A company with an embarrassing name is like a boat with a hole in the bottom. It really doesn’t matter how beautiful its paint is, how powerful its engine is, or how fast it moves; it will inevitably sink. And when it sinks, it’ll drag everyone down with it.
If you want to start a new business, your brand name must match your target market. Why? Because if your business must succeed, its brand name shouldn’t just focus on your products but also appeal to your clients. And your name won’t be able to do this if it’s cringe-worthy, embarrassing, or even worse, dishonest and disrespectful.
We’ve seen companies get into problems with choosing a cringe-worthy name, so we’ve put together a quick checklist that will assist you in avoiding an unpleasant name for your business.
Let’s have a look!
1. Don’t Use Names that are Like Your Competitor’s
One thing that can raise huge issues for any business is when its brand name is too identical to those of its competitors. And if you ignore this, your customers will perceive you as a dishonest, unoriginal, and possibly fraudulent company. Also, picking a name or even a logo that’s too similar to those of another company, whether in spelling or pronunciation, is the quickest path to attracting legal dispute from that business.
We saw this happen in Starbucks’ trademark conflicts with Sambucks, HaidaBuck, and Star Bock, Deadmau5’s battle with Disney over his logo, Starbucks’ legal battle with the South Korean company, Elpreya, Instagram’s battle with Littergram, and of course, Apple Corps trademark battle with Apple Computer.
Unless you have deep pockets to take on a mega-corporation, your new brand must avoid trademark disputes. The best way to be sure your brand name is unique is to visit the US Patent and Trademark Office and conduct a thorough trademark search on all of the business names you’re considering. This will assist you in ensuring that your brand name has not already been taken.
2. Don’t Use Offensive Brand Names
If you’re an entrepreneur considering showing your originality with an offensive brand name, think twice. Offensive brand names have resulted in the death of many promising products and businesses. Nokia’s Lumia became a bestseller in 2011.
It was expected to change the game for Nokia, and it might have been the company’s saving grace if Nokia had done more research on the name and learned that Lumia was a Spanish slang word for prostitute. Consider the shock on the faces of Chinese customers when Mercedes-Benz first entered the Chinese market with the brand name “Bensi,” which means “rush to die. So, before you trademark that name, make sure it’s been run through translation software to make sure it doesn’t become the knot that strangles your young company.
Read More: Few Things All New Brands Need
3. Beware of Long Names
Customers prefer short and unique brand names to lengthier brand names for a reason. For starters, they’re easy to say and remember at first glance, and that encourages customer referrals. With a long name, there’s the possibility that clients will misspell a letter while searching for your store online or that it wouldn’t fit on a billboard in large letters.
The longer your brand name is, the more difficult it will be for your customers to remember it correctly. Yes, clients would rather not bite their tongue for the sixth time while trying to pronounce your brand name. And speaking of keeping your name short and simple, avoid names like Amigone Funeral Home because we’re sure that that’s a question your customers don’t want to answer.
And while you’re at it, avoid brand names like Passmore Gas and Propane, Tequila Mockingbird, Curl Up & Dye Salon, or even product names like Poop Like a Champion, Monkey Gland Sauce, Pee Cola, A Salt & Battery Fish and Chips. So, no matter what, keep the length of your brand’s name to fifteen characters and remove any redundant articles, adjectives, or suffixes. Keep your names short and uncomplicated.
4. Don’t Use a Name that Doesn’t Align with Customers
Every company exists to make profits, and the only way to do so is to satisfy the needs of its customers. And that’s why if you want your company to succeed, you should avoid giving it a name that would alienate your target market. Every entrepreneur needs to consider the tone of their brand’s name carefully.
Now, it’s okay to use edgy names like Alienware for your business or products if your target customers are Millennials and Gen-Zs but if your customers are Baby Boomers, you might want to avoid edgy names and stick with classic names. Understand that just because you like a brand name you worked on for days—or even months—doesn’t mean it’s going to be the perfect fit for your company. Why? Because that’s what you want, not what your consumers want.
So take a moment to research successful organizations in your field or gather ideas for innovative names that match your brand’s mission, values, and goals from a business name generator.
Read More: The 5 Things No One Told You About Branding
5. Avoid Overused Words
We agree that finding a great brand name is hard, and lots of fresh entrepreneurs try to ease the journey by following popular naming trends out there, but it only resulted in their company becoming too generic that it couldn’t catch the attention of their target audience.
Remember how difficult it was for brands to stand out back in the days when everyone and their pet rabbit had a website that ended in .ly?. So, if your company must display its originality and uniqueness to customers, you need to avoid adding suffixes like “ify” or “ly” to your brand’s name, removing vowels from your name, and finally, resist the urge to use generic buzzwords words like solutions, professional, expert, hub, quality, apex, premier, and elite.
6. Hall of Shame
First, there are perfect brand names, then good brand names, names that make customers go meh, bad brand names, and finally, absolutely embarrassing names. Come with us as we take a look at fifteen shocking and embarrassing brand and product names.
- Dumass Taco
- i.Beat Blaxx
- Samsung’s Honey Bubble
- Speedo Shine
- Urinal Hot Drink
- Only Puke
- Vegetarian Swallow Balls
- McVitie’s Finger Marie
- William and Hubert’s Dry Sack
- Pet Sweat
- STD Contractors
- Hitler’s Fried Chicken
7. Great Names Always Win
When launching a business, it’s important to remember to avoid a cringe-worthy or embarrassing brand name. They have the ability to push you back, damage your reputation, drive clients away, and bring your fledgling business under a lot of negative publicity. Although coming up with a fantastic business name is a difficult task and a major setback for many entrepreneurs, it can be accomplished fast with the help of a business name generator. If your brand’s boat has a large gaping hole, it’s not too late to patch it up by getting a strong name.