7 creative business naming brainstorming tips

What’s your name?

While it is common for companies to refresh their branding or, years after establishment, give their logo a makeover, it is rather uncommon for a company to completely change their name simply because they got tired of it. When it comes to business naming, you want something that will last, which is why the naming process is so critical.

If you have found yourself stuck when it comes to choosing your company’s name, here are a few creative brainstorming tips for your business naming.

7 business naming tips

Ready to come up with a business name for your new venture, but not sure where to start? Consider these creative naming tips.

  1. Perform a word dump.

  2. Try alternate spelling.

  3. Use a thesaurus.

  4. Create a mood board.

  5. Play with foreign languages.

  6. Take a drive.

  7. Hold a focus group.

Not sure which method will work best for you? Then keep reading. You can use one or multiple avenues for your next brainstorming session.

1. Perform a word dump

Find a blank piece of paper, or if you’re feeling extra bold, get yourself one of those giant sticky notepads and slap it onto a wall. Now, get ready to write.

Instead of letting your mind idly run wild for as long as possible, set your brainstorming for a specific time (we recommend one minute). By setting a time limit, any thoughts you have will bubble out, uncensored.

Word dump (aka write down) everything you can think of related to your business — and don’t hold back. Don’t worry if something doesn’t make sense or doesn’t fully correlate with your company. Have an unrestricted creative name brainstorming session and see what you come up with.

If thinking off the cuff is too open-ended for you, think of as many words as possible under these different categories: words, feelings, verbs, people, aesthetic. If it is easier for you, hold separate name brainstorming sessions for each of these categories.

Need more guidance? Here are a few questions to get your naming process going:

Feelings

  • How do you want your customers to feel about your product?
  • What kind of feelings are you trying to prevent (or) what problem are you solving?

Verbs

  • What actions do your customers take to complete a service?
  • What does your staff need to do every day to deliver a product?

People

  • Who is your typical customer?
  • How old are they?
  • What interests does your ideal audience have?

Aesthetic

  • What colors are associated with the feelings you previously listed above?
  • If you had to decorate a room for your business, how would it look?

2. Try alternate spelling

Business Naming TilesOnce you have your creative brainstorming lists, sit back and scan through each page. Highlight the ones that stand out to you. One way to tackle business naming is to start with a simple word and alter the spelling to make it more unique. Take Tumblr or Toggl, for instance. Just make sure if you go this route, your business’s name is readable.

Even if you change the spelling, your customers should still be able to decipher what your company’s name actually is.

Keep in mind that if you utilize unique spelling, when people try and search for your company, they might spell it wrong and end up elsewhere — or might not find your company at all. Consider all these variables before deciding your best option.

3. Use a thesaurus

If you have decided to ditch the spelling route, another creative business naming brainstorming tip is to take those words you highlighted and find similar words or phrases in a thesaurus. Reading through similar words might jog those academic juices and help you invent something even better.

Word to the wise: when looking through the copious amount of words in a thesaurus, don’t veer too far off the path.

 

Avoid the high school essay mistake of starting with a simple word, going seven degrees out on Thesaurus.com, and ending up with a word that has a drastically different definition than your original term. If you find a synonym you like, crosscheck to see if your original word is listed in your new word’s list of synonyms.

4. Create a mood board

Need something a little more visual? Brainstorm business naming with a mood board. If you brainstorm best when you can manipulate something physically, grab a stack of old magazines and cut out images, words, colors and people that resonate with your business.

If you think magazines are too limiting, try a virtual mood board using Pinterest.

 

Create a new Pinterest account, start a board (you can make it public or private), and start searching for fun images and quotes that best represent your company. The best part about Pinterest in comparison to magazines? You have the ability to search for what you want.

5. Play with foreign languages

Business Naming Foreign Language
Photo: Alkan de Beaumont Chaglar / CC BY-SA

If you’re hooked on a word, but perhaps find the domain is unavailable, consider finding a different translation of the word. Using a simple word in a foreign language might be the answer to your business name brainstorm.

If you go this route, make sure the word is relatively simple to pronounce. While coming up with an original business name is great, having a name that makes people scrunch their nose and say, “What?” is not conducive to successful business.

If you find a translation you like, run the word by someone who speaks the language fluently and ask them if your particular word has any alternate meanings. While Google Translate can be a godsend, it won’t necessarily tell you if a word is being used as a less-than-classy slang term. Do your research and avoid any ill-mannered connotations in the long-term.

6. Take a drive

Whether or not we realize it, our brains are constantly swarming with thoughts and ideas while we drive. If you find yourself inherently stuck, one of the best ways to simultaneously clear your mind and spark creativity is to take a long drive.

Before you go on your creative name brainstorming drive, set yourself up for success.

 

If you are able to think better when listening to instrumental music, create a playlist for your drive. If you are the type of person that works best bouncing ideas off of someone, bring a friend who doesn’t mind sitting in the car and brainstorming business naming with you (and maybe buy them lunch, just to say thanks). If you can, head somewhere a bit outside the city. It will be difficult to brainstorm business names if you are constantly yelling in traffic and trying to avoid drivers. Once you (literally) find the right path, roll down your windows, pop in your playlist or talk with your friend, and think.

Side note: You are driving. So, unless you decide to park somewhere, writing down your ideas ain’t going to cut it. Instead, use good ol’ Siri or Google Assistant and ask them to jot down your notes for you.

7. Hold a focus group

Sometimes, the best ideas arise when you have other people in the room. Holding a mini focus group can help you brainstorm business naming from scratch or it can narrow down your options if you already have a few company names in mind.

When creating a focus group, remember to diversify your participants. Combining people who are too similar in interests and dispositions can create a groupthink mentality. Make sure your group has a variety of genders, ages, ethnicities, career industries and personalities. While you might want to leave out your friend who always seems to be cracking crude jokes, they could also prevent you from naming your business something that could be twisted into an inappropriate meme down the road.

Start naming

Business naming should be fun! Use these creative name brainstorming tips to find your perfect business name and eventually, you will find something that clicks. Best of luck!

Editor’s note: As soon as you’ve got a name in mind, be sure to head on over to GoDaddy to see if the corresponding domain name is available. The last thing you want is to get set on a name that someone else already owns!


Also published on Medium.

Image by: quinn.anya / CC BY-SA

Shanna Fujii
Shanna Fujii is a colorful wordsmith published on GoDaddy, Bloguettes, Creative Market and more. When she’s not busy writing blog posts, she’s on the hunt for food that’s not good for her, knocking things off her bucket list and upcycling unique finds from the thrift shop for her clothing brand, Honey & Misfits. She’s a scary movie junkie and will never be caught without a pair of worn-in Converse. Connect with her on Linkedin.