Devising a name for your company can be daunting but not if you follow these 6 easy steps.

So often I get asked if I am any good at coming up with names and/or tag lines. My answer is yes & no. If your brand is yours, you really are the best it as you know your brand inside out. I say yes, when I’m helping develop the positioning of the company as you can consider who your audience is, what your mission statement is & what sets you apart from competitors (actually, these are all key things to keep in mind when developing a logo as well).

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However, recently I stumbled across these 5 steps in helping people create a name


Step 1

Make a list of qualities or images you want the company name to evoke. For example, if your clothing line showcases nautical-inspired preppy duds, two of the things you want the company name to evoke could be “casual elegance” and “Nantucket summer.” Alternately, you may wish to crystallize the essence of your clothing line into a single slogan, such as, “Bringing California beach style to women around the world.”

Step 2

Brainstorm a list of potential company names by riffing off the slogan you came up with. It may be helpful to narrow down the type of name you want for your company. For example, many athletic-wear companies have one-word names made up of syllables that sound good together.

Step 3

Expand your list by going through thesaurus entries for the words you have already listed and writing down any beguiling synonyms. Other sources of outside inspiration include magazines, websites, books of myths and even novels.

Step 4

Choose your top few name candidates and investigate them thoroughly, checking for other companies using similar names, registered trademarks and even alternate meanings you may not be aware of. The latter is a particular hazard if you want to borrow a foreign-language word for your company name. Make sure you won’t inadvertently insult someone or embarrass the company with the name choice.

Step 5

Solicit input from other stakeholders, such as the clothing designer, marketing director and other company employees. Also seek out the opinions of people within the clothing line’s target market. You don’t necessarily have to convene a formal focus group — just ask a handful of people for their takes on the name.

Step 6

Select the company name that best fits your preferences and the tastes of your target market. Register a trademark, start thinking about a logo and prepare to take the next steps in launching your brand.