Startup Strategy: Picking a Name and Tagline for Your Business

by threegirlsmedia on October 15, 2012 · 1 comment

Coming up with a business name and tagline is an important step for any startup to take. How do you find something that reflects your company’s mission and values while being memorable and easy to find for potential customers? Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind.




1. Start with a brainstorm. Spend some time thinking about words that reflect your startup. What words and phrases do you want people to think of when they think of your company? How would you describe your business to someone unfamiliar with it? What makes your startup stand out from others? Write down anything that comes to mind during your brainstorm, and then spend some time looking through the list and prioritizing words and phrases that stand out to you.

2. Keep it short and simple. Whether you’re choosing a business name or a tagline, it’s important to keep it easy to remember. For example, Nike’s tagline is “Just do it.” Three words, and practically anyone worldwide would know which brand you’re referring to. Granted, a startup’s tagline might not be as widespread, but if it’s short and simple it will be much easier for customers to remember. As an article on Mashable.com explains, “you must create a name that is short (ideally, two syllables)”.

3. Make it easy to spell and pronounce. In the Internet age, it is so important that your business name is easy to spell and pronounce. How will anyone find your startup online if they can’t pronounce the name for themselves, let alone spell it? Alexandra Watkins of Eat My Words says, “Most of us have to tell people how to spell and pronounce our own names. There’s not a lot we can do about a name we were born with or married into. But when you are naming a company you are starting with a clean slate – don’t start out with a disadvantage by making it difficult for people.”

Think you have a good idea for a business name or tagline for your startup? Eat My Words created a simple way to test it out, the SMILE & SCRATCH Test:

SMILE if your name has these 5 winning qualities:
Simple – a simple yet smart concept
Meaningful – your customers “get it”
Imagery – visually evocative to aid in memory
Legs – lends itself to a theme and wordplay
Emotional – makes an emotional connection

SCRATCH it if it commits any of these 7 deadly sins:
Spelling-challenged – isn’t spelled exactly how it sounds
Copycat – similar to competitor’s names
Random – disconnected from the brand
Annoying – hidden meaning, forced
Tame – flat, descriptive, uninspired
Curse of Knowledge – only insiders get it
Hard-to-pronounce – not obvious, unapproachable

Now you have the tools to get started in creating a fantastic business name and tagline for your startup. Go ahead and get started!

This guest post was provided by Three Girls Media & Marketing, a boutique award-winning Public Relations & Social Media Management Agency in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. Three Girls Media loves working with small and emerging companies to raise their brand awareness and name recognition.

Photo Credit: andymangold

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Viljami November 22, 2012 at 6:52 am

One thing that I find useful when brainstorming brand names is to put together a list of existing and relevant startups for your industry:

First, this gives you an overall picture of the names already used in your space, and thus helps you to differentiate yourself properly and to avoid undesirable similarity.

Second, you get a lot of different naming techniques and brand name types to consider, which helps you a lot when trying to come up with the perfect name for your fledgling business.

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