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Got 5 Letters? What Makes a Good Company Name

Got 5 Letters? What Makes a Good Company Name

Are you in the process of naming your company, or a new product? If you are, here is something to think about:

Years ago I heard a talk by the great venture capitalist Michael Moritz who shared a nifty chart comparing winning companies, all with names like IBM, ATT, Apple, Palm, 3Com, and BMW. These companies had one commonality — they all had names with less than 5 letters. Conversely, he had an extensive list of companies with very long names. Despite having been funded with billions of dollars, none of these companies were well-known.

This makes sense – things are just easier to remember when they are short and sweet. I suppose uniqueness counts, but we’ve all heard about share of mind. How many laundry detergent brand names do you know? Brands of soap? Not many. We have too much on our minds to make room for all the names floating around out there. So when you are trying to sell your latest greatest invention, you are attempting to get into a scarce overflowing bucket – the human mind.

The other day I saw a new electric fast recharger pump called Epyon, from a company of the same name, Epyon Power. Will Epyon make it? I dunno. But clearly someone over there values a short name. I wonder what the naming gurus were thinking when they proposed Epyon?

The length of name is of course not the only determinant of whether or not a company will succeed, but I would say it does carry some weight. What companies do you know that made it big keeping to a short name? Or maybe you know some who defied this rule and made it work anyway (Mercedes-Benz, Goldman Sachs, Prudential Financial, Bristol-Myers Squibb)…

About Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan has been launching and growing companies and helping other entrepreneurs do the same for the past 20 years. He has authored book and audio series including How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America (RedFlash Press), featuring 45 leading company founders who've created $63 billion in value from scratch, and How They Did It Nightingale-Conant audio program . His startup, Online Access, the first Internet-coverage magazine, landed on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies. His newest endeavors are RedFlash, a strategy execution team, and The Association of Interim Executives, which champions interim management as its own global specialty. You can also find Robert on Google+ and Twitter. View all posts by Robert Jordan

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