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Poor naming practices: What to avoid when naming your brand


Your brand name is a key part of your business because it establishes the tone for how all of your future branding exploits will go. A solid and effective brand name creates a connection for you and your target demographic. Additionally, a name should describe the mission and values that you want your new business to represent.

Although an effective name can uplift your brand, a poor name can be disastrous for the future of your business. There are several naming mistakes that entrepreneurs could make when selecting a name that could hinder the momentum of your brand’s growth. Find out more about what these mistakes are and why you should avoid them as you start the process of naming your business.

Complicated names

If your customers experience difficulty when saying your brand name, they will stop saying it completely. Make sure that you don’t do any confusing intentional misspellings in your name in an effort to be unique. Very frequently, brand names that are too complicated due to intentional misspellings create confusion with potential customers.

If you want to avoid selecting a complicated name make sure that you use the “crowded bar theory”. Essentially, if you were talking to a friend at a crowded bar and you told them the name of your business, would they easily understand what you said? Take for example a hypothetical restaurant named Sam and Ella’s. At a crowded bar, it may accidentally sound like salmonella, which makes the business sound very unappealing. This is why applying the crowded bar theory to your name can ensure that it only has to be said once to be understood.

Uninspiring names

While it is always a smart idea to have a name that is informative and describes what your business offers, overly-descriptive names are not interesting. A solid and effective name will hold a small amount of suspense without being too ambiguous. Try to get creative when coming up with names to avoid any overly-descriptive and boring brand names.

Fad names

If you look at popular startup names from recent decades you will see certain trends emerge. Take for example the mid-2000s. This era was rife with names that had missing vowels like Tumblr, Twttr, Flickr and Grindr. Another trend from the last ten years is names with -ify suffixes. That is why names like Spotify, Gamify, and Coworkify were very popular recently.

On occasion, it can be a smart idea to take advantage of latest trends to get your creative juices flowing, but keep the consequences in mind. Fad names can be limited to their time, and if you utilize a trendy name too late, your business may already fall behind the competition in this fast-paced world of businesses. Try brainstorming business names utilizing this list to give yourself a better idea of how you can use different types and trends to your brand name in a thoughtful way.

Lengthy names

Lengthy names can make it very challenging for a business to be successful. The length of a long name is an automatic turn-off for many customers and clients because long names come with cumbersome URLs. Think ahead with the length of your name. In addition to thinking about the URL you will choose, you should also consider future social media handles you may want. Twitter handles are capped at just 15 characters, so make sure your brand name fits within those limitations.

The longer a name is, the more confusing and forgettable it will be for your future customers. Try to cut down your name ideas by getting rid of additional descriptors as well as articles, and suffixes. If you still haven’t selected a business name that has an unused name, try going through the internet to look for domains for sale.


For many entrepreneurs generating a business name is a challenge. However, the time and effort you dedicate to the naming process will result in a successful and effective brand name that will attract your target demographic. If you follow these basic guidelines outlined above you will know what to avoid and how to open up your creative flow.

About Grant Polachek'

Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Inc 500 company, the worlds #1 naming platform, with more than 20,000 customers from the smallest startups across the globe to the largest corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi, and AutoNation. Get inspired by exploring these winning ideas for business names.

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