How to pick a good business name

I recently rediscovered The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier and found these nuggets on how to pick a good business name:

  • Distinctiveness
    Does it stand out in the crowd, especially from other names in its class? Does it separate well from ordinary text and speech? The best names have the presence of a proper noun.
  • Brevity
    Is it short enough to be easily recalled and used? Will it resist being reduced to a nickname? Long multi-word names will be quickly shortened to non-communicating initials.
  • Appropriateness
    Is it a reasonable fit with the business purpose of the entity? If it would work just as well for another entity, keep looking.
  • Easy spelling and pronunciation
    Will most people be able to spell the name after hearing it spoken? Will they be able to pronounce it after seeing it written? A name shouldn't turn into a spelling test or make people feel ignorant.
  • Likability
    Will people enjoy using it? Names that are intellectually stimulating or provide a good "mouth feel" have a head start over those that don't.
  • Extendibility
    Does it have "legs"? Does it suggest a visual interpretation or lend itself to a number of creative executions? Great names provide endless opportunity for brandplay.
  • Protectability
    Can it be trademarked? Is it available for web use? While many names can be trademarked, some are more defensible than others, making them safer and more valuable in the long run.

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