This is the fifth in a series of how-to articles by Vivant on things that matter in branding, marketing and digital presence for businesses. We hope they clear a few things up for you!

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It’s the most fundamental aspect of your business: how is the public going to recognise who you are? Businesses out there all have names, and now you have to come up with one for your own. It’s harder than you think, eh?

Don’t worry: many business owners struggle at first to come up with a name. It’s your whole identity, after all! Your audience has to love it, you have to love it, your employees have to love it – you’re in for a hard time when you realise that you need to please everyone. After all, your clientele won’t want to walk into your business if it’s got a weird name. Have you heard about Oom Danie’s Engineering Friends? Neither has anyone else.

The bad news is there are no set rules when it comes to business names. You can do what you like, but in general terms, there are guidelines. They’re by no means gospel, but keep these in mind when coming up with an enterprise name.

KEEP IT SHORT. It’ll be easier to be catchy that way. If you really want to explain what your business is about, keep it for the slogan (but we’ll get to that later). Long-winded business names are clumsy and not memorable – and in practical terms, you’ll need to pay more for signage. Think about that.

VAGUE IS OKAY! You don’t need to be “Bloemfontein Accountants (PTY) Ltd.” In fact, having a vague name makes you unique, and if people are searching for you on Google, it’s easier to find, for example, “Longrain Accountants” (it doesn’t exist yet, we checked). Being vague gives you a chance to establish yourself as a trusted name in your field. People will recognise you once you start to grow your client base.

ADD YOUR INDUSTRY. “Longrain” is mostly meaningless unless you’re talking about long-grain rice. “Longrain Accountants” immediately identifies who you are and what you do. Even things like “- Traders”, “- Outfitters”, “- Industries” and other vague tags are enough to set your audience’s minds on the right path when they think about your enterprise.

SLOGANS DO A LOT. If you’d like to keep your name simple and clean, a slogan can make all the difference. It doesn’t even have to be straightforward; in the case of Vivant Studios, our slogan is “Get Talked About”. It encompasses all that we do and it conveys our ultimate objective: to put our clients out there and get them noticed. It doesn’t say we do graphic design and websites and social media and so on, but it’s broad enough to describe what our work does.

COUPLE IT WITH A GOOD LOGO. While this part isn’t strictly about naming, coupling your name with a good, well-designed logo will cement your identity in your clients’ minds. A name stands on its own in conversation, but you have to present yourself beautifully and effectively on your business cards, letterheads, signage, banners and every other bit of corporate branding that carries your name.

There are probably many more factors that go into naming businesses than there are listed here, but as we mentioned at the beginning, they’re just guidelines. Even so, we hope this has been informative – look out for our next article in the How To series by Vivant Studios.

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