5 Business Name Trends You Should Avoid in 2016

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Let’s get this out of the way quickly: Picking a company name is hard. Yep. There are millions of companies around the world that are trying to choose the perfect name that reflects their product/service, the employees, and the company background.

Anyone can tell you that a company name needs to be original, memorable, and fitting to your business, and yet, there are probably hundreds of thousands of businesses that use the word “solutions” in their business name.

Here’s our list of company naming trends you should avoid in 2016—and some (hopefully) helpful replacements.

 

#1 – Suffixes… Suffixes Everywhere

In the vein of trying to create an original brand name, “ify” or “ly” suffixes exploded in the past few years. Now, it seems like most software follows this trend, and it’s probably best to hop off the bandwagon before it spills over.

Some major companies abide to this style choice, but since it takes years for companies to grow into the giants we see today, it’s safe to assume it was a fresh and creative idea for Shopify, back in 2004.

Try this instead:

In the same rule as before, why not try adding prefixes? Maybe symbol prefixes can be the new thing. Something like /Clothes (“slash-clothes”) or +Coffee (“plus-coffee”). Dumb, or brilliant? Only time will tell.

#2 – Hatin’ On Vowels

Every right answer is eventually the wrong one. That’s the case with the once-original, once-clever idea of removing some or all vowels from your company name.

Without intentionally picking on anyone, you may have seen company names that look like this:

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Since reserving the right company URL is a genuine concern these days, new businesses are trying to outsmart the competition by altering common words and phrases to create an original company name while keeping the common term fairly intact.

This obviously doesn’t work with every business, or else Hello Websites may have started out as “Hll Wbsts”. We dfntly dodged a bllt there.

Try this instead:

It’s pretty easy for us to say “just add vowels”, but the reality is that every trend seems stupid until it becomes popular enough to sustain itself. So, why not add extra vowels to company names? Sometimes it works, like “Oorange”, or “Feedbaack Loop”. Hey, at least we’re trying here!

#3 – Lots of Hub-bub

“Hub” used to mean a place where things were placed together in a simple and convenient way. Now, using “hub” in a brand name means you’ll struggle to claim social media handles and stand out for search engine optimization.

Using “hub” today looks like companies are just piggybacking off the success of other companies, which achieves the opposite goal of picking an original and memorable company name.

Try this instead:

Well, if a hub is a group of things, maybe we can focus on one awesome thing instead. Maybe we can focus on houses, or seats, or somewhere involving a single unit of something. Maybe “pit”, “home”, or “solo”, since “you” and “scape” have already been done to death.

#4 – Bland & Flavourless

Have you been to a small coffee shop lately? Was it named something like “Crow & Canary” or “Boat & Barn”? Something along those lines? If not, congratulations! But, if you did go to a place like that, you’re not alone—it’s become a bit of an epidemic, to the point of satire.

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Try this instead:

Anything else. Seriously, it’s not a clever idea. Just merge the two ideas together, or use one, or even three words. Aim to stand out, not blend in. “Rabbit” may be simple, but it’s more clever than “Rabbit & Bushel” or “Rabbit & Raspberry” or “Rabbit & National Disaster”.

#5 – Make X Your Ex

Anything with “X” in the name has lost its zeal. Using “X” originally sounded cutting-edge and sleek, but now it gets tossed into the mix with Xerox, xylophones, or Chex cereal—none of which are all that cutting-edge.

Images of X-treme this or x-traordinary that also come to mind, along with X-Men, Xbox, and X-Files. The 90s ride is over, and it’s time to retire this one, guys.

 

Try this instead:

Replacing “X” with any other letter really doesn’t work, so how about we don’t try to solve this one with a switcheroo. Instead, just drop the “X”. Then, “HelloX” becomes “Hello”, “SwitchX” becomes “Switch”, and so on. Removing some element of something usually cleans up. Plus, Generation X will thank you.

BONUS – Some (Dis)honorable Mentions:

This post is a goldmine of company naming faux-pas. Avoid these company naming styles if you want a modern, interesting and original company name:

  • Greek Alphabet Letters (Alpha, Omega, Delta…)
  • Any mix of either “A” or “1” (A1, 1-A…)
  • Generic Buzzword Nouns (Solutions, Experts, Specialists…)
  • Anything regarding “24/7”
  • Company founders’ initials (B & C Tech, GLR Services…)

So, by all means, if you want to name your company “Alpha-1 Commerce Solutions 24/7”, then we’re guessing that you’re a khaki-shorts-and-golf-polo business guy from 1995. That’s fine and all, and all the power to you, but don’t say we didn’t try.

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