Even though it’s said that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, or a person by their looks, the first impression is always very important. Companies, institutions and organizations first of all represent themselves through their name, but not all of them succeed in choosing the words that best represent them. Even the most professional businesspeople, true experts of their field, can run into difficulties when their chosen title is unacceptable, forgettable, or too complicated for its target audience.
Let’s review the most important features of a successful company name.
The saying “genius lies in simplicity” has not been plucked out of the air. If you want your audience to remember your company’s name, they first need to be able to understand it. That is why names that need additional analysis and deciphering won’t be as successful. Of course, if a vague title manages to arouse curiosity, it’s a victory to its creator. However, in these times of globalization, when our lives are so fast-paced, an unfamiliar word will most times just cause the audience to shout “next!” rather that ask to repeat it and study it.
From time to time, someone in the market comes along and starts showing off their wit through bulky titles which almost encompass their whole mission statement as well as their company’s history. This approach should not be encouraged. Skill and creativity should be demonstrated in your immediate work instead of trying to outdo yourself with the title. The maximum length for a title that is still memorable is considered to be 3 words but a one-word title is the optimal choice.
Although it’s best not to go overboard with your title, it has to be original. Immanuel Kant once said that “originality is the essential characteristic of genius”. Genius is obtained most quickly by those who manage to combine simplicity with originality. That’s why it’s recommended to look for associations, literary tropes, notice trends and tendencies, as well as significant people and events.
The rules regarding titles of companies, institutions and organizations are regulated by a multitude of legislative acts. These rules are laid out in the most detailed manner in the directive issued by the Commission of the Lithuanian Language “On the confirmation of the rules regulating the symbolic titles of companies, institutions and organizations”. This directive includes not only the possibilities but also the restrictions regarding company names. Finally, the title must not violate the moral or ethical norms, disturb the public order, or clash with public interest, and it cannot be abusive or insulting.
In some cases, a company’s name will only be registered after quite a few tries. This can happen when the title you came up with coincides with a pre-existing title already in the register or when it is misleadingly similar to other titles or trademarks. In such case, it is recommended to first check the availability of your new title on the website of the Centre of Registers. The equivalent list of trademarks can be found on the website of the State Patent Bureau of the Republic of Lithuania.
In the end, in order to be registered and allowed to represent a company, its title must adhere to the legal norms and must not coincide or be misleadingly similar to any other titles. And even when registered, a name is not guaranteed to be successful. Its success is down to your ability to understand your audience’s needs and expectations, as well as its capabilities.
Here are a few interesting facts and examples:
- The repeated winner of the Product of the Year Award, Lithuanian refrigerator and freezer manufacturer Snaigė (Lithuanian for “snowflake”) has a title based on an association. A refrigerator is cold, just like a snowflake. The title was a success and has since become a household name.
- The computer services company Yahoo, recognized in 2006 as the most visited website in the world, based its name on the Jonathan Swift novel “Gulliver’s travels”. In it, the name “yahoo” was attributed to uneducated, dirty and disgusting beings, reminiscent of human beings.
- The title of the famous drink Coca-Cola represents its two main ingredients: coca leaves and cola nuts.
- One of the three leading computer tech manufacturers, Asus, didn’t come up with a successful name on the first try. In its early days, the company was called Pegasus. The first three letters were later dropped with the aim of getting the company’s name higher up on alphabetical lists.