Coming up with a name for a project, game, or business can be really difficult.
I used to get attached to the first clever idea I came up with, as if it came from divine inspiration. But I eventually noticed that my first ideas were often very similar to the ideas that everyone else comes up with.
For example, if I were naming a Pet Grooming company, my first idea would probably be something like this:
But if I were to take a step back and do a search for “pet grooming” in the local area, I would see a list of companies like:
- Bow-Wow Bath Time
- K-9 Kleaning Krew
- Purrfect Pawlish
It’s clear that “Wash-N-Whiskers” would probably get lost in the crowd of other pet puns.
So nowadays, here’s how I avoid coming up with “samey” names:
- Make a list of the names that are already out there in the same category.
- Put them in groups, to figure out what the common themes are.
- Think of ways to break from those patterns in an interesting way.
For example, when I was coming up with a name for my tabletop roleplaying app, a lot of the existing apps had techy sounding names like MapTool and D20Pro.
I named mine Fabletop — to capture the storytelling side of tabletop roleplaying.
What would I have called my hypothetical pet grooming company?
I would avoid pet puns and maybe try something more serious, like “J Lesko, Expert Pet Stylist“.
Or maybe something that sounds like a high-end salon, like “Animalé“:
In this case, the name itself would help me re-think how I could make my pet grooming company unique. That’s what the art of positioning is all about.
For more about naming, I highly recommend this guide: