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Crowdspring founder
(Courtesy of Crowdspring)

Consumers can form an impression of a brand within seconds. If you want your new business to resonate with potential customers, you need to spend time coming up with a great name.

Crowdspring founder and CEO Ross Kimbarovsky emphasizes that the name of your company is a crucial part of your brand strategy. Crowdspring is a Chicago-based company that helps businesses, entrepreneurs, agencies and nonprofits with design and naming for every stage of their business.

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Below, Kimbarovsky shares some of his tips for using a strong name to set your company’s brand up for success.

Beware of fads

Fads are temporary popular things that have happened, but it’s sometimes hard to differentiate what’s a trend and what's a fad. In the late 1990s, it was popular to add a dotcom after your name and a lot of companies did it, and that turned out to be a fad. It wasn’t lasting and it created all sorts of problems and poor branding. If there’s a dotAI trend, where everybody’s trying to create dotAI businesses because artificial intelligence is in the news and very popular, that’s not necessarily a reason to chase it. A local dog-grooming service, “... dotAI” is not going to be a very sustainable brand because it has nothing to do with artificial intelligence.

You’ve got to be smart if you’re picking a name to make sure that it resonates with your appropriate audience.

Keep it simple and memorable

It’s really difficult to succeed if your prospective audience can’t remember your name. When we think about the most important things about naming companies, short and memorable is one of the most important things. Companies like Tesla and Netflix do that really well.

Don’t make it a committee decision

It’s OK to ask friends, family, employees and customers about different name variations, but every time you pick a name or pick a design there should be a single person who is the decider. In a committee, there’s a lot of compromise and the compromise creates friction, which creates a lesser work product.

Avoid hyper-local names

Business is global today. Be really clear that if you pick a geographic name you’re going to stick in that area. For example, Minnesota Manufacturing and Mining was focused in Minnesota but quickly grew beyond it. We know them as 3M.

Avoid plain words or overly obscure words

One common error is that the name is kind of cool to the business owner, but confusing to their audience. It may be an inside joke of some sort, but really the audience isn’t in on the joke. Also, it’s really hard for a startup today, given how noisy the marketplace is, to just pick some plain words and create a huge brand, which is why you see successful companies pick more unusual names. But obscure words are also really difficult to spell and often difficult to pronounce.

You need a big marketing budget and a big effort to create a brand identity based on a word that people just don’t know.

Put some thought behind it

At Crowdspring, we require our namers to submit creative briefs along with their names, so it’s not just throwing a name at the wall. You can go to a name generator and click a button and it’ll go through some dictionary terms, combine them and spit out a whole bunch of names. That’s not a good way to name your company.

The words might be meaningful to you but chances are they’re not going to be meaningful to your audience.

Remember, the customer is always right

It’s not what you say about your business that’s important, it’s about what they think about your business.

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