Whether you’re starting a business, launching a new product, or even kicking off a podcast – making something that didn’t exist before takes a lot. A lot of time. A lot of energy. Sometimes a lot of money. Not to mention a lot of logistical and mental load. It’s no wonder creators are constantly looking for things to keep off their To Do lists. Which leads many people to ask: “Does the name of my new offering matter? I mean…really?”

Amidst a long list of more urgent tasks and bigger fish to fry, it can be tempting to simply pick a word or two that sound cool – with an identical URL available – and call it the name. This is why so many people end up naming their creations after a street they lived on. An inside joke they have. Or that weird thing they saw on the way to the bakery. And while many of these offerings become successful, it is not because of their names – it is in spite of them.

Don’t waste the most important opportunity to connect with your audience.

The thing about a name is that it’s the single, widest spread message you put out into the world. It’s said and read first and most, and communicates the story that sticks to your offering the tightest. Foregoing the time and thought required to arrive at a great name means wasting the opportunity to say the most compelling thing you can with the highest degree of frequency and greatest depth of impact.

A communication about your offering can’t exist without its name. A package. A website. A social media ad.  A convention booth. A billboard. All digital conversations. All word-of-mouth chitchat amongst users and consumers. Any interview or talk given by founders or creators. Absolutely nothing of substance can be said or shown about your offering without its name. Why throw away the chance to make the most of these mandatory moments? Instead, take advantage of them to talk about what excites you – and will excite people – about your new offering.

A name is (relatively) permanent – get it right the first time.

Your name is the one message, the one story, and the one selling point guaranteed to be shared everywhere. And once it’s out there…it’s out there.

Sure, names can be changed post-launch, but you only do it if you need to. Changing a name requires a lot of “undoing and redoing”. Undoing and redoing websites. Undoing and redoing collateral. Undoing and redoing the previous name and messaging established in the hearts and minds of user and consumers. And all this undoing and redoing requires resources that could be allocated elsewhere.

Instead, be choiceful and methodical when selecting your name from the very start.

Exploit the connective power of a great name.

Names are labels. And labels are more powerful than most of us realize. To label something is to link it to all the meanings, all the images, all the associations, and all the tonal characteristics inherent to the language of the that label. And a name that makes these intimate, identity-centric connections is ultra-magnetic.

Labels satisfy our instinctual desire to demystify and categorize. And as names are often the first label people encounter, they are uniquely positioned to establish the first impression of what something is, why it’s here, and how it fits within the world.

So don’t waste the opportunity to optimize these meanings, images, associations, and tonal characteristics. Control those first impressions. Influence how people will consciously and sub-consciously perceive, understand and classify your new creation right out of the gate.

A great name is pervasive, persuasive, and permanent. It is your most powerful communications tool. And that’s why the name of your new offering really does matter.

– By Tanya Gustafson