Last time I calculated carefully, there was a solar startup about every four and half hours in the USA alone. Even if that has now slowed down to two a day (probably unlikely or very conservative), what are you going to call your new solar startup? Or solar related product line?
Solar, Sun, Green Energy, Home Solar, Voltaic, and precious few other words are used to describe this industry, its players and its products. And these words were long ago explored extensively and any simple usage of these are long gone. In fact there are many Home Solar small companies across the country which are not related to each other. There are even three different companies, all with a registered trademark of different sorts, on the name Sun Power®.
Of course you can always name a company after yourself. But what when you want to sell it off or bring in partners or shareholders, not to mention confusion in the marketplace. Last time I looked there were over 30 registered corporations in Ohio with the name Garcia in them. Imagine if I tried such a search in California or Florida?
When I told a Chinese exec about our dilemma, he just laughed and said they were even out of even family last names in China for solar products and were now down to initials only.
So you need to get creative and explore many, many more roots and combinations and permutations thereof. Or use a naming agency with experience in the field. Over 10 years ago we came up with the name Solyndra – from Solar and Cylindrical. They have since had a meteoric rise and even quicker collapse. But we still have all the hundreds of names off the master list to use as a basis for naming another company. Similarly for lists from many other green projects we have worked on. Agencies like ours that track names can save you a lot of time, money and headaches, both now and downstream with marketing and trademarks.
After all, as Ries and Trout said in their seminal book on branding: Your name is your primary weapon in the battle for the mind. Surely it is worth more than the cost of your first brochure or a product manager’s one month salary?
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