October 19, 2015
How much does a business’ name matter? Some might argue that the name is the most important branding tool that a business has. Others might argue that the name isn’t all that important, and what matters most is the product it puts out. There are a lot of suggestions out there on how to pick a name for your business, but whether you listen to them or not is completely up to you.
Personally, I’m more drawn to businesses whose sense of humor is apparent in their name. It shows me that they don’t take themselves to seriously. However, names can go too far in the other direction as well. Yes, a sense of humor is a good thing, but overt corniness probably won’t bring in many serious customers. If your name is so bad (corny, offensive, etc.) that I’ve made a decision not to patronize you before I even know what you’re trying to sell me, then you may want to reconsider things.
If you’re starting and are struggling with a name, we have some inspiration for you. Atlas Obscura has put together an interactive map of the punniest business names in the country. They partnered with Digg and put a call out for submissions of business names that contain ridiculous puns. Overall they received about 3,000 submissions, 1,900 of which made it onto the map (duplicates were excluded).
Some of my favorites (read: most eye-roll worthy) include Bean There – a coffee shop in San Francisco, Curl Up and Dye – a hair salon on Long Island, and Big Dick’s Halfway Inn – an eatery and gift shop in Gravois Mills, Missouri.
While some of them are quite clever, this map can also be seen as a treasure trove of ideas for what not to name your business. Or, perhaps the old adage is true, that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. I don’t think the people at Atlas Obscura or Digg care enough to run such a study, but I’d be curious to see if any businesses on this map see a spike in sales just for being included.
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