What is the best way of coming up with business name ideas?

I already have my business up and running. I am getting a lot of negative response because of the business name "Dude Undies". Now its like starting over from the beginning and I have no clue on another name. Mind you I only have 1 week to either renew the name or pick another business name.


A good name is unique, and stands out but should ideally create a positive association with it, especially your target demographic. When it comes to naming new products, companies will spend sometimes months and go through thousands of options before arriving on the one that they'll ultimately go with. Don't rush this process because its ultimately much more costly to have to go back or change, or ultimately fail because the name did not resonate enough with your target demographic.

The name is not everything but it's a huge part. Go to techcrunch or cruncbase and look at any number of new start ups which are probably all great ideas or products but because they have either a dumb name or a not so unique name, they can fail. My personal pet peeve is the stilted and formulaic neologism of adding "ly" at the end of any noun or verb---perfectly hilariously noted throughout HBO's Silicon Valley. At this point, we are all more clever than this.
Anyway, when you have only seconds to make an impression on a consumer, the last thing you want is cognitive dissonance caused by the name. Cognitive dissonance occurs when the signifier is not what is signified and vice versa; you're looking at a bicycle but someone insists it's a fish. And you're like, wtf.

This happens when you're looking at a great product but then it unexpectedly has a weird or dumb name, a range of slight neorological impressions then occur, effecting the emotional relationship between consumer and product: confusion, annoyance, distrust, etc. All of these slight negative responses are not what you want associated with your product when you only have seconds to make an impression. That's why a good name matters.

Now to your name: Dude Undies. Scrap this immediately. First of all, when it comes to men's underwear (I'm assuming this is your product), this is dangerous minefield territory because whether you like it or not, you're automatically dealing with issues of male insecurities involving self worth, virility, potency, etc

Some light word association exercises (maybe among your friends) might be helpful in yielding an alternative to "undies" which i associate with: children, bedtime, potty training, etc.Absolutely not what men want to be wearing. You can see why this word next to "Dude" is cognitive dissonance in and of itself, never mind your product.

I suggest you go back to the drawing board on this. Think about what makes your product different from your competitors', what value are you bringing to the market? Play with these ideas make a list of at least 50 words ( is very helpful) find a word or words that at least create that same impression. From my own observations, I've found that men love products with as few syllables as possible.

If this is too daunting for you, enlist the help of a good copy writer with experience in product naming (I know a few if you need one), they should be able to give you a list of ad campaigns that they worked on. Paying them $100 for a good name is worth it in the long run.

I hope this helps, best of luck to you!

Answered 9 years ago

I work with clients on rebranding all the time. It's a challenging process, because it does require so much creativity. But your target market can guide you - more on that in a minute.

Since you're under a time crunch, I took a couple of minutes to look at your web site to try to understand exactly what you meant by "1 week to renew the name or pick another business name" - I realized quickly that your domain is coming up for renewal.

So the question is actually that you're not sure whether you should renew the domain name you own or buy another domain and rebrand.

Here's the deal: you should renew the domain either way. Domains are cheap, and a little research indicates that you already have sites linking in to your existing site and enough traffic that if you don't renew this domain, all of that pre-existing work will be lost entirely, and I don't think you want that. :)

Renewing the existing domain not only gives you a little "thinking space" for the rebrand, but you'll also want to redirect the domain to the new web site once the rebrand is complete, so you don't lose the relationships you've built under this brand.

Now, to turn the attention to the rebranding itself...rebranding is difficult because it requires enormous creativity - that's why companies are paid big bucks to do it for others. It's not easy. But with the right guidance, it can be done, and can be guided by a full and complete understanding of your target market.

Since you're getting a significant pushback on the branding, you know that a re-brand is necessary, and I frankly agree.

I'd be happy to talk through the process of re-branding and how I can guide you through it to get the best result. But you have more time than just one week. :) Renew the domain and then let's talk about next steps.

Answered 9 years ago

To get started, I'd like to understand why you only have a weeks time to make a decision? Also, what do you mean when you say *renewing* the name? I believe, you, once again, are in haste and may be you should slow down a bit to take stock of the situation. Rebranding has always been expensive (Time, Effort, Energy, Capital) and will be like so in future as well. Don't make the same mistake twice.

Can you help me understand the approach you took last time to conclude with "Dude Undies" and how'd you wanted to position the business?

Coming back to your question "What's the best way of coming up with business name ideas", just start with a simple fact that renaming isn't some form of satanic activity. Many companies have done that successfully in the past (FedEx, Sprint, Uptivity, etc). You should rather get bothered with whether you, or anybody else in your team, carry adequate knowledge on naming a business.

To help you further, you can chose to:

1. Keep the transition uniform and planned. You would need to communicate the change for some times to come.

2. Brainstorm & taste the test or test the taste. Salt is always salty, but you need to know the right quantity per specific dish.

3. Think about the activities that you would need to run in parallel.

Is there anything specific you're looking at? Feel free to receive with more clarity to get clarity. I am just a buzz away. All the best!!

Answered 9 years ago

One of the simplest ways to go about this is to begin researching your niche and deciding on the specific words and phrases they desire to use when looking for you. I would start there and look at expanding on that information with a website domain and branding. Let's talk more about it and get it done this week!

Answered 9 years ago

Choose the quality you want your brand to embody and then think of things that embody that characteristic. For example, Iron Mountain is pretty much just a document shredding company. They chose that name because they emphasize how secure their processes are as opposed to how fast, cheap, or simple they are to work with. If you want to emphasize how "sexy" your product is then emphasize that. If you want them to be "fun" then go for something that embodies that. The same goes for quality, inexpensive, comfortable, etc.

Answered 9 years ago

Since getting my business degree in 1993, I've been fascinated with the psychology of branding. Now as an entrepreneur coach, that fits in with getting clarity in the mind so we can take powerful action. Your brand helps your customer get clear on what they get so they can cut through the noise of all the offerings in your market and buy.

I agree with Andrew's tip about qualities. More specifically, unique difference:

#1 Get clear on your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) before you go any further with your business.

Wikipedia's article is a good crash course for marketing:

What makes you different from the other companies in your market space? "Dude Undies" sounds like what's different is they're little boy underwear for "dudes" (cow-boys maybe). (The market's reaction is always the truth.) Is that what makes you different?

Consider Google & Amazon. They both wanted to be the "biggest", thus a massive number and a massive river. They are big and the name reflects the secret behind delivering this difference: A "googol" which is 10-to-100 in science & amazon a massive river for distribution and commerce.

Nike embodies victory & speed, and of course she's on the Olympic gold medal, the peak of global sports achievement. Under Armor looks like roman armor, molding the body like a warrior. Etc. M&M, in the WP article is "mmmmmmm" because that sugar coating high. Coke, well, we all remember it had cocaine in it originally.

#2 Brainstorm a list test it! Good marketers will tell you what works (as if they have a crystal ball). Great marketers will say, "I don't know, let's test it in the market." First test with your Mastermind under the USP. Then, test with your idea customers to see which names they'd buy (We don't care if people "like" it. We care if they'd eagerly pay your asking price for it.)

I'm happy to help you more with this fun process.

Answered 9 years ago

What Susan said.

Answered 9 years ago

Well, a good name can come from anywhere. There really are no recipes or one-size-fits-all rules.

Some people come up with great names for their projects on their own. Others don't but believe they do! Asking friends for ideas tends to produce lots of enthusiasm and consensus ... whether they're on track or unwittingly heading over the cliff!

I've been working on brand name creation and domain market analysis full time for several years now. I named 3 different projects for clients yesterday and the day before, which is faster than usual. Normally I prefer to give any project 1-3 weeks of attention.

When it comes to name selection, calls don't really provide enough space for learning about a business / brand + brainstorming. A 15-minute calls works best when the caller has specific questions or specific brand name candidates in mind. Then I can do some research and give feedback.

People tend to be surprised by what they didn't think about. If you want to know the pros and cons of various name / domain choices, or if you'd like to expand your list of options, then I'd strongly advise consulting with a professional with years of experience specifically related to naming AND the domain industry (since the internet does matter in the 21st century).

Frequently someone comes to me with a brand name that's 100% ok. Even so, it's smart to have it checked out before you're stuck explaining it to customers for a decade. If you were going on a 5-day road trip, you'd have a mechanic look over your car, right?

Answered 9 years ago

For something in that vein, I'd get a case of beer and invite some buddies over and tell them your product idea and that you want as many names for it before the night is over. Then start playing poker or video games and then remind them about the product every 30 minutes and see what comes of it.

My guess is you'll have too many good names to choose from.

Answered 9 years ago

By renew. Do you mean renew the domain or license. If domain name, keep it. You can have it forward to the new site.

Write a list in Excel.
One column = features
Second column = benefits
Third column - advantages

That's how I start my clients out.

Answered 9 years ago

I have found this blog posts very helpful (and Seth Godin is incredibly smarter than me):

Hope this can help you :)

Answered 9 years ago

You could start by looking at your Unique Selling Position and define what is your product strength or value that you provide to the market place.

Do you have any competitors? Have you seen the USP and selling points? How do they position themselves? This would help you gain an idea on how to tweak your name. Your name does have an impact to your business. Perception counts at times so you might have to re-evaluate your positioning (the link) to your brand and the value that the delivers.

Answered 9 years ago

If it's a product pick the noun that your product is. Add an adjective that describes what you bring to the table.

If it's a service, pick a verb that describes what you do or what the collective is called (i.e. engineering or architects). Add what you bring to the table (your name or maybe you do it fast, i.e. Rapid Engingeering)

You can also run several small adword campaigns and see what people click on (to see what name people respond to)

This is a great way to get your idea out to THOUSANDS to see which names get clicked (it's not perfect, but it's a good way to compare variations.)

Call me if you want to get more specifics.

P.S. When you think you have a name, do a Google search to see if anyone else is using it.

Answered 9 years ago

When it comes to Naming an existing business we have to be more right to the point. No BS.
My recomendation to you is keep alive the DNA of your current name and revitalize it.
How to do it?

Alternative 1. Hire a Naming professional, someone with an impressing and relevant portfolio.

Alternative 2, Create yourself a new name: "scramble" your current name, combining letters and silabes. In hours you will get several name possibilities, hundreds.

Make a first selection,Ccheck the legal and domain names, Check the linguistics in all your future markests idioms. When you have the 10 possible candidates get my consultancy for a profisional evaluation. Then, take a firm decision. The dame is over. Les jeux sont faites.

Go ahead, you got a new KODAK brandname!. Enjoy !

Answered 9 years ago

One thing that would help is mentioning the actual negative feedback you're getting. From what I can tell the current name matches with the look of the website and what you're selling from what I can tell...

I often help friend's brainstorm for their businesses. Here are a few for you:

However, do know that focusing on the name is one of the least important improvements you can make right now. Do let me know how I can assist further.

Answered 9 years ago

1. Keep and renew the domain name; it's too cheap to even be concerned about
2. What negative response? Are you selling stuff and making a profit? That's all that counts
3. If not, why not? Sometimes a provocative name like that is an asset (it's how "Big Ass Fans" got started)
4. Look at your referral traffic in the server logs, see if you can spot any common keywords that you could build into a different domain name to try out (although I don't think you could go wrong with "undies" and I assume they are men's without going to your site)
5. If not running AdWords campaigns, go ahead and buy some traffic for highly targeted keywords in [exact match] only; make sure you've got conversion tracking for sales revenues in place or you won't know what you earned from what you spent; make sure you break even on sales at least, otherwise you have a serious problem
6. If already doing AdWords without success, get your campaigns audited to see where you're going wrong (everyone does)

My book on Amazon could help you ("The AdWords Bible for eCommerce") with 5 & 6

All the best!

Answered 9 years ago

The most important piece of advice I can give you is to have something in your brand name that means something to your audience. Inside jokes between you and your business partner are not the best choices for names. Steer clear of names that mean something different based on spelling and only are used within your own firm. An example is I once had a client that wanted to use a name for a subsidiary similar to "Acme"4 Recovery. "Acme" was the parent company (the name has been changed to protect the guilty in this case), but they wanted to distinguish themselves in the recycling space with the number 4. Why that number? Well this company internally had the saying of the 4 R's: reduce, reuse, recycle and recover. Unfortunately the rest of the world (including school age kids) are only familiar with the first 3 of those R's. So not only had they come up with a name that sounded like a drug rehab center (when verbalized it sounded like "Acme" For Recovery) but they were referring to something that only the bozos at their company knew about. When playing on words or numbers in this case make sure it makes sense whether it is read or said. And always use messaging anyone can understand without reading your company's mission statement. Just give me a ring if you need more.

Answered 9 years ago

Naming a business is not a task, it is a process. You need to get into the zone where you are thinking of all the factors that are important for your business.

- How does your audience (a new lead, a new customer, a competitor, an investor, or a referrer) feel when they first hear or read about your business name. I often call it 'the crunch' that they should feel.

- The business names fall in different categories. One of the best resources that you can refer to for a naming guide is by igor, I have used it for 6 years now, check it at:

- Put all your random thoughts on a notepad, and call these loudly. Setup personas and call these as your audience would talk about it. Call it loudly as if your audience will refer it to a friend on phone. See what names setup more connection, are easy to speak when in a conversation.

When I was looking for a name for my company in 2009, I took 3 months to find what I really needed for my audience, my vision, and of course for its availability as domain and social presence.

I help business find the names that sum up their vision and the value it brings for their audiences. For more insights, setup a call and I can guide you through the process. Cheers, and good luck!

Answered 9 years ago

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