Here I was, fresh from quitting my job and ready to launch my new venture, and I came to a screeching halt. What was I going to call it? What would I use for a URL and a logo and business cards and an email address? I wanted a business name that was more descriptive than “JK Consulting.” Something brandable and creative that spoke to my skills. So I started brainstorming for days, bouncing ideas off my husband and friends. They liked almost everything I came up with. I didn’t.
I read lots of articles on the topic, most of which offered practical advice but little inspiration. I tried online business name generators, producing gems like Buzzific and HotFocus. I covered my office wall with words on sticky notes and combined them like magnetic poetry. Aside from feeling like I was trying too hard, the problem I encountered over and over was that everything I liked had already been taken. None of my names were available as URLs.
In the end, it took a short conversation with my executive coach to break through the wall. Suddenly I had a name and a cool way to spell it. I want to share with you how we came up with it, in the hopes that this will both inspire you and give you hope that fresh URLs are still out there for the taking.
Here’s what you’re going to do that’s different from everyone else: Don’t start by aiming for something aspirational or clever or edgy. Start with the value you bring to the world. Articulate exactly what you do that makes you special, to create a business name that is as much a marketing message as it is a label. Your name should communicate your unique value to your target customer, easily and unequivocally. Chances are, all those people who are searching for clever word combos won’t come up with the exact same thing you did — after all, that’s why you’re going into business. There is something about you that’s different.
Ask yourself a few fundamental questions:
What is the one thing I do incredibly well in my line of work?
Me (for example): I’m good at creating genuine connections and authentic communication that resonates with people.
Is there a common thread in my work experiences?
Me: I’ve always approached marketing with a customer-centric mindset, focusing on what people want and need.
What problem do I solve for my customers?
Me: I help companies figure out how to talk about what they do in a clear and compelling way.
What do I truly love helping my customers do?
Me: I love helping businesses build meaningful and lasting relationships with their customers.
As I talked this through with my coach, the word that kept coming up for me was “resonate.” It’s at the heart of everything I do and everything I believe in as a marketer. It’s why I posted this quote on the wall when I owned a retail store: “What comes from the heart, goes to the heart” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge). In an offhand comment that meant more to me than he’ll probably ever know, my coach said, “Why don’t you call it ‘Resonate Marketing’?”
There it was, my name at last. Except that he also offered a twist and suggested the “8.” That’s when the lightbulb went off in my head — RESON8 Marketing was an authentic and creative name, and it was truly the story of my brand. And, lo and behold, the URL was available.
So that’s what I recommend, for those on the Name Journey From Hell: answer those questions, work your way towards a clear expression of your unique value, and you’ll find the words to describe what you do. It doesn’t hurt to have someone else listening, to pick up on things you might take for granted. Because you don’t need to get clever, you need to get real.