The name of your company is more important than you think. It has influence on all of your interactions, and can affect your credibility, reputation and brand.

Did you know that some of the most successful corporate giants actually have unique stories behind their company’s name? Shell was inspired by the founder Marcus Samuel’s father, who had a business selling seashells in the early 1800’s. While on a boat trip with his father to collect more seashells, Marcus recognized the potential of oil trading, and thus Shell was born. Moved by the romance of the seas and nautical traditions of early coffee traders, Starbucks was named after a character in the novel Moby-Dick. While the most natural assumption for Apple, founded by Steve Jobs, is that it was named after the fruit, Steve actually came up with the name after returning from an apple farm and being moved by the “fun, spirited and entertaining” nature of the name.

Even the name William Joseph was devised from the very middle names of our founders. The reality is that inspiration behind a company’s name can come from just about anywhere at any time. When coming up with a company name, it is important to follow a few basic rules that will save you a lot of grief in the future:

  1. Pick something that is easy to remember. If your name is forgettable, your business is forgettable too.
  2. Don’t make it complicated. Make sure that your name doesn’t use complex spelling, sounds or imagery. If it’s not easy to pronounce, people are likely to forget it, bringing us back to point 1.
  3. Your name has to be relevant to your business, brand, and to the products and services you provide. In other words, it should tell your story. Alternatively, if your company name does not relate to what your company does, such as William Joseph, your logo and tagline should.
  4. It should be available, in terms of trademarking, domain names and website creation, branding, copywriting and for SEO purposes. Do your research ahead of time and test the market to make sure your name differentiates you from competition. If you own a new small burger business, you’re not going to call your company ‘The Burger King’. That is a battle you just cannot win.

As industries evolve and businesses grow, some companies find themselves in a place where their name, logo or brand does not match their current products, services or business goals. If this is the case, consider investing in a rename and rebrand. While there is likely a substantial amount of history, admiration and equity behind your existing company name, and renaming probably makes you nervous, as the WJ team always says, nervous is good. It means real change.

So why should you rename? Consider the following reasons:

  • Your name does not reflect your products, services or business goals
  • Your name is too generic, or competition is too large
  • Your target audience, and their values, have changed
  • You’re growing, want to build stronger branding and bring new air into your company
  • You’ve had bad PR, and need to start fresh
  • Your current name does not meet all of the recommended guidelines above (i.e. It is very difficult to pronounce and its spelling is complicated)
  • Your name is holding you back

Of course, rebranding and renaming can be a challenging and emotionally-charged process. William Joseph is highly experienced at guiding clients in times of change, developing bespoke visual identities that tell your story, and that follow the 4 rules outlined above. Reach out, and we can help guide the way.