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A Better way to Name a Company, by @Justin_Wilcox

Posted by Amity Sims on 2013-03-08

Founder Feedback gives you insight from the startup trenches.

What’s in a name? Well, a lot, actually. A name is the forefront of your business and your number one job is to make it memorable. In this latest post from his blog, Justin Wilcox, CTO of Nimbus Health, explains the importance of having a great company name and how to test your company and domain names with customer data.

Below, a portion of "A Better way to Name a Company" has been republished;

 

A Better way to Name a Company


tl;dr

We used clever survey questions to quickly test the memorability, spellability and emotional response of potential company names. Glad we did – we almost picked a shitty one.

Goddamn Domain Squatters

What should be the joyous process of naming a company, quickly devolves into:

Founder A: Are you kidding with me?! How is every single good domain taken!?
Founder B: Let’s make up a word. How about, “ooVooFoo.com?”
Founder A: Maybe “KillerKittenKites.co?”
Founder B: TwoGirlsOneCup…dot ly is available.

Most of the time we’re left with abysmal choices and forced to argue over which one sucks the least.

Some friends and I who were building a crowdfunding aggregator wanted to avoid all that, so we came up with a way to test our company/domain names with customer data. Here’s how…

Step 1: Crowdsource Ideas

SquadHelp is 99Designs for domain names. tweet-this-button That means you pay a couple bucks and SquadHelp users will find you some 500+ domain names, all of which are currently available. And if you don’t like any of them, you don’t pay anything.
Note: 99% of the suggestions are going to suck, but I always find that are good ones are worth the money, and they provide inspiration to come up with my own names.

Looking over the list of possible names for our crowdfunding aggregator, we chose our top 3:

    altFunder.com
    ChangeFunding.com
    ThingsWeStart.com

altFunder.com was our favorite name going in to the experiment, the next step of which was deciding…

Step 2: What to Measure?

After reading up on what makes for a good company name, we decided to measure the following characteristics of each name:

1. Memorability – If users can’t remember your name, they can’t tell their friends about it. tweet-this-button
2. Spellability & Hearability – If users can’t spell your domain, they could become someone else’s. tweet-this-button
3. Associations
        a. Emotional associations – what feelings do these names evoke? For more on why this is   important see Selling the Why
        b. Image associations – Names people automatically associate images with are more memorable.
        c. Competitor associations – The internet told us you want to avoid a name that gives your competition more clout. Seemed like reasonable advice.

Next up…

Step 3: Design the Experiment

 

Click here to continue reading "A Better way to Name a Company", and for more startup insights from Justin, follow him on twitter @justin_wilcox.

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