Choosing a company name is one of the most important decisions you will make when starting or reinventing your business or brand. We’re often told not to judge a book by its cover. But let’s face it, that’s easier said than done and the name you choose will often be the first impression that prospective clients have of your product.
This choice is difficult enough when only considering the effectiveness of your chosen name in one language. But it’s even harder when you work in an industry where you target international markets and customers. To make this decision a bit easier, we’ve pulled together some of the most important factors to consider when creating a multilingual name for your international company or business.
Make it memorable
You want people to remember your business. Make sure you choose a name that is recognisable and not too long or confusing. This is particularly important when the name will be in a foreign language for some of your customers.
Keep it simple
Remember that your customers will come from many different backgrounds and will speak many different languages. Don’t try and use any fancy puns and make sure the name you choose is easy to spell and pronounce for your multilingual customers.
Make it meaningful
Company names can be used to communicate and reinforce key elements of your business. For companies looking to attract multilingual customers, it’s important to choose a name that is meaningful or easy to understand across all languages.
If you are struggling to express your product in a way that works across multiple languages, you can develop a new word or phrase that suggests the services you offer. Facebook is a good example of this.
Alternatively, English is an international language that is widely used and understood. According to a Eurobarometer Analytical report published in May 2011, English is by far the most frequently used second language online and the majority of users accept using an English version of a website if it is not available in their own language. Falling back on an English term or variation of an English word, can sometimes offer a good solution.
Do market research
Don’t try to find the perfect name right away. Decide on a selection of names that you are happy with and then go out and see what your target audience think. The name you choose should appeal to your customers as well as you.
When targeting multilingual customers, you must ensure that the name you choose works across all languages. Do your research to ensure that the name you choose doesn’t have a different meaning in other languages. If possible, it’s always best to ask native speakers. Alternatively, Google and online dictionaries are valuable tools for checking to see if words or terms have a different meaning in other languages.
Make it unique
Do a trademark search to make sure that your name doesn’t infringe on another company’s trademark. Also do a Google search to make sure that other businesses are not using the same name. Choosing the same name or a slight variation on an existing name could lead to confusion for your customers and possibly result in a loss of business.
You will most likely incorporate the name of your company into the URL for your website. Keep this in mind when you are choosing a name. While it can be an advantage to use keywords in your company name, you don’t want to find that this makes it impossible for you to get your favoured URL at a later date.
When starting or reinventing your business, you are probably really excited and raring to go. But don’t rush! Failing take the time to research a good multilingual name for your company can lead to huge cost and embarrassment.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good name
The name of your company is inextricably linked with your brand. If you don’t have marketing or multilingual experience, get help and advice from people who do. For your business to be a success, you must target the right customers. To be able to do this effectively you must understand them and their motivations. Investing in advice from professionals early on can help quickly make your business a success and save you time and money at a later stage.
I hope that you find these tips and hints useful. Now it’s your turn. If you have any further advice or want to share your personal challenges when choosing a name for your business, we’d love to hear your views and opinions!