Unlock The Potential in Discovering the Perfect Business Name

Cacique store

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Every business starts with an idea, a passion, and a name. The name must attract wary customers and establish the company's identity and purpose. It is a high bar to hit. But miss that or add confusion, and people drive on.

Like in the picture above, business owners sometimes spell out the pronunciation under the brand name because they realize people don't know how to say it. Not good. 

On a recent Facebook post of mine, Kate commented, "I was trying to have a name with broad appeal, but now I just think my store name is vague and boring." Many others shared how they wanted to change their store name. Brand-naming experts are increasingly hired for renaming efforts.

Some brands have a story and stick with a name like Vuori, which means mountain in Finnish. However, explaining what the brand carries in a store takes more work. Companies rebrand for cultural, legal, and change-of-focus reasons. When maintaining brand equity is important, they often add or delete words or maintain an identifying visual design.

This post delves into a business name's role in retail success, underscoring the importance of the selection process with some resources to help you.

Why Finding the Right Business Name Matters

Your business name is the cornerstone of your brand identity. It's your first impression to potential customers and must convey critical points about your business. A carefully chosen name can evoke a positive emotional response, create a lasting impression, and even guide consumer decisions. However, finding the perfect business name is more than just a creative endeavor; it's strategic.

One might be surprised by the name Knobs 'N Knockers, but it might be perfect for a store that sells decorative hardware. But even then, it works on the front of the building. If it was isolated as a name on a local sponsorship, it might raise eyebrows and be confusing.

What’s in a Name – Tips for Crafting an Effective Retail Business Name

The first rule of thumb when crafting your business name is to keep it simple. A good name should be easy to pronounce, spell, and remember.

The names of these businesses tell the customer what they are:

  • Best Buy
  • Whole Foods
  • Pizza Hut

Next, consider the implications of the name: does it communicate the essence of your business? Is it relevant to the industry or the services you provide? It's important to ensure your brand name resonates with your audience, captures the right emotions, and stays true to your brand's values.

Simply using your family name leaves what you do open for speculation. 

You should also consider its longevity. Will the name still be relevant as your business grows and evolves? Avoid using specific trends or buzzwords that might become outdated. Remember to check if the domain name is available first so you don't have to back away from it later.

Marty Higgins shared his experience with me when he was trying to name his cannabis store, "Bob was one of my first calls when I started in retail. He gave me some powerful, but tough advice- "change your name." He's willing to take risks with his honest approach to help others succeed. That's rare and refreshing. That's integrity. I tell the story often of how you altered the course of my company."

Sometimes you can break the rules but you have to be really committed, like Mike Cessario, founder of Liquid Water. He shared in a CNBC interview, "You kind of have to trick your brain to come up with a bad idea to truly be thinking in innovative territory,” he said. “It works really well because you start thinking, like, ‘Oh, what’s the dumbest possible name for a super healthy, safest beverage possible? Liquid Death.’ Probably the dumbest name.”

For most of us, though, telling customers what you do/carry in the simplest, most welcoming way is the best way to proceed.

Fine-tuning Your Brand Image Through a Naming Strategy

A business name is more than a set of channel letters; it reflects your brand. Every aspect of your brand strategy, including your mission, values, and target audience, should influence your naming process. For instance, if sustainability is a core value of your business, you might incorporate words related to green or eco-friendly initiatives. You would probably include green in your logo as well. 

Consider the psychological impact of the name. Certain words may elicit specific emotions in customers. Utilize this to create a compelling brand image that resonates with your audience.

A bad business or brand name confuses customers. The brain gives you but a glance to get what you offer. If it can't figure it out quickly, it moves on, and the shopper drives past. 

Knowing When to Change Your Business Name

Changing your business name can be a daunting decision. However, it becomes necessary under certain circumstances, like a significant shift in your business direction, a change in the target audience, or if your current name is causing confusion or has negative connotations.

However, any name change must be handled carefully, as it can impact brand recognition and customer loyalty. You want as many people as possible to look at your new brand, name, or logo on a piece of paper quickly and tell you what they think you are selling.

Leveraging Technology to Help with Naming Your Business

Numerous tools and platforms can assist business naming. Online name generators and translation tools can inspire and broaden your naming scope. Sometimes just tacking on your product category can help, like Dick's Sporting Goods or Raymour & Flanigan Furniture | Mattresses.

Granted, if you knew Dick's, you probably would refer to it as Dick's, but new shoppers need more information.

Going by your gut can often be wrong because we believe what we picked is great. Unless strangers know what you do just by reading your name, you have work to do. Use social media platforms and online surveys to test potential names and gauge audience reaction.

The Benefits of Legal Protection for Your Business Name

Once you have your name and it tells potential customers what you do, registering your business name and securing a trademark can provide legal protection and add credibility to your business. This can prevent other businesses from using a similar name, which could confuse your customers. It's a worthwhile investment that ensures the originality of your brand and safeguards your company's reputation.

What do you do if your business name is confusing or boring?

Sometimes, you buy or open a business and get the name wrong. What can you do with a confusing or too general name? 

One step is to create a tagline to narrow down your offer. Think Target: Expect More, Pay Less. Or Cabinets to Go: Wow, for less. 

Some try to cram the whole store into a tagline under their logo on the front window, which ends up as just a list of products like Gifts, Cards, Toys, Games, Plants, and more. But a quick read is the name of the game.

In Sum

A business name is a powerful tool in the retail world. It's more than just a tag; it's the first chapter of your brand story, influencing customer perceptions and decisions. A business name can unlock doors to retail success when meticulously selected and legally protected. Spend time and effort crafting the perfect name that encapsulates your business's essence and resonates with your customers.