What’s in a Company Name?

You and your business partner have come up with the best idea for a business – a smartphone or tablet app that scans food and gives you the ingredients within. It could be huge for foodies and for anyone struggling with a food allergy. It could also potentially turn the fast food industry on its head as they won’t be able to hide crazy ingredients or flat out lie.

So naturally one of the most important tasks is to come up with a great name. Taking a note from other online businesses these days you decide to take a real word and mess around with it a la Groupon or Pinterest. You think it will grab attention and fit in with all the other tech companies out there.

So you decide on the name FuddScanr, for better or for worse. Your partner balks at the idea but eventually goes along with it. Unfortunately the public wholeheartedly rejects the app and you suspect it’s the name. What went wrong?

A bad name can ruin everything. If you don’t believe that, would you eat at a restaurant called ‘Pooptown?” Would you bank somewhere called ‘Steal Ur Monee?” Unless you’re silly, no, you wouldn’t. A good name goes a long way. And there are a few reasons why the public hates yours.

You Forgot About URLs and Social Media

You know you’ve seen them. They’re all over the Internet, looking ridiculous. They have a Twitter account or Youtube account or even just a URL that makes their name look silly or insulting. They went from having the fine name of ‘Megan Scrap” to a goofy Twitter handle of ‘meganscrap.”

A little juvenile? Of course, and if you think users won’t notice right away you are solely mistaken. Time and time again you see companies forget what their name looks like in other forms and end up the butt of jokes.

Do yourself a favor and try a few configurations of your name before you settle on one. If there’s anything remotely offensive or goofy in there, you may want to reconsider. Of course if you don’t mind a little joking about your name and can make it work for you, go for it!

In FuddScannr’s case, it turns out many were just plain confused. You had a ton of hits on Twitter but ‘fuddscannr” left people scratching their head. Some were looking for Fudd’s Cannery and were sorely disappointed, while others thought Elmer Fudd had something to do with the company.

Other Cultures

The other big thing to consider when choosing a name is how other people perceive it. You can have one thing in mind and 30 other people might have 30 other ideas what it means. Take into consideration of other cultures and languages and you have a real problem.

But you’re just a little company, right? Sure, for now. Even the smallest companies in this day and age can reach a global audience, though. As a result, someone in Nigeria could stumble upon FuddScannr and buy it – or get supremely insulted such a company with a horrible name exists.

Why is that person in Nigeria insulted? If you don’t know, you may be in for some real trouble. While it’s almost impossible to predict every single country and culture’s response, knowing how your specific market will react is extremely important. If you don’t do proper research, you could end up with a debacle similar to what Russian gas giant Gazprom went through. (Click to link to find out what happened!)

How did you name your company? Did you reject any names? Why?