Worst Naming Practices: What to Avoid When Naming your Business

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Your brand name establishes the foundation for every one of your future branding attempts. It needs to create a point of connection between yourself and your audience, and it should explain who your business is and what is represent.

Just as a solid name can help the success of your brand, a poor name can damage a brand. There are many different ways that a poor name can prevent business growth in your start-up. Find out what names are powerful and what types of names you should avoid as you start the process of naming your business.

Difficult Names

The main rules of naming your brand are your name should be simple to say, simple to spell, and impossible to forget.

If potential customers have a difficult time pronouncing your name, they will likely stop saying your brand name altogether. Many companies opt to use intentional misspellings when they are trying to be creative but it ends up being confusing. These overly-complicated intentional misspellings can cause more confusion than interest for your customers.

When trying to avoid selecting a confusing name, you should apply the “crowded bar theory” to your potential names. If you were to tell a friend the name of your company at a crowded bar, would they hear it and immediately understand it? For example, a restaurant called Sam and Ella’s might accidentally sound like salmonella when overheard in a crowded bar. This misunderstanding makes the business sound undesirable and unappealing. The crowded bar theory is great if you want to ensure your name only has to be said once to be understood by potential customers.

Names that are simple to pronounce and spell are beneficial because people are more likely to remember them. When customers share your brand name with their friends and family, they are helping you get referrals and additional business. Choosing an easy, clean name will make the referral process much easier!

Worst Naming Practices: What to Avoid When Naming your Business 1

Boring Names

While it is always beneficial to have a name that informs your target audience about what services or products your business offers, overly-descriptive names will bore them.

A great example of this is a business with a descriptive name like Official Office Stationery Products LLC. From the name, you get an immediate sense of what products they have and what purpose they serve. However, the name lacks pizzazz and is easy to forget. The name is overly-descriptive makes the name feel boring and generic. Names like this one feel dated and can’t realistically compete in today’s modern market because they don’t generate any interest

Worst Naming Practices: What to Avoid When Naming your Business 2

Trendy Names

If you look at the most popular startup names over the past few decades you will see certain trends emerge. For example, in the mid 2000s it was common for businesses to choose names lacking vowels at the end. Examples of this are Tumblr, Twttr (which became Twitter), and Grindr, just to name a few. In the past ten years, brand names with suffixes like Spotify, Gamify, and Coworkify became a trend among tech startups.

When it comes to trendy naming styles, only certain names will last longer than the fad. Many names that used the fad name trend run the risk of being limited to their era.

Another brand name trend in recent years giving artificially intelligent (AI) software human names. Examples of this are Amazon’s Alexa and Bank of America’s Erica. These human names are given specifically to humanize the experience of using AI and make the software come across as warmer and less antagonistic.

Trying out naming trends can be helpful to get your ideas flowing, but remember that they come with consequences. Fad names reflect when they were founded, and if you hop on a trend too late, your business may already be dated and you risk falling behind in the fast moving world of businesses and startups. If you want a great name, try brainstorming business names using this list to get a good idea of how you can utilize different types and trends thoughtfully.

Worst Naming Practices: What to Avoid When Naming your Business 3

Long Names

Long names are difficult for several reasons. A long and cumbersome name is an automatic turn-off for many people. This is because long names mean even longer URLs. It’s a good idea to think about URLS when coming up your name. If you’re still searching for the perfect business name with an available URL, try checking out some Internet for domains for sale.

In addition to considering your URL, you should also think about possible social media handles you may use. Some social media platforms limit the character count, so long names may not work. For example, Twitter handles are limited to just 15 characters, so make sure your name is short enough to work for that.


Even though naming your brand can be a challenge, the amount of effort you put into the naming process it will result in a solid and intriguing name that will captivate your audience. If you follow these basic guidelines of what to avoid, you will be able to open up your creative flow and find that the perfect name really is out there.

Worst Naming Practices: What to Avoid When Naming your Business 4Meet the Author: Grant Polachek 

Grant is the Director of Marketing at Inc 500 company Squadhelp.com, the world’s #1 naming platform, with nearly 20,000 customers from the smallest startups across the globe to the largest corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi, and AutoNation. Get inspired by exploring these winning brand name ideas.


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