Of the many sites offering advice for aspiring entrepreneurs—including the venerable SBA—very few mention branding as a startup cost. Almost none advise new business owners to factor the cost of naming into their expenses. Maybe the authors of these pages believe that entrepreneurs can simply name their business by themselves.
But the the truth is, the days of easily creating a brand name—a name that links to an appealing brand promise or differentiator, uses natural words that customers can understand, and is available to trademark—are long over.
Many entrepreneurs create a name then jump into business with no regard to the possibility that they may be infringing on someone else’s trademark. And in reality, many businesses do co-exist with the same name, and many trademark owners fail to protect their mark. Perhaps it’s just too costly and time-consuming to do so, especially if your business name is one that’s easy for others to think up. ” (I feel sorry for the trademark owners of cliched names like “Cornerstone” and “Pinnacle.”)
But there’s another reason why entrepreneurs should do their due diligence and trademark their business name—because it helps them make more money.
Our friends at Trademark Bob highlighted a study in their blog today that entrepreneurs should pay close attention to.
The study found that a trademark filing is highly correlated with the ultimate success of an early entrepreneurship activity including employment and revenue growth. Firms that do not apply for a trademark registration in their initial years are unlikely to do so unless they experience employment growth. However, difference-in-differences analysis suggests sizable treatment effects, with firms making a trademark filing having substantially higher employment and greater revenue in the period following the first trademark filing.
You can read the whole study here.
It pays to trademark your name. Pollywog can help you create a name for your startup that’s custom-tailored to your offering, scores well on our 17-point evaluation and has a high likelihood for trademark registration. Contact us and ask about our special pricing for startup businesses.
The cannabis industry has had to clean up its intellectual property act now that it’s a legitimate product in some states. No, you can’t call a strain of marijuana “Gorilla Glue” or “Girl Scout Cookies” or “Skywalker OG”. But that doesn’t mean you have to give your product a lame name like Liiv™, Synr.g™ or Xscape.
The “Wild West” days of cannabis naming may be over, but there’s a lot of room for creativity with names. It would be nice to see these companies stretch a bit.
What’s the most important advice we can offer to entrepreneurs starting a business? See our top recommendation, along with a number of other tips from experts on FitSmallBusiness.
Clutch provides a platform for third-party reviews from clients, all of whom speak directly to Clutch and share their experiences. As a result, Pollywog has earned a 5-star rating and a place among the nation’s elite agencies.
Clutch’s coverage of naming agencies is one of the most competitive on their site, and it’s already proven to be a valuable experience for Pollywog to be included in their research.
At the core of Clutch’s research is a devoted mission to gather only authentic and verified reviews of what it’s like working with the agencies on their platform. Pollywog is no exception, and Clutch has already spoken with a few of our partners to hear their feedback on our ability to deliver as an agency.
One of our clients, a health administration organization, told Clutch in a review, “Pollywog did a great job pulling all of the pieces together and providing exceptional naming options during that period. It is clear they are experts in this area. Their communication and project management service are also outstanding. We were impressed with their commitment to making sure our new name was the perfect fit.”
We greatly value this feedback and appreciate our clients’ honesty in the quality of our work. After all, our client partnerships are what have brought us this far as an agency since our inception in 2007.
Our reviews have also qualified us to be featured on Clutch’s sister website, The Manifest, as a leading naming agency in 2018.
We plan to continue collecting reviews on Clutch, so be sure to check them out by visiting our Clutch profile.
Thinking up business name ideas takes time and effort, especially when you need to find a name that’s available to trademark and has meaning related to your brand story. But we’ve discovered some brainstorming tools that make it easier. Here are five of our favorites.
Five Brainstorming Tools for Business Name Ideas
- Moby Thesaurus — The beauty of Moby is that it’s messy. Unlike a standard thesaurus whose entries are fairly close in meaning to your search term (making them expected, boring and probably already used in existing brand names), Moby delivers words and short phrases related to your search term in weird and unexpected ways. This not only gives you surprising business name ideas, it helps trigger new ideas and areas to search for names.
- OneLook — OneLook lets you search dictionaries using a word part. For example, enter “sun*”, and you’ll get a list containing the word “sun” at the beginning of the entries: sun god, sunlamp, sunbonnet, sundries, etc. You can filter out the more obscure entries so you don’t get slammed with thousands of results. Also try using OneLook’s thesaurus and the reverse dictionary when you get stuck for new ideas.
- LeanDomainSearch – We don’t normally recommend branding your business based on whatever domain names happen to be available. But when you absolutely, positively have to have a matching domain name, Lean Domain Search will show you dot.com names that are available to purchase. Enter a term, and the tool will return a list of randomized compound names. For example, entering “fit” will result in a list that includes “FitVillage,” “FitLightning,” and “FitExcellent.” You can have the results displayed with the search term at the start or end of the name.
- Phrase Thesaurus — With the increasing difficulty of finding available names, more brands are naming around short phrases. The Phrase Thesaurus lets you search for an exact word, or for phrases related to the word. For example, a broad search for the word “sun” will return “a place in the sun” as well as “catch a falling star.”
- Mixwords — The crowded trademark situation is also making compound words popular as names, i.e. YouTube. Mixwords combines the terms you input into random compounds.
With most of these tools, the trick to creating a compelling name that sets you apart from your competition is not to use a generic word part. If your business is a yoga studio, avoid using “yoga” as one of the words in your name. That’s generic, and your name would blend in with the names of your competitors. Instead, search for words related to your brand promise (the benefit you offer) or your differentiator (how you do things differently from your competition).
For example, when Pollywog was creating a name for a new low-cost spay/neuter service offered by the local humane society, we explored words suggesting advocacy for the pets of low-income owners. This led us to the word “kind.” Using OneLook, we searched for phrases with “kind” in them and quickly found “kindest cut,” which perfectly fit the brand and its offering.
If you’re still having trouble with business name ideas, contact us. We offer special low prices on naming packages for startups, and we’d be happy to give you a hand.
It wasn’t just the promise of an easy, delicious meal, though. It was the utter approachability of the name.
This kind of name usually doesn’t survive a corporate naming process. “That’s negative. We don’t want to be negative. The name should have ‘easy’ or ‘perfect’ or something positive like that in it.”
But I would not have picked up a product named so tritely. I would not have even noticed it. “Can’t Mess It Up” got my attention because it had the word “mess” in it. That’s not something you see every day in a food product. (Read this for more on how negativity can make a brand name more effective.)
Beyond that, “Can’t Mess It Up” sounds human–like something a friend would say. Unlike a product that promises perfection with an expected, positive name (which I would dismiss immediately as unbelievable), this brand suggests an empathy for people who may be uncertain about their culinary prowess.
In short, it was the humanity in this name that suggested I might be able to believe its promise.
So I bought the salmon. And then I messed it up.
In fairness, though, I didn’t follow the directions. Next time I won’t try to heat up a meal and be on a conference call at the same time.