A few days ago, I was asked by one of my clients to contribute to an intense brainstorming effort to find the perfect name for a mobility service we’re about to launch. I could compare the endeavour to a high stake scrabble game.
If you’ve just dreamed the best idea in the world (or at least you think so), if you’re planning a best selling addition to your product range or if you’re about to rebrand your company, you will need to play a similar game.
First of all, open a Google Doc (easier to share with your co-workers) and write down a few adjectives, adverbs and other words which embody the values of the product for which you want to find the perfect name. Add 20 words from the same semantic field (e.g. for mobility, it could be “go”, “way”, “travel”, “road”, “route”, etc.). You could have a stroke of luck and come up straight away with a good combination. The probability depends on the competitiveness of the field you’re exploring.
Use Thesaurus.com to get lists of synonyms. LearnThat offers a nice list of root words & prefixes.
Your objective is to find a name which has an available .com domain (and ideally all domestic domains) and which hasn’t been trademarked yet, to avoid expensive lawsuits . The more concise your name will be, the more impact it will have on your audience. One or two syllable(s) is great. Less is more.
In any case, make sure your name has a good rhythm (e.g. Trivago, Deliveroo or Blablacar are cool even if they’re longer). Depending on the brief, you can be playful or aim at something more serious. Portmanteaus (mixing two words which share letters) are usually nice findings. Write your brand on a white background using Coolvetica. It will give you a sense of how it looks with a powerful font.
If you’re convinced by your intuition, your first stop is to check out the availability of the .com domain with instantdomainsearch. It’s an addictive tool. You could spend hours there testing different combinations.
Fortunately there’s a website which will save you a lot of brainstorming sleepless nights: Namestation. This is a dream come true. You can use different naming methods to generate available domain names (you need to register to activate the availability filter). I love their wildcard option. Very Scrabble-like.
To get the full toolkit, I’ve put a few dollars in the Namestation jukebox, $24 for 60 days of unlimited searches. I bet I’ll spend some time on the platform in the next 2 months.
Also very handy, Wordfind, which will give you a list of words starting with, ending with or containing a specific word.
Then check out official legal resources to make sure there’s no other protected brand similar to your project.
EU Intellectual Property Office
UK Intellectual Property Office
NamingMatters will give you a snapshot of the current naming landscape vs your query.
It’s safer when there’s absolutely no similar protected trademark (and it’s easier to stand out) but you could potentially use a name for specific classes not covered by a previous filing.
If you’re not that creative and simply want to purchase a ready-made brand, check out BrandBucket and BrandRoot. For a few thousand $ they offer brand names incl. available .com domains. Some of the suggestions I found on their websites were actually pretty good.
Have fun in your creative quest for the perfect name!