What if roses were actually called… carbuncles?

This past week marked 400 years since the birth of William Shakespeare. The bard. The dude with the bald head and the big quill.

If you’re UK-based you’ll know this – we were bombarded with TV show after TV show celebrating his work. And it was through a channel surfing sesh that I was reminded of one of his most famous quotes:


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“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

(From Romeo and Juliet, for those without a penchant for Tudor theatrics.)

Would it though?

If roses were actually called… carbuncles, would you still want 12 long stems every February? Can you imagine sticking your nose in a bunch of carbuncles? Would you rub a super-soft carbuncle petal across your cheek? No? I didn’t think so. “Carbuncle” sounds like what it is – a boil. Not the universal symbol of romance.

The same principle applies to naming your business-related stuff.

What you call your business, products, packages, and even your followers… that’s one of the most important elements of your brand identity.

If your names are random, and inconsistent you’ll simply cause confusion. You’ll end up saddled with name that just doesn’t FEEL right, and trust me, a business name isn’t all that easy to change.

So how do you pick the name that’s right for you?

Begin by brain dumping words on a page.

What’s your name? What do you do? What are your passions? Who is your audience? What’s special about the way you work?

Start listing out terms that answer these questions, then crack open a thesaurus, and expand that list further.

Start placing these words side by side, until you come up with a pleasing combination. Google it – you don’t want to settle on something that already exists, or a name that’s associated with something unsavoury.

Next, run through these questions, just to make sure you’ve picked a winner:

  • Would you feel embarrassed to share our name with your mum, a future client, or an old employer?
  • Does your name have an interesting story?
  • Is it significantly different to the competition?
  • Does it suit your target market?
  • Is it it concise, and easy to pronounce?
  • Is it easy to spell?
  • Is it available as a domain name, and on social platforms?

Remember, your name is the very first thing prospects learn about your business – it’s worth thinking about.



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