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How to Avoid a Cringey Business Name

In 1941, Ayds was born, and the company birthed a particularly interesting product, Ayds diet candy. The diet candy became the leading appetite suppressing candy of its time. For decades, the product enjoyed massive sales, and the company made huge profits.

Customers loved it so much, and lots of Hollywood stars referred to the product as the ultimate figure-saver. You probably know where this is going because the tables turned in the 80s when the media began talking about a deadly disease, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS. 

Ayds close association with AIDS terribly affected the company, and after a few years, sales were down by 50%.

Now, even though this happened several years back, countless business owners are still making the same mistake by choosing cringey business names. We saw that with businesses like Netflix’s Qwikster, AmericInn Hotel, Analtech, and Pee Cola, not to mention the restaurant in Thailand called Hitler’s Chicken.

Businesses with cringey brand names often find themselves in trouble because their brand names—which were supposed to help their business succeed—become a source of humiliation and embarrassment to the business.

Countless businesses have wandered into the hungry jaws of failure because they neglected the potency of their brand name on their product. And to make sure your business doesn’t fall into the jaws of failure like Ayds, then avoid these mistakes when naming your brand.

Avoid Names that Offend Customers

Try to imagine the look on the faces of Chinese customers when Mercedes-Benz entered the Chinese market under the brand name ‘Bensi,’ which means ‘rush to die.’ Or the reaction of Spanish customers when Nokia launched its 2011 hit phone, Lumia, which was a Spanish slang word for prostitute.

Although no one starts their business intending to create a weak brand, many businesses still make the costly error of showcasing their creativity with a cheesy brand name. A brand name like Pee Cola would definitely quench any customer’s desire for a refreshing drink. 

So pay special attention to your brand name and the emotion it stirs in your customers. Also, run your desired name across multiple translation software to ensure that your brand name isn’t perceived wrongly in another language.

Avoid Jumping into Political Issues

Besides getting an offensive brand name, making the wrong statements and taking the wrong actions can go a long way to offend loyal customers.

And in today’s society, where customers are personally invested in the brands they buy from, sending the wrong message—from your brand name—about culture and politics will put a barrier between your brand and potential customers.

Mike Lindell became so interested in politics during the 2020 elections that it was difficult for customers to distinguish his business, MyPillow, from his actions. Lindell’s actions divided his customer base and even inspired David Hogg, the Parkland shooting survivor, to launch his own pillow company to drive MyPillow out of business. Today, whenever customers hear MyPillow, they cringe.

Avoid Names with Negative Foreign Implications

With how fast the world is becoming digital, don’t think your brand name would be limited to its local environment because customers across the world are watching, and they wouldn’t hesitate to dump your products the moment you make a mistake naming your business.

Spanish customers didn’t waste time abandoning products like Mazda’s Laputa, the moment it was discovered that ‘La Puta’ in Spanish meant, ‘The Whore.’ Finish customers also dumped Fiat Uno because ‘Uno,’ the Italian word for ‘One,’ also meant ‘Fool’ in Finnish.

Before choosing a foreign brand name, make sure you’ve researched it thoroughly to make sure it isn’t insulting to customers from other countries.

Avoid Using Names that are similar to those of the Competitors

As an entrepreneur, do your best to avoid names that are too similar to your competitor’s. ‘Borrowing’ a brand’s name might seem like a good idea, but the problem is that it makes your business appear unoriginal and lazy.

No one loves a plagiarist, so do well to avoid names that are too similar to your competitors, whether in spelling or pronunciation, because they’ll cost your business lots of money in legal battles, push your loyal customers away, and leave you with a damaged reputation.

And the best way to avoid this situation is by brainstorming or using a trusted business name generator. And even after generating your name, visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office, run a thorough trademark search on your business name, and trademark it.

Running a trademark search won’t only help you pick a name that competitors have not claimed but also ensure that other entrepreneurs don’t use your unique brand name.

Avoid Getting a Complex Name

If you want to make a lasting impact on potential customers, your company’s name must make a strong first impression. So go with a short and simple name that sounds excellent and is easy to remember.

We’ve seen customers get frustrated and irritated because they had to waste time trying to pronounce a company’s name, and that’s why every entrepreneur must avoid choosing complex names since they’re difficult to understand.

Customers love short, recognizable brand names than longer ones because they are easier to pronounce, memorize, and search for online. Long names have many drawbacks, one of which is the chance that clients would misspell a letter while looking for your store on the internet.

So, while naming your company, keep it to fifteen characters and leave out unnecessary adjectives, articles, or suffixes.

Avoid Names that aren’t Aligned to Your Audience

Every business owner must examine how their clients perceive the tone of their brand name. Urban Decay is a great name for a firm that caters to young people since it resonates with them. However, if your target group is older, such as baby boomers, you should refrain from employing edgy names.

A recent poll by Squadhelp showed that people between the ages of 25 and 34 favored fresh and innovative names over conventional and established brand names, while customers between the ages of 45 and 65 preferred classic and trustworthy names.

Don’t be Weird 

Cringey brand names often happen because entrepreneurs don’t give proper attention to the needs of their business, customers, and the market. The result? They end up creating a weird brand name that doesn’t represent their business well, offends customers, and doesn’t fit the market. Don’t be weird; get a brand unique brand name customers would be proud to associate with.

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