“Where have all the good names gone? Others have picked them every one.” My apologies to the late, great Pete Seeger, but that’s inevitably how a naming project makes you feel. It starts out fun and full of opportunity. You research and brainstorm. Ideas flow.

The list of possibilities grow. And you fall in love. Then you start checking availability. Not just the name, mind you, but the URL. The #$%& URL. The slashing begins. Names fall like soldiers on the front lines.

Improve Your Odds

I’ll try to spare you grief by sharing a few pointers. These should help you still have contenders left after your availability search.

  • Prepare yourself. Many or most of your favorite names will not be available.
  • Work it. Carve out dedicated think time in your regular workplace. Not just the shower.
  • Generate many. Develop every possible name to improve odds when vetting begins.
  • Try anyway. Common words will, no doubt, already be in play. But look just in case.
  • Think original. Play around with completely unique, made-up words.
  • Change the spelling. Try alternative ways to spell your favorite words.
  • Combine words. Unite unusual, unexpected words for something fresh.
  • Make it memorable.Can you remember the name five minutes, or five days later?

  • Add cadence. Make sure the name sounds good and is easy to say. Speak it. Rap it. Sing it.
  • Say it out loud.Use the name in conversation to see if it feels right and true to you.

  • Check soon. Prescreen through your country’s patent and trademark office. Here it’s uspto.gov.
  • Look beyond. Don’t limit yourself to .com domain names. Consider .aero, .net, .biz, .edu.
  • Search smart. Use Google and Bing for relevant, broad searches you can then tighten.
  • Be patient. It may take time for a name to grow on you.
  • Lawyer up. Have legal counsel do a final screening and submit the trademark application.

Worth the Effort

Somewhere along the way, you’ll ask yourself if the naming (or renaming) is worth the angst. It is. Veteran marketer Al Ries has even suggested the industry add a fifth “P” – proper name – to its product-place-price-promotion marketing mix. I could get behind that. Think about what you’re trying to accomplish. The right name can turbocharge the effort.

Maybe it’s a an emergency airlift service like EagleMed, a loyalty program like Signature FlightSupport’s TailWins, a recruitment campaign like Spirit AeroSystems’ Dream Big. Make It Fly. Or a must-attend inaugural event like Wichita Aviation Festival’s Plane It Hollywood. The name sets the tone – and the hook. It helps the world understand just what you have to offer.

As you think about your next naming project, take a deep breath, and remember the ultimate goal. To create a clear, appropriate, memorable, simple moniker. One that sets you apart and above the competition. You can do it. But it won’t be easy.