Business Naming Needs A Human Noodle
By Marcia Yudkin
If you've been charged with coming up with a new company name or new product name and not given a budget, you might be tempted to use no-cost or low-cost name generators to brainstorm candidates for you. Here are links to three such programs:
http://www.makewords.com (see the "advanced search" and "name generator" options)
In addition, web sites that help you purchase and manage domains often have a name generating utility that not only suggests possible names but checks whether or not the corresponding dot-com is available. See nameboy.com for an example of this kind of site.
Unfortunately, these tools usually don't solve your naming problem. Unless you use human intelligence in sorting through name possibilities, you could be in for a naming disaster.
For instance, suppose we're starting an innovative cars-for-sale business. One possibility suggested by one of the programs above is CarCrypt. This has one thing going for it – it sounds catchy, because of the repeated "C's." However, it has no less than four strikes against it:
1. "Crypt" actually means an underground vault used for burial. People who know what this word means will think the name CarCrypt is either a museum or has to do with burying old cars.
2. "Crypt" sounds similar to the "crip" in "crippled," which has a negative connotation.
3. "Crypt" also misleadingly suggests "Crypto-" in the sense of codes. So some folks will guess this business sells security systems for cars involving codes.
4. If you wanted people to visit the corresponding web site, you'd always need to spell it in radio ads or over the telephone, to alert people to use a "y" instead of an "i."
Name generator programs don't warn you about dangers like those described above. Only thinking people can sort through a list of names and choose the ones that will get your business off to a positive start.
On the other hand, name generating programs have very limited capabilities to suggest creative possibilities, the kind that truly capture people's imaginations. The programs come up with predictably patterned options that are likely to have already been used, somewhere. It takes creativity that software don't have to come up with blockbuster business names like these:
* Consider it Done
* Victoria's Secret
While more costly, hiring professional naming help is the right idea when stakes are high, the competition is fierce, and you are determined to give your new enterprise the very best chance it can have to succeed.
About the Author
Marcia Yudkin is the author of 6 Steps to Free Publicity and ten other books hailed for outstanding creativity. Find out more about her new discount naming company, Named At Last, which brainstorms new company names, new product names, tag lines and more for entrepreneurs on a budget, at http://www.NamedAtLast.com
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