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“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” writes William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet. This gem of logic is what Juliet puts to the universe, but the reality of her situation (and what is true for the real world) is that the name remains, no matter how many roses live and die.

Aside from enjoying an excuse for a brief trip down Claire Danes memory lane, how does this Shakespearean reference relate to the business of brands and names?

Simply, the name remains, no matter how many roses live and die.

A quality name grows to become a long-term store of all your brand value and associations.

It’s a point of recall and recognition that is present in all else you project. Everything you do, all you produce, the services you offer – these are all connected to that one important starting point. Outliving colours, trends, typefaces, photography styles, campaigns and more that can (and should) be refreshed and re-invented to remain current, your name is the lighthouse, the rock and the central point of it all. It contains all the emotional content and history of who you have been and who you are.

It’s important, and it is critically important to get it right.

As of February 2024, there were 3,321,748 actively trading businesses in the Australian economy (asic.gov.au). Considering there are just over 170,000 words in current use in the English language, according to the Oxford Dictionary, right now there are 20 times more business names in Australia alone than there are available words in the English language.

In even bigger numbers, there are over 350 million domains registered worldwide, with 33,000 new registrations per day (domainwheel.com). That’s 200 times more domain names than English words.

Easy peasy. So, crack a beer and chuck a few names on the barbie, right?

When your legacy is to be packaged in these few letters, words or phrase, we know you agree that it’s a bit more important than that. Words have power, words carry symbolism and words make pictures in your head. What if Romeo and Juliet were called Steveo and Shazza? A bit of a different image in your mind now?

Even more powerful than a Bintang-singlet wearing Romeo, research has shown that words alone can affect consumers perceptions of actual flavour, and how much they enjoy a product (Okamoto, 2009), and that how you say a food product’s name physically influences your expectation of how it will taste (Motoki, 2019). So, words seem to have a taste too…

Look, sometimes your business name just writes itself, like if your surname happens to be Stubbs and you specialise in prosthetics. But what about when you run a funeral home and your family name is Amigone? (yes, both real business). Whether for products or business, names need to be considered, developed and tested – not flopped out like fish on a market stall-style Fiverr/pick your favourite table. So, here are some of our top considerations when developing one.

Importantly, a name needs to be:

Unique
There’s no point if it doesn’t differentiate you from your competition.

Representative
A pointless pretty word combo is just that – what imagery does your name suggest about you, your business, your service or your product?

Memorable
If no one can remember your name, they’re less likely to develop a relationship of any kind with you.

Spellable/pronounceable
Fancy non-words can absolutely work unless they hinder any of the above. If they can’t say it or spell it, they won’t remember it.

As joke-proof as possible, unless you intend it
Humour has a place, but don’t find out about it too late. If it’s planned, then great. If it’s not, then it could all end badly.

And just as importantly on the admin side, it needs to be:

Available (business registration and online)
No point in having the best name idea if someone else has it already.

Protectable
Make sure it’s yours for good.

Please. Don’t get it wrong.

 

If you need help with an evidence-backed process for collaborative name development, it’s one of our favourite things. Drop us a line.