That’s My Name, Don’t Wear It Out.

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Developing a name for your company, product, or service is often as hard as, or sometimes even harder than, naming your child. (Unless you’re a celebrity—and, in that case, it’s as simple as picking out any inanimate object in the room.) While you want your name to stand out, you don’t want your “child” to be picked on for the rest of its life. Here are a few tips that can help you become a proud parent of a memorable brand:

Say It… Don’t Desecrate It.

In the era of texts and IMs where you LOL or BRB, it may be temping to call your company Phones4U or Pizza GR8TNESS. But, most of the time, it’s safer to assume that your audience can spell and will, in fact, appreciate a name that doesn’t insult their intelligence. Additionally, misspelling your name to get a unique URL isn’t a great idea either. If you’re lucky, you’ll just make your target think you’re incompetent. What’s worse is that you could drive traffic to the site of the company with the correct spelling. Don’t believe me? Just as SynchSource or Sync Source. PS: Gyms called “Inursha” just make you think too hard to get it.

Oh La… Nah.

A Norwegian family isn’t likely to name their newborn son “Jesús.” Unless your brand has a distinct foreign heritage or concept, such as “La Madeleine,” a name like “Le Tire King” is just going to get giggles. And in some parts of the country, it’ll also get your ass kicked. Another note: Treat accents with the same respect. An umlaut in your name doesn’t make you any more metal than wearing green makes you a frog.

Stop Copying Me!

We’ve all been there when the teacher calls out, “John!” and five kids say, “Here!” all at the same time. While you want your company or brand name to blend in, you don’t want it to be too much the same. It will probably help to research some of the trends in your marketplace, before determining if you really want to follow any of them. This is especially true when you consider that you’ll also want a unique URL, and, frankly, “nothingspecialhere.com” might not get you the attention you want.

Leave Your Dungeon Master’s Guide On The Bookshelf.

Names like “Nike” and “Mercury” prove that the annals of mythology are popular fodder for name searches. But, Lord of the Rings was so 2001. And after a few rounds of copyright checks, you’ll likely find that most car companies have run this concept into the ground. So if you don’t have an idea that’s really different or honestly makes sense, you shouldn’t name your organic fast food chain “Debranua” (the Celtic goddess of speed and fat) or your high-end cleaning business “Fetket” (the Egyptian sun god’s butler). (Really, I’m not making this up.)

Don’t Be A Glutton For “Punishment.”

While something like “Play Grounds” might work if you’re combining a coffee bar with an on-site playground—“Bean There Done That” or “Perks For Me” probably aren’t going to fly. If you’re not careful, you’ll wind up sounding like Pauly Shore, when you were really aiming for George Carlin. People don’t mind clever, but they really hate stupid. Make sure you understand your target’s tolerance level for funny versus cheesy, and you’ll be fine.

It’s Not Just About You.

In all fairness, your “child” is the one who really has to live with the name that they’re given. In branding, your audience members are the ones who you’ll look to for approval. Basically it comes down to the fact that if they don’t get it, they won’t buy it. In essence: Keep it simple, or kiss your fans good-bye.

Remember a name lasts forever. With expert assistance from Creative Squall, you can develop a name that will play well with your customers while keeping the bullies at bay. After all, why not have them go steal someone else’s lunch money?

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