Every hour, every day, some desperate attempt is underway to find a great business name for something new. A good name like magic can open unlimited doors to new customers or like a hidden disease can suck up cash flow. The majority of business fail due to lack of funds; when sales do not meet expenses, when customers do not connect with the name, when more money spent in name promotion, when names become hidden liability. There are too many options and methods of naming. 

Here is a checklist to help you stay on course.

What Are Good Names?
There is no such thing as a good name, only a right name. The name must be right to fit like a glove on value offerings and targeted fronts, deliver a knockout punch on trademark tests and ring cash registers. What appears good for one company can be a disaster for another. The majorities of business names are diluted as copycats copy copycats.

Rules of Naming:
Naming must aim to deliver the right message; the challenge will be for the message to match the name. Naming must be designed for the right customers. Naming must be fitted for the right market. Naming must blend with the right image and all this early hard work will pay throughout the life of your business. Do not take short cuts. Move to new page take the whole naming guide from the top

What a Name Is Not:
The name is not an advertising campaign. Most often, the corporate agenda becomes blind-sighted in the frenzy of a campaign and becomes swayed by names that may fit the colors or the slogan instantly but often become useless by the next season, as campaigns are changed. Advertising, branding and re-branding changes with each campaign but logos and slogans come and go. Names stay forever.

A name is not a beauty contest. Graphic renderings cause irreparable damage by covering up the problems of the name which suck up profits and lingering performance in the marketplace forever.

A name is not a song. Slogans are good, but they are not names. They are not to be confused with naming prerequisites. Most slogans become changed leaving disjointed and isolated names behind. A name is not a logo, enough said

Graphic support, slogans and ad campaigns are very essential only after the right name has been selected, registered and launched under a long term naming agenda. A naming agenda most of the time is very different than an advertising or branding theme or agency’s agenda. The naming incorporates other legal and corporate affair issues. Doing naming in reverse is to invite total disaster.

The Deadly Sins of Naming: Focus groups, freelancers, contests. Avoid the ad-hoc pooling of names from uninformed and unqualified entrants. It multiplies the risk and overthrows logical and custom approach. This only result in delays and huge legal costs at early stages of trademark screening leading to complex trademark battles

Why Meet the Naming Person? Never get swayed by the final name suggested as the outcome of a specially assembled team effort. Be prepared to forget the thoroughbred and settle for a zebra. Always, meet the person who has created the name and have an eyeball to eyeball discussion in your boardroom. Go over the rationale and reasoning to match the future goals of the project. It’s imperative to know who has named your future empire or carved a path to expensive agony. Anything else is simply the blind leading the blind. Choosing the name will be one of the most critical decisions for the organization

Naming of a Name Identity: It makes no difference what you are naming, a name is name, an identity in the end and it must work like a marketing weapon on all fronts. Don’t get swayed by the fancy term of ‘verbal branding’. These days, names are more typed than enunciated. A name is not a plastic trophy to stand on an altar. It’s a living organism to drive your complex and global marketing future.

The notion that company naming is different from casual product or service naming will only result in post-launch embarrassment. Follow the right procedures, each and every naming situation, and each and every time. The higher the profile of the image, the more responsibility is needed to find the right methodology. All naming issues are serious issues.

Free Names Are Most Costly: Creating a name through random internet research and skimming over the yellow pages, you are creating an invitation to future legal problems. A decade ago you would get away with any kind of name and hoped it would become a darling sooner or later, but not any longer. The complex varieties of so many platforms the name has to skate on, from print to cyber from basic domain to gTLD platforms, all demanding special skills. Become an expert on global domain name expansion and study ICANN gTLD domain name opportunities and threats.

Be very careful when relatives and friends chip in, they mean well but have no clue about legal costs and long term future challenges of a name in your very market place. Casual naming is most dangerous.

Follow the procedures, rules and laws of corporate nomenclature, and all the related issues from trademark registrability to languages and phonetics to secondary connotations and marketing implications. If you really like naming, why not become an expert, get some formal education and training and commit yourself like any other profession.

Creating Marketing Weapons:

Naming is positioning; if you have already identified a special path to arrive and know how to achieve the right name vehicle to get you there.

Naming is branding; if you know the acute differences between branding and advertising and can count on bold value creation decisions.

Naming is marketing; if you can identify the intricate path and handle such marketing weapons.

Naming is Image; if you know the options and select the precise style with reasons for that desired image.

Naming is everything; if you know what’s 100% exclusive ownership of a name identity only then can you understand the infinite power of this thinking.

Identify Naming Philosophy
The Most Critical Issue; there are several schools of thoughts on selecting a name. Make sure you understand these drastically different schools, select one close to your corporate personality, marketing strategy and target goals but be fully aware of the options. This phase will consume most of your energy, but expect good results. The best way to ensure long-term peace of mind is to tackle the philosophical implications head on this way the outcomes of various methodologies will prepare you in advance.

Naming Expertise & Prerequisites: The role demands a solid experience of previous naming that clearly demonstrates successful national, and most importantly, global launches. First timers to naming projects must show formal education on national or global naming issues, full understanding of trademark issues, domain name registration and cyber squatting problems, understanding of key languages, translation and deep appreciation of global marketing challenges and gTLD aftermarket.

The above are the minimum requirements to justify dabbling in a significant naming task. Such capabilities require skills to interface legal and global complexities involving domain names. Trademark expertise component demands successful trademarks and Intellectual Property practice with diverse national and global naming experiences. Acquire a deeper understanding of the real ownership of a name identity. Clarify if the naming team has any idea of typical litigation cost in a trademark conflict, and the branding and re-branding costs to support bad names, and the PR cost when names cause public embarrassments for becoming jokes. Anyone can come up with a name. Anyone can fly, but a frequent flier is neither qualified nor trained to fly a jumbo jet.

Five Star Standard of Naming: Global naming expertise must demonstrate deeper understanding of corporate nomenclature and also be ready to face the truth the Five Star Standard of Naming.

Name Evaluation Report: Figure out why the management is so scared of a name evaluation report; what are the hidden issues that everyone is so afraid of.

Welcome to the Most Commonly Used Methodology. Under the common silo approach where focus groups, freelancers and creative teams pool together a large list of names, in another silo legal teams do the expensive screening, while far away the marketing branding teams assess the suitability, while the CEO at the top floor in the end throws it all out and process starts all over again. Sound familiar?

Symptoms of Bad Naming: All the good names are gone, really? This is just a myth successfully created by people who are not really qualified for this mandate. Nevertheless, if the excitement of a naming exercise becomes the topic of wild chit-chat at the water-cooler, the dangerous symptoms should become obvious. The naming teams or the namers end up with a special type of name. For example:

A cute name to make the naming team feel good; a trendy name to feel safe, a catchy name to feel smart, a complex name to feel genius, a misspelled name to feel literal, a goofy name to feel hip, a borderline crazy name to feel rebellious, a dramatic name to feel sexy, a totally nonsense name to feel overly creative.

Naming Is Not a Creative Exercise: It’s a very serious black and white tactical maneuver of key issues of corporate nomenclature rules, trademark implications and several related skills applied with a long term sober analysis to avoid wasted legal and name justification battles. Simple analogy, it’s not like a game of Scrabble, but more like drafting a 200 page leasing agreement

This is why 95% of names end up becoming more of a liability. The minute the gloss disappears and the realities of legal and marketing issues start biting the cash flow is the point where the shortcomings of the name should become obvious.

Step By Step Choosing a Name: As a dry run, explore the following constraints and qualifiers: A name must be easy, a name must match the idea, a name must be suitable, a name must be memorable, a new name must be available, a name must be registrable, a name must be trademark-able, a name must be globally protectable, a name must have a matching dotcom, a name must be able pass gTLD application, a name must match the targeted concepts and goals. Who’s laughing now? This scrutiny is not funny at all. It’s a very serious headache if the project is worthy enough to play out any significant role in the national or global market. Apply such standards to any name you see around you right now. You will realize the logic behind the argument.

Big Questions of Today: Why do you already have too many or too few names? When did you have a formal name evaluation report? Under what nomenclature guidelines you have structured multiple names? What is your domain name management policy? What is the real power of your domain name?

If you missed a matching dotcom what price are you paying for not having it? What is your long term policy to deal with ICANN gTLD dot brand issues? Study the ICANN gTLD in some depth and do not get scared by the high ticket price. A dot name brand could worth millions of dollars is played properly.

What are your new options to create sub-domain brands under new gTLD dot names? What expertise have you assembled to deal with your names on social media? When will your teams be able to achieve market domination via name identity? When will you have designated people to tackle all such issues? What strategic planning do you need today to correct such issues?

Trademark Evaluation – Naming is no longer a simple exercise. It was decades ago. Unless you have free flowing funds to fight out trademark battles in courts, you may consider the following tips for success. Every final name of choice, no matter how and why created must be checked with a trademark attorney to ensure a smooth passage to success. Determine all the costs, and identify all the landmines and pitfalls well in advance. There is nothing more embarrassing when after great fanfare and hoopla the names suddenly go bust when court orders of cease and desist is delivered to the business owners. At this stage the creative agencies suddenly disappear. More businesses are forced to change their name right in the middle of their first success and very often fail to survive the impact of sudden image shift and forced name change. Therefore the cuteness of naming adventure must be analyzed based on future threats. Trademark registrability opinion can make or break the future of your name identity. Seek out professional help and face future problems well in advance.

Agencies & Branding Services - When using advertising and branding agencies strictly focus on naming; when checking their portfolio always check each and every name developed by them on Google and formulate your own decision based on how the name stands out among others and how valuable the name is as a proprietary asset. Always asked direct and focused question on why and how those name were developed and by whom. Only if you can meet the person who was responsible for that great name or that unfortunate bust you can decide whether such a person has the depth and skills to tackle your project and ensure the long term success of your journey. Otherwise, what’s the difference; why not shoot in the dark and let the Joe-public or Internet crowd-source name your cherished project. Remember, fancy or dictionary words commonly used by others have no value. Never get swayed by graphic and slogans as they only enter the picture after successful naming. Do not make a decision unless you have personally checked out the typical prices of name-conflict trademark litigation costs and name change makeover costs during any critical marketing campaign. At this stage, bite the bullet and make the right decision. You must clarify if your business concept demands a make or break name identity to ensure super success or a quick name just to start the business. There is a huge difference in both thinking. Be honest and open about it. Select the right team.

Name Evaluation – Basic: Here are the obvious and basic issues. How does your brand name identity sound on the phone? How about its sound to global customers? Ouch? Is the name high recognizable, truly? Is the name very distinct, honestly? Why the name is too long, and with more than one or two words? If you missed the dotcom, where is the power of your domain name? Why can your name be spelled in 10 different ways? Is this the main reason no one can find it on Google? How naked is the name on social media without logo or slogan? Where does this name fit for a gTLD dot name? But why and how will it circumnavigate all the new-age of internet issues?

Name Evaluation Report – What rules of corporate nomenclature apply to your name favorably? What are the positive or destructive features in your name’s alpha-structure? What percentage of your advertising dollars is being wasted? What hidden messages is your name emulating? At what point in time will your name become a liability? What are the opportunity losses and name visibility options? Why and how will the gTLD game change the destiny of your name brand? How why and when should you modify or change the name identity? Who are the direct beneficiaries of your poorly structured name?

Great Success Is Assured: Study the subject and craft very well and you will have great success. Ask very bold questions and always take a long term view. The right name can work for an organization over the next decades. Study the philosophical side of corporate naming and nomenclature rules. Become very comfortable with the laws and rules of global name protection Make sure you know the real reasons and justification behind your names. Name Evaluation Report will be able to show you the future of your name identity. On the other hand, if possible, aim to become a world-class business naming expert