Feb 2024

5 Tips On Naming Your Brand

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5 Tips On Naming Your Brand

Names matter. A lot. Which is why we’re sharing our top tips on choosing a name that puts your business on the front foot.

Believe it or not, some of the world's best-known brands once went by very different titles. And it’s unlikely they’d have become quite so iconic if they’d stuck with the original monikers.

Would ‘BackRub’ be the multibillion-dollar search engine that Google is today? Would Michael Jordan and Cristiano Ronaldo partner as readily with ‘Blue Ribbon Sports’ as they did with Nike? And would we buy 154 million cans of ‘Brad’s Drink’ each day, just like we buy Pepsi?

Probably not.

The lesson? Names matter. A lot. Which is why we’re sharing our top tips on choosing a name that puts your business on the front foot.

Not only do these tips help generate ideas, they also help with the practical stuff like domains and trademarks (as well as potential pitfalls like unfortunate connotations!)

Tip 1. How To Get Ideas

The first mistake you can make when choosing names is to start by choosing names.

Of course, random idea generation can be fruitful. But there are more systematic ways to go about it.  

Write Your Story

Start by writing your business ‘founding story’ – why you started, what you do, and what you stand for. Read this through and look at words, concepts, and patterns you could use as a name.

Make It Personal

Every founder is unique - your personality and vision are part of what make your business special. So, if it’s tasteful and on-brand, why not try business names which include your own?

Think Different

Look at your competitors and find what you do that’s different and better. Try using this in your name. For example: Zilch is a credit lender which offers 0% APR, zero fees, and zero overdraft fees. Hence ‘Zilch’.

Word Association

Think about words you want people to associate with your brand. Try using these in your name. ‘Amazon’ is a great example of this – Bezos chose it because it connotes bounty, difference, and immense size.

Use The Web

A thesaurus like wordhippo.com or Chat GPT can be great resources for brainstorming words you want to associate with your brand. Sedo.com is a domain name search which might also give you business name ideas too.

Tip 2. Sense Check

When we’re in the throws of the creative process, we can forget to take a step back and think “okay, but how does this actually sound to people?”

It’s all too easy to land on names which are esoteric, hard to pronounce, offensive (or just plain illegal)

If you want to stay clean, here are a few things to consider.


Every word has connotations. This isn’t a problem for your business name unless those connotations are direct and negative. Amazon, for example, used to be called ‘Cadabra’ until a lawyer mistook it for ‘cadaver’, another word for ‘corpse’. If you trade abroad, find a native speaker to check connotations in those target regions too.


Names might also remind people of a celebrity, place, or event - think Corona Extra beer. This might work to your advantage, unless of course they’re a convicted fraud or a global pandemic!


Can people say it easily? Will they misread or mispronounce it? Rekorderlig (a Swedish Cider brand) had to resolve this problem head on with an advert showing people pronouncing the beverage correctly.

Legal Limitations

The UK government outlines the things people can and cannot use in a business name, including times when you need to seek permission.  

Tip 3. Check Domains & Social Handles

A domain name is the address that we use to identify websites on the internet – things like Google.com and Coca-cola.com.

Once a business owns a domain name, no one else can use it. This means there are lots and lots of business names whose exact domain name isn’t available.

So, when you’ve got your business name, check that there are close or identical domain names out there. Do the same with social handles.

If the exact domain name isn’t available, try slightly alternative spellings e.g. Dribbble.com.

Sometimes the social handle will be taken but the account is inactive. Try DM-ing the owner asking if they’ll give it to you. People can surprise you with their generosity.

GoDaddy is the leading domain name registrar where you can find and buy domain names. Check there first to see if your domain name is available. If the .com is not available you can go for an alternative such as .co - however as a general rule, try to avoid obscure domain extensions like .shop as these can look unprofessional.

If the domain you want is not available, you may be able to get it secondhand on Sedo.com. As these domains have valuable history behind them and sometimes people resell them as an investment, expect to pay more. However, if you have the budget, a good domain name is a worthwhile long-term investment.

Tip 4. Check Trademarks

A trademark is a legally registered symbol, logo, name, or phrase which provides exclusive rights to the owner. Famous trademarks include Apple, Barbie, and Ford.

Before settling on a business name, you want to be sure it hasn’t been trademarked. Trademark lawsuits can cost millions, so it’s critical to check these things carefully.

You can register your own trademark in the US, EU, UK, and worldwide fairly easily. Bear in mind that a trademark is bound to a specific industry category, and you need to pay for each category you wish to register in.

You might also want to check whether the name is registered at Companies House – the registrar of all UK companies. While these names aren’t trademarked, you won’t be able to register under a name that’s already on the list.

Tip 5. Create A Shortlist

So, by now you should have a good handful of names which roll off the tongue, capture your brand, and don’t break any laws.

It’s time to decide on the final one.

Use the free template in this article to create a shortlist of three names.

Your shortlist could include the proposed name, a sentence about the meaning, a list of possible connotations (good and bad), domain names, and social handle options.

Take your shortlist and show it to your friends, family and potential customers. Make note of how they react to the ideas.

Be curious but stay cautious - you don’t want so many opinions that you’re overwhelmed with conflicting ideas!

Ultimately, it’s your business and your decision. So, mull it over carefully. Sleep on it. And then go for the name which feels right to you.