Naming a Business – The Good, Bad & the Ugly

The last post 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Naming A Business provided the mistakes to avoid however the post failed to provide the good (as there are sometimes that brands can make these work), bad and the ugly of each mistake. Feedback received and some research revealed that there are a LOT of blogs about what not to do and what to do but not many had examples of such. As this blog is tools, resources, tips, ways, etc of what the agency has experienced and seen around, a secondary post is warranted with some examples. There are many, many ways to name a business and making a name “your own”, combining that with your branding message and marketing materials is something to be proud of. However, there are some names that tend to stand out – whether they be good, bad or just ugly.

Referring back to the list of the previous post:

1. Too Generic. Names that start off with a very generic term need a describer word or words or a tag line to have people know what you do.

Good: One Hour (service industry for repairs of air, heating, etc). Creative, Bike World

Bad: American, Corporate, Ideal, Expert, A1

Ugly: Save Air, Gold Metal

2. Obscure. Again, while after saying the name over and over to yourself it starts to sink in but many times it is a head scratcher.


Bad: Ash Wipes (chimney sweep) Virus Woman,

Ugly: Hung Far Low (Chinese restaurant), Zyklon (cyanide-based pesticide that Natzi’s used to kill millions in WWII.

3. Awkward misspellings. They may look cool in the logo design and on the business cards but for small businesses in particular it is best to go back to the drawing board.

Good: Qwest, Krispy Kreme, Pick up Stix, Reebok (derived from rhebok, an african antelope).

Bad: Automattic, Reddi Rooter, Krazy Klothes,

Ugly: Justus Boyz, EZ-On, Digi-Trax, Purrfect Auto Services, EyeCon

4. Overused. Many times these fall into too generic as well. These are so overused across many industries where a simple search for a company can yield 10 different businesses in different industries who also though to use it.

Good: Town & Country, Pit Stop, Cards, Hair

Bad: Full Service, Universal, Statewide

Ugly: Letter A first: A Best Bailbonds, Millennium

5. Location Naming. Location naming is problematic for expansion. There are some that do work when the city is known for a certain food and they go outside their city.

Good: NY Bagels, Chicago Pizza, Philly Cheese Steaks

Bad: Desert, Red Rock, Beach, Mountain

Ugly: Streets: East Charleston & Lamb, Bay

6. Word Combination.

Good: Cabvertising, Lexmark (Lexington Marketing), Comcast (communication & broadcast)

Bad: VidiArt, Acceler8, UpperMost

Ugly: Dynalectric, Technovation,

7. Too Long. Long name are very difficult for people to remember and generally they shorten them for you.

Good: The Resort at Mount Charleston, Dental Resources Staffing

Bad: Nice & Clean Environmental Services, David Family Liquidators, Dee’s Doggie Deli & Tasha’s Grooming

Ugly: Blue Diamond Air Conditioning & Heating Company, Delmar Gardens of Green Valley Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

There are so many more but these are a few examples to see what to avoid and in some cases where it is not the end of the business if you do go with a name that is not necessarily recommended. It has to work for you and the company. The worst case scenario is to have a business that people cannot remember, pronounce or shorten to their liking as they will do all that they can to avoid saying it… trust me.