Any expert will tell you that there’s a lot of work involved in creating a successful brand. However, one of the most valuable components of your business identity will always be your name.
The best company names of all time have carved a space for their leaders in history. Just look at what Jeff Bezos accomplished with Amazon or Richard Branson with Virgin.
Ultimately, your company name is more than just something that sounds good or looks attractive on your business card. The right company name is something that communicates value to your audience through every individual letter and sound.
Consumers in today’s crowded marketplace want a convenient way to identify and remember the businesses that they love the most. The right brand name can, therefore, be one of the most valuable assets you have, driving acceptance and ensuring differentiation.
We all instantly feel the innovation and creativity of technology when we hear the “Apple” name. We imagine frost-covered mountains and mouth-watering ice cream when someone mentions “Haagen Dazs.”
The best company names are compelling for a range of different reasons. They’re memorable, emotional, and most importantly – flexible. Indeed, a growing trend among some of the best company names of all time is the ability to use a title as a verb – for instance, we “Google” things when we want to find information.
Other effective titles end up becoming the dominant descriptor for the items or services that they offer. Customers in America buy “Band-Aids”, not adhesive bandages. You grab a “Kleenex,” not just a tissue.
The theories around what makes the best company names differ depending on who you ask. There’s even a study from the University of Alberta that suggests that consumers are more likely to react positively to companies with repetitive titles like Kit Kat, or Coca-Cola.
There’s no one-size-fits-all magic formula for producing the best company names list in the world. However, you’ll find that many of the most popular company names have the following factors in common:
- They’re emotional: Businesses today aren’t just vending machines churning out products. They’re entities building lasting connections with their target audience. As such, everything you create for your company, including your name, needs to have an emotional impact. Just think of how the name “Innocent” instantly encourages you to trust a brand that’s honest, pure, and gentle.
- They’re built to last: Many of the best company names in the world have remained the same for decades. That’s because these monikers were designed with the future in mind. Names like Amazon and Google can continue to serve a brand regardless of what products it sells. On the other hand, a name like “Carphone Warehouse” is far more restrictive.
- They’re own-able: It’s challenging to have an incredible name if you can’t truly own it. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a name just to find out that the .com domain for that title is already taken. Even if you can get the domain, you still need to check that your name is available to trademark, and accessible on the social media channels that you want to use.
- They’re distinctive: Your name needs to be unique to stand out. The best company names of all time didn’t earn their status by copying what other organisations were already doing. Think about what your competition is doing and look for a way to make sure that you stand out. As long as your title makes sense in your chosen industry, you can be as creative as you like!
- They’re simple: Finally, the best names don’t have to be complicated to be effective. Words that are easy to spell and pronounce are far more memorable than their complex counterparts. Make sure that your team and intended audience know how to say your chosen title out-loud, and that your customers won’t have trouble writing it down. If your customers don’t know how to share your name, your word-of-mouth referrals will suffer.
One crucial thing to consider when you begin building your best company names list is how people generally respond to certain letters and sounds. For instance, did you know that something as simple as the first letter used in your title can affect the way that people respond to you on a cognitive level?
The letters used in the best company names are an essential part of the linguistic evaluation that goes into every useful title. When a professional naming agency like Naimeo begins cultivating a list of unique names, we’re careful to ensure that each of our company names passes several stringent tests. For instance, we use sound symbolism, poetic devices and linguistics to determine how specific letters might make a customer feel.
Sometimes, particular letters and sounds will work more naturally in niche industries. For instance, letters like Q, Z, and X are typically seen as the “oddballs” in many languages. They don’t appear in as many common words as some of the other letters in the alphabet. These letters used in a name will, therefore, make your customers pause. In some industries, where customers are looking for natural and organic connotations, obscure letters don’t fit. Imagine seeing a name that starts with X in the beauty, healthcare, or even food industries for instance.
However, these complicated letters are far more engaging in a technology or software setting. When you’re creating a company that’s all about doing something new or thinking outside of the box, it pays to use letters and sounds that appear less frequently in everyday language. These sounds can remind your audience that you’re not just an “everyday” company – you’re a business that’s pushing the boundaries in your space.
Choosing the best company names isn’t just about finding something that looks good on paper. It’s not even about finding a word that describes what your business does. In a world where companies are beginning to create more new words from scratch, it’s more important than ever to understand how sounds and linguistics can affect the perception of your business. Here are some of the linguistic checks a business leader should always perform when they’re searching for the best company names of all time:
- Does your name have poetry in it? In the right circumstances, a poetic device like alliteration or assonance gives rhythm to a brand name. Think about how you feel when you hear a name like YouTube, where the “oo” sound is repeated. Even rhyme can help a title to stick in the mind of your intended customer for longer.
- Is your name easy to pronounce? Choosing the right letters and sounds makes the best company names easier to pronounce. When a title just rolls off the tongue, it begs to be spoken aloud. This improves your chances of word-of-mouth marketing, referrals, and social buzz.
- What kind of consonants will you use? The consonants in your business names can be either hard or soft. Sometimes, softer consonants will work better for companies who want to demonstrate a gentle and welcoming attitude for their company. For instance, H’s and W’s are friendlier letters. On the other hand, a harder consonant like B, G, or T can highlight the strength of your company. The two Ks in Kodak are sharp enough to grab attention, and they echo the clicking sound of a camera shutter.
- How will your vowels sound? Vowels also have a roll to play in the best company names. Think about how “Google” uses the sound “oo” to convey feelings of discovery and enlightenment. Look at how Haagen Dazs uses a repetitive “Ah” sound to echo feelings of satisfaction and refreshment.
Even the smallest components of your titles can affect your audience in ways that you may not realise. The best company names in the world aren’t just clever and memorable. They’re compelling because they convey meaning on multiple levels. Over time, the more we study the best company names of all time, the more we see the intelligent techniques their creators used to help them stand out.
Words are more important to us as humans than most people realise.
When we’re children, we go through life absorbing vocabulary from our experiences. In fact, by the time you’re ten years old, you know 10,000 words. Those words each have an emotional impact on you depending on how you encountered them. For instance, if you first met a cat that hissed and scratched at you, you may associate the word “cat” with negative things.
Brand names are words too, and we create emotional connotations with them in a similar way. The best company names of all time are those that use a careful combination of human psychology and linguistics to create positive responses from day one. Here are some of the best company names ever created, and what you can learn from them.
Repetitive-sounding words are instantly compelling in many industries because they have a more playful, musical edge to them. According to studies across several product categories, exposure to repetitive-sounding brand names affect how customers perceive brands.
Researchers in one study found that people were more likely to choose a brand of ice-cream that had a repetitive sounding name, than the brand that didn’t use repetition. Choosing a rhythmic title like KitKat, Coca-Cola or even Jelly Belly could help you to reach your audience and keep their attention in today’s competitive world.
A lot of organisations that the best company names will be those that tell their audience what they do and who they are as quickly as possible. However, you can show your audience a great deal about your brand without simply calling yourself “Bill’s computer company.”
Oracle borrowed the traditional name “Oracle,” which refers to a person who acts as a medium for the Gods to convey the information and insights that their service could offer. The title implies wisdom, an eye for the future, and knowledge. It’s also a name that easily stands out in a tech space filled with jargon-focused company names.
Often, the best company names of all times are effective because they appeal to a deep and resounding need in their target audience. For example, the name Jaguar for a car conveys ideas of speed and strength – two things that any driver is sure to crave.
When founder Kevin Plank chose a name for his company, he initially considered “Body Armor,” but couldn’t get a trademark. Eventually, he called his business “Under Armour” – a title that appeals to the athletic and almost warrior-like mentality of the organisation’s target audience.
We mentioned above that some letters simply work better depending on the industry that you’re in. The weird-looking word “Xerox” wouldn’t work well for a company that sells natural beauty products, or a business offering whole-fruit smoothies. It sounds far too chemical, industrial, and man-made.
However, in the photocopying environment, Xerox makes perfect sense. The title not only stands out from the crowd, but it also has roots to the word Xerography – which refers to the Greek concept of “dry writing.” The parallel X’s that appear at each end of the word also emphasise the idea of making copies.
Finally, another name that draws the mind back to the power of letters – Kodak is the creation of founder George Eastman. Eastman loved the letter “K” and the power he felt it represented. When the time came to create one of the best company names of all time, he refused to settle for a title that didn’t include the letter “K.”
Eventually, George arrived at the name “Kodak” – a title that’s memorable, easy to pronounce, and punchy. Additionally, the “K” sound in the name is excellent for echoing the idea of a camera shutter clicking. It’s a great way to remind people of what the company sells, without being overly obvious.
Creating the best company names list for your organisation is not a simple process.
Many experts agree that the naming process is one of the most exhausting and infuriating parts of starting a business. That’s why there are so many name generators out there, and companies offering support to people who can’t track down the perfect company name alone.
Neil Blumenthal, the co-founder of glasses company Warby Parker once announced that it took his team no less than 6 months and 2,000 potential options to find a name that spoke to them.
Usually, the easiest way to make sure that you get the best company names is to seek the help of a professional. A specialist naming company can help you to find a title that uses the right linguistics, letters, and psychology to attract your audience.
However, there are also 3 critical steps that you can take before you begin browsing through available names too. These actions will help you to ensure that you get your name right, first time around.
The best company names aren’t just a way to separate your company from the other competitors in the marketplace. The right titles are crucial components of your brand. This means that before you can choose an effective company name, you need to decide who you are, and what your organisation is actively trying to achieve. In other words, you need to know:
- Your brand vision – why your company exists.
- Your values – how you’re going to achieve your goals.
- Your mission – what your company does.
The more you know about your brand, the easier it will be to find and choose a name that encapsulates your purpose and highlights what makes you unique. Remember, the ideal name shouldn’t just convey who you are; it should also align your organisation’s personality with the needs and expectations of your target audience.
There are many different kinds of names out there. Knowing what kind of style will work best with your business will help you to narrow your choices and save some valuable time. For example, some of the options available on the naming spectrum include:
- Generic descriptive names: These tell your audience what you do, but they can be difficult to trademark, and they’re not very memorable.
- Suggestive names: These titles are more evocative than descriptive; they draw the mind towards an underlying quality of your brand. Amazon, for example, describes a large and diverse company.
- Arbitrary: These names are taken from real words, but they’re often used out of context. For instance, Shell sells oil, and Apple sells computers.
- Creative/ invented: Names that are completely made from scratch. These coined times are much easier to trademark, and brand. Examples include Oreo, Xerox, and Kodak.
This step comes somewhere between finding a range of titles to add to your best company names list and choosing the one that you want to use for your business. Before you fully invest in a title that can help your company grow and thrive, you’ll need to make sure that it’s available to use.
Here at Naimeo, we make sure that all of the company names that we offer come with their own .com domain included. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the title won’t have any baggage in your chosen industry. It’s still up to you to make sure that the name you want is available to trademark and protect.
After all, it’s no good having the best company names ever, if your competitors can come and steal them whenever they choose.
Remember, part of vetting your business names also means testing them with your employees and potential customers too. Don’t be afraid to run some ideas past your trusted shareholders and initial clients to get their opinion. Sometimes it pays to look at your options from an outside perspective.
Finding and claiming the best company names of all time isn’t easy.
Often, the naming process is a combination of strategy and creativity. It involves looking at technical concepts like availability and trademarking, as well as creative ideas like poetic devices and linguistics.
If you’re concerned that you may not be able to track down the best company names ever designed on your own, then why not try a different approach? With a naming specialist like Naimeo, you can access dozens of simple, meaningful, and powerful names that have genuine value to give your company.
We create and curate selections of unique company names, designed to give our clients the best possible start when they’re launching a new brand, or building their business.
With our help, you can ensure that you don’t just have the best ideas to begin your new venture with – you also have the best name to identify yourself to customers too.
To get ahead. Get a great name. From Naimeo.