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A company’s name is a huge part of their overall branding. For every rule that you try to create when it comes to thinking of a name for a company, there will be a dozen examples of hugely successful businesses that are exceptions to the rules, so it’s best to just stick with rough guidelines and to understand that sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to a great name, sometimes they just kind of happen on their own.

Types of Business Names

Here’s a look at some of the various different types of business names that exist. It’s impossible to cover everything, but we’ll be taking a look at business names that describe what the company actually does along with unique names, and names that define their category.

Descriptive Business Names

Some names will describe exactly what the company does, for example General Electric is a fitting name for a company that has their hands in just about everything relating to electricity. If you’re going to walk into a Pizza-Hut, it’s pretty obvious what you can expect to find there.

Unique Business Names

On the other hand, some business names don’t describe what the company does at all. If you went up to somebody who didn’t know any better and asked them to tell you what Firefox is or what their parent company, Mozilla, makes - chances are they would never guess that it’s a web browser.

Category Defining Business Names

The famous example is how everyone uses Kleenex to describe paper tissue. A more modern example is that everyone refers to looking up something with a search engine as “Googling” it. Certain businesses are so popular and so dominant in their category that they actually define it. The name, however, still has to lend itself to this. It’s not as catchy to think of referring to something as “General Electric-ing it”

General Tips For Choosing A Great Name

Here are some popular rules of thumb for choosing a great business name, but as we said before - sometimes you’ve got to break the rules. In any case, having a visual element to your name can help a great deal with creating a brand identity. It helps if your business name is easy to spell, or if it is at least spelled like it sounds. It’s important to avoid confusion.

Companies Who Changed Their Names

Over the years, certain companies have decided to re-brand. The reasons for doing so can vary, and the results aren’t always the same, but sometimes a rebranding really pays off.

Local nightclubs: Here’s an example a lot of people can relate to. Think of the local nightclubs in your city; ever notice how they seem to change names every few years? People want to go to the newest, latest club so it’s common for nightclubs to re-design the interior, re-brand, and all of a sudden become the hot new club again.

Virgin Australia: They were originally named Virgin Blue, and were marketed as a discount airline. After deciding to target business travelers more aggressively, they changed their name to Virgin Australia. They've gone so far as to change the URL of their frequent flyer program, from velocityrewards.com.au to http://www.velocityfrequentflyer.com/

WWE: This billion dollar publicly traded company is the world leader in professional wrestling entertainment. They had to change their name from WWF due to a conflict with the World Wildlife Foundation who ultimately won the rights to keep the name, forcing the former World Wrestling Federation to become World Wrestling Entertainment.

Choosing a good name is important for business. Have a catchy, or a descriptive name like some of the companies outlined above, and you will be much more likely succeed. So it pays to give this some thought before you name your own company.

Author: Guest Blogger Anita Reid

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