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What Makes Catchy Business Names?
One of the most common requests I hear from business owners is they want a catchy business name. But what are catchy business names? The clearest definition I have been able to come up with is this: a memorable business name that also sounds nice. With that definition in mind, to know what makes a name catchy we need to understand two things: memory and euphony.
Euphony is a term that describes a nice sound, or in this case a nice sounding business name. There isn’t a whole lot of science to support the theory but it is well known in literature and poetry. There is a reason people have been writing and reciting poetry for centuries. The most euphonic words are usually both being pleasing to say and pleasing to hear. The only way to tell what those words are is through research groups (below I go through results of some of that research). Rhythm and rhyme are regarded as factors that contribute to euphony, and conveniently they can also contribute to memorability.
Everybody can be a poet, even if they don’t know it, yet. Rhyming is one of the oldest tools in education. A mnemonic device — those little poems we use to remember things from maths and history lessons — literally means memory device in Latin and Ancient Greek. Using rhyming words is foolproof way to make a catchy business name. You can find words that rhyme with your ideas using one of the online tools. Assonance — also known as vowel rhyme — is also shown to improve recall so that is another tool you can use to improve catchiness.
Rhythm is a bit less tangible than rhyme when it comes to branding. We all know rhythm as it relates to music, and in many ways it’s the same in branding. It’s about patterns and sequences. Research has shown that words and phrases like cellar door and melody are considered pleasing to most people. In the semi-scientific field of phonaesthetics it is thought that these terms are pleasing due to having three (or more) syllables and stress on the first syllable. Tremulous is another example of an English word that has many of the supposed desirable phonaesthetic characteristics.
Studies have shown that different letters and sounds provoke different responses from people. Plosives — letters like k, p, t, b, d, g — can be more effective for brand recall. The letters l, m, s, n, r, k, t, d are the most common in words that are considered to be euphonious, showing some overlap between memory and euphony. It is thought that the stronger sounds in plosives could also make people think a brand is stronger. Front vowels and back vowels — named for the position of the tongue when speaking them — also evoke a different reaction from the human brain. When compared to physical objects front vowels in words like bed and fit are commonly considered smaller and perhaps more nimble. Back vowels like rule and pole are associated with larger objects, and are thought to sound more negative.
There have been many studies over the years to link word length and memory recall. Some show that shorter words are easier to remember, others show that memory is linked to the sounds that make up words. Either way we can say that shorter brand names are generally more memorable, while observing that length relates to the number of letters or words, as well as syllables. Consider the words pineapple and actuarial. Both have nine letters but pineapple has only two syllables. Plus notice how the vowel sounds in actuarial are those we might consider more awkward and unliked.
Even the length of the vowel sounds matters in catchy business names. Anecdotally the vowel in beat is sounded for 190 ms, but the same vowel in bead lasts 350ms. To the human ear these shorter vowel sounds are nicer than longer vowel sounds which improves on euphony and memory.
Another tool used by poets that can also be used when naming your business is alliteration. One of the best examples of this in literature is ‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers’. Although that sentence is actually a bit of tongue twister, alliteration is shown to improve recall. You can probably think of at least one megabrand that uses this concept (hint: Coca-Cola), and it’s an easy one to try using in your own naming efforts.
If your brand name can create a mental image in your customer’s mind then it is more likely to be memorable. The simplest way to do this is to combine adjectives and nouns to create simple images. For example red lion will provoke distinct visual of a lion that is red for most people. Brand names with strong imagery also make for great logo designs. In addition, concrete words are also shown to be more memorable than abstract words. So when your brand uses a concrete noun (eg. something physical like lion) rather than an abstract noun (eg. knowledge) you can make a stronger impact.
Words and phrases that evoke emotions are shown to be more memorable. This is likely because emotional words can stimulate two parts of the brain at the same time. Some examples you might see in catchy business names are words like happy, joy, and love. But you can evoke emotion without using emotional words. For example you could have a catchy food business name like Grandma’s Kitchen to tap into childhood memories of delicious food, comfort, and security.
Do you ever hear a song and it takes you back to a memory? Or maybe you smell something and get that feeling of deja vu? That’s because when we stimulate our senses we can access a different part of the brain which makes memories stronger. Smells are even shown to support memory even more than images. By using sensory words like boom and bang, or zest and spice, you can access a different part of your customers brain and get a stronger response to your brand name.
Catchy Business Name Ideas
Enough with the theory, you probably came here for a simple catchy business names list, right? Based on the the research above I have assembled a huge list of catchy business name ideas that you can use for inspiration. Some of these names might not be related to your business but you might still find some ideas.
Catchy Accounting Business Names
Check out some of these catchy business names from my analysis of accounting firm names.
- A+ Accounting
- Accountable Associates
- By The Book Accountants
- Accurate Accounting
- Conico Finance
- Atomic Accountants
- Tally Taxation
- Advanced Accounting
- Abacus Auditors
- Babylon Accounting
Catchy Notary Business Names
I’ve chosen some catchy business names from a longer list of notary business names.
- I Need A Notary
- Nearby Notary
- Signet Notary
- Verity Notary
- Signature Solutions
- Next Day Notary
- Notarized Now
- Totally Notary
- Undersign Services
Catchy Bookkeeping Business Names
Here are some of the catchy business names from my list of bookkeeping business names.
- Balanced Bookkeeping
- Busy Bee Bookkeeping
- Crystal Clear Bookkeeping
- Beautiful Bookkeeping
- Benchmark Bookkeeping
- Paragon Bookkeeping
- Perfect Balance Bookkeeping
- Brilliant Bookkeeping
Catchy Business Name Generator
Now you have a good understanding of what makes a catchy business name you should be able to make your own assessment of the names created by a business name generator. There are plenty of tools that claim to make catchy names, but just make sure you check each name for the different factors mentioned above.