Here at Catchword, our naming experts know that coming up with a creative, memorable, and strategic brand name is only the first step in the company or product naming process. We’ve heard of countless poor souls who thought they could skip hiring a naming firm and do the naming themselves. Many of these intrepid entrepreneurs come up with great a great name for their startup, get a logo made, and spread the news of their new identity, only to receive a nasty cease and desist letter from another company that was already using the same name. Don’t let it happen to you! Here are our top five tips to screen your company or product name candidates on Google and end up choosing a name that’s awesome and available.

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1) Know thyself

The most important first step in Google screening your name candidates is to thoroughly understand what it is your company or product does. Are you a healthcare company or are you a company that makes healthcare software? The difference is huge. Anytime you encounter a potential conflict while screening, the number one question that should always be in the back of your mind is this: could a customer conceivably confuse my company/product with this similarly named one and thus make a purchasing mistake? The better you know what you do, the easier it will be to answer this question each time it comes up.

2) Play the numbers

The more lottery tickets you buy, the better chance you have of winning the lottery, right? While finding a memorable, available brand name is tough, we’d like to think it’s still easier than winning the lottery, but we’re also a lot better at it than most people. Still, that doesn’t mean we don’t hedge our bets. You should be screening enough names so that even if half of them get eliminated due to conflicts, you still have a bunch of leftover choices that you’d be happy with.

3) Create many types of names

It’d be great if everyone could be an Uber, Apple, Amazon, or Alphabet, but these days it’s increasingly hard to find an available, real word brand name, especially if the word is immediately relevant to your business space. Are you trying to decide between naming your new chocolates ‘Delectables’ and ‘Indulgence?’ When coming up with name ideas, branch out! Try coinings, foreign words, compound words. The more you explore, the more likely you are to find something distinctive, and the more likely you’ll have a longer list of candidates to choose from when you’re done screening.

4) Search variants of your name ideas

Let’s say you screened ‘Delectables’ on Google and found a conflict. Now you’re looking into ‘Yumkins.’ Hey, there’s nothing for ‘Yumkins!’ We can call it that now, right? Well, no. You also need to check out other names that sound like ‘Yumkins.’ Did you try ‘Funkins?’ What about ‘Yumkinis?’ Often Google will show you similar names without you having to type them in, but not always, so search as many variants as you can think of.

5) Add keywords

Lastly, don’t just type in ‘Yumkins.’ Maybe there’s a book or board game called ‘Yumkins.’ These are things that wouldn’t be immediate conflicts for your name. To narrow search results, always add keywords. In this case you might consider ‘Yumkins chocolate’ and ‘Yumkins snack.’ Adding keywords will allow you to sift through fewer irrelevant results and focus only on the real potential conflicts.

 

Remember, naming is tough, and best left to the professionals, but if you follow these tips you’ll be doing your due diligence. And if you really want to go for it all by yourself, check out Catchword’s comprehensive naming guide, Just Name It.