the best choice for startups. They offer preloaded value without being too limiting, allowing for flexibility as the company evolves.
- 𝐀𝐛𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭 - Doesn't have an obvious meaning but can be shaped to represent anything
- Apple is a fruit.
- Nike is the name of a Greek goddess.
- Google is a misspelling of a large number.
- Abstract names aren't limiting but also don't come with any preloaded value. This means you'll need to invest more effort into educating your audience about your brand.
Why I Prefer Suggestive Names
Personally, I find suggestive names to be the most effective for startups. They strike a balance between conveying the brand's value and allowing room for growth and evolution. A suggestive name can help your startup stand out and create a memorable impression on your target audience.
What's your take on the ideal startup name? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.