Does a business name really matter?

Establishing your business name is a big deal. Not only will it be the mark and identifier that you will promote for the rest of your business’ life, but it can also say a lot about who you are, what era you were established and how forward-thinking you are. Your business name says a lot about your company and it could be helping, or hurting your business.

When many entrepreneurs venture into business, the norm is for them to come up with a business name they like. While it may be their right to do so, it may not always be the right thing to do.

I was recently stuck in traffic and I couldn’t help but notice the name Cocorico Limited boldly branded on the driver’s door of a light truck. It brought back memories of childhood. You see, that is the sound we would make when we were imitating the cockerel’s crow. ..cocorico..!!

This got me thinking, the choice of company name for this particular business evoked an unintended positive emotion and unknowingly made me associate the business with poultry. Whether or not that is the kind of business the firm is into remains in the annals of history. Your business name can drive (or impede) your business’ growth. Business names should be short and memorable.

So why does business name matter?

1) The name is first thing that people hear when you tell them about your company.
At best, it signals maturity and relevance; at worst, a lack of vision, attention to detail and creativity. Before you can even finish your pitch, people are already making judgments of your company, and bad names can be a real distraction to important conversations.

2) The name is important for discoverability.
Whether in Google searches (10% to 50% + of site traffic, depending on the category), the App Store (especially painful in iOS6) and other text-based discovery channels. If it’s too hard to spell, or too similar to something that already exists, chances are that people won’t find you, and you’ll lose a good chunk of your potential business.

3) The name is also a conduit to an emotional connection with your users.
Good names — like good logos — evoke strong passion for your brand, while bad names elicit distaste and indifference. Using the former can be a competitive advantage for your company, especially when feature sets are roughly the same.

4) Finally, remember your brand name will probably be used online.
If it is descriptive enough, the name alone can generate interest in your website. If your name is not descriptive, try having a graphic in your logo that makes it super obvious what your business does. Think of your logo as a constant marketing tool.

So next time you venture into a new business or develop a new product, leave your branding to a professional. What do you think, does a business name really matter?