How to Choose a Business Name, Part 10: Real Words and Expressions

how to choose a business name

An apple a day. Twerking. Blue moon. What do all of these words or expressions have in common? They’re part of our everyday vernacular for one thing, but they also all have a certain ‘sticky’ sound to them.

What is stickiness? It’s when a word or phrase manages to breakthrough from being slang or a locally used expression to become something we actually associate meaning with. For example, ‘sunny side up’ exudes much more cheer when ordering your breakfast than simply saying ‘yolks facing up’.

Real words or phrases then, possess multiple benefits for new brands that are looking for a catchy name. First, they are easier to remember. While an abstract name may be easier to ‘own’ from a branding and marketing perspective, it can also be more challenging to recall when you’re first exposed to it. A real word or phrase tends to stick in the mind, making it easier and more likely for potential customers to track you down.

Another benefit are those associated meanings that exist with a real word or expression, like the sunny side up example above. Again, an abstract name may evoke certain aspects of a real word, but a real word does that all on its own. To use another example, if a brand name included the actual word ‘dream’ in it, it automatically evokes a whimsical, enjoyable vibe. If another brand name was called something like ‘Dremisa’, it hints at the root word, but may not instantly capture your imagination until you understand what the brand is about. Real words are a shortcut to tap into your customer’s emotions and associations.

There’s yet another benefit to using real words or idioms. They can actually help you gain some additional exposure as people searching for specific words may stumble upon your site – and like what they see.

While real words and phrases are a valuable asset to your brand, don’t be afraid to switch things up and find a clever twist on your words of choice. To expand on another example, ‘A Mac A Day’ plays off of the common expression ‘an apple a day’, but immediately brings to mind technological connotations. It’s still memorable and still rooted in real words – but it’s also distinctive enough to stand on its own, meaning you’ll have a higher probability of securing the URL you want.

Don’t think that you have to use real words to have a successful brand – just recognize there are some benefits to doing so. Many abstract names have succeed in becoming part of our vernacular too. To use the most famous example of them all, ‘Googling’ is now a full-fledged verb understood by just about everyone. When selecting a brand name, just keep in mind – real words work great as a jumping off point for your creativity.

Looking for more assistance in selecting a name? Check out our full series on how to choose a business name.