How Important is Pronunciation for a Business Name?
You've launched your site. Your first customers loved it, but growth has slowed. Wait...What?! Why?! Well, you've seriously disabled your word of mouth when you create a brand that people cannot pronounce correctly. It's one thing if your brand is Cartier or Louis Vuitton (those brands probably don't even want you if you can't pronounce their names). But you want everyone (and their mother) to come use your site, so you need to make it as easy as possible for them to tell other people about it.
Is It Familiar?
Just because your name is made-up, doesn’t mean it should eschew language conventions completely. If you want your business name to be easy for your audience to pronounce, it needs to contain sounds and letter combinations that they are familiar with.
Tanada (Ta-na-da) - Flows naturally, easy to pronounce for English language speakers.
Tnada (w-na-da?) Looks awkward, doesn’t flow. T and N are almost never found next to each other in English.
A business name that possesses letter combinations that are uncommon will only serve to confuse your audience, and will be harder for them to retain.
Take a good look at the makeup of your name. Are the letter and vowel combinations similar to dictionary words that everyone is familiar with? Does your name flow naturally when you say it?
Are There Multiple Pronunciations?
Using letters with multiple possible pronunciations can also serve to confuse your audience.
If your name contains letters that can have multiple pronunciations (like a soft "G" or hard "C"), does their placement within the name clearly indicate which pronunciation people should use?
Misspellings and Modifications
If your business name is a misspelled version of a keyword, make sure the intended keyword is still obvious when read, and that the name is pronounced the same.
When it comes to misspellings, you want to keep it simple. Obviously, a misspelling isn't going to spell exactly like it pronounced. But a good rule of thumb is that you should be able to clear up confusion with a simple aside.
Does it Work in Different Languages
For instance, in English a "y" usually rhymes with "eye" or "spy", but in Spanish a "y" rhymes with "see". Also certain traits of the English language like the silent "e" at the end of a word don't exist elsewhere. Take Skype for example-in America most users pronounce the name without the last letter, similar to "hype". However, in some parts of Europe and the Middle East, the brand is pronounced like "Skypee".
Testing Your Brand Name’s Pronunciation
Do users experience a moment of hesitation before trying to say the name?
Even a split second of delay between looking at a word and saying it out loud can indicate trouble. The pronunciation of your name should come naturally to everyone who sees it.
Email your potential domain name to five friends.
Ask them to leave you a voicemail pronouncing the name.
If they all say the same thing with no hesitation, you're golden.
So there you have it. Pronunciation is a crucial factor when deciding on a business name, and determining whether or not a name is pronounceable can be a daunting task. However, if you consider all of these rules when picking your name, you are bound to end up with a name that is easy for all of your customers to pronounce, understand, and remember. .