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Finding the Right Name for Your Community

3 minute read

November 9, 2021

You’ve done most of the hard work, and now comes the cherry on top. You are looking to figure out that final thing: what should the name of your community be? In all likelihood, it turns into a furious Google Search:

  • What name should we use for our community? 

  • How can we come up with a name with our community? 

  • Is [Company Name] Community ok?

  • How do B2B companies come up with a catchy name for their community?

Maybe there is a hope you’ll happen upon a fun and free online community name generator. I mean, you want a great name, right?

Before we start, I want to assure you that your community will not fail if you don’t have a cool community name. Certainly, it’s fantastic to have one, but it can also harm your community to impose a name that doesn’t fit. Names are important - they make you feel like an insider - you are part of something. To help you on your naming journey, let’s explore a couple of ways that community names come about and hopefully, one of these will work for you.

The Name Is Obvious

This is the easiest way to name your community. It’s what your community members already call themselves informally when talking about their community. There is no need to go creatively deep. It’s right in front of you. Think of the Green Bay Packers - and the Cheeseheads. If you were building their community, you could use that directly or play on it, like naming the community Cheese Nation.

Bring in the Marketers

Yes, I know some of you may groan, but you know there are some very creative and fun (or punny) ways to relate to you, your company and your product. Maybe it’s internal lingo the marketing team already uses for customers (that is family-friendly). It could be a play on words based on the products you sell or market. However, it comes with a tiny caveat: I would still involve the community or your early community on how they feel about the name. Please do not do the naming in the marketing vacuum without some customer feedback and field testing. You may have a blind spot about the name that sounds so fun that it may, in fact, actually turn people off.  To me, where marketing can help most is in the design. Having a fantastic design, reflective of the company, that correlates to awesome badges for members is a nice touch of individuality.

Community Contest

This is my favourite.  It has also been the most successful for me in the past. Let the community suggest names, and then let them vote on a shortlist. Who better to name the community than the people in it? It’s a great way to bring them together and feel they own it. You may even discover they have a name you never thought of. The naming contest winner could get a special badge or recognition in the community or even a fun little token of appreciation. 

Do Nothing

I repeat, as I wrote before - there is nothing wrong with just having it named CompanyName Community. Many B2B communities don’t have a ​​"fun" name, and it’s fine. They are still hugely successful. Don’t force a name - or spend endless amounts of time on it. You can always revisit this later once the community is humming along, and it feels natural to start considering it. It’s also fine if you don’t - because the name is evident in its purpose: It’s the company's space for the customers to connect.

I want to be precise for those still left sweating and worrying about what to name their community. It’s not that important for success. What will matter more for your success are a couple of things. One is that people can find and join the community quickly. The second is that the content and community are helpful and satisfy their needs, so they want to return. The best name in the world will not save lack of company buy-in and investment, lousy strategy or horrible tactics. Focus on those things, and a flourishing community will be the result, no matter the name.

 

Community

Adrian Speyer

Written by Adrian Speyer

Adrian Speyer is the Head of Community and Lead Evangelist for Vanilla Forums. Besides spending many years in digital marketing, Adrian has been building communities of all sizes for over 20 years.

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