6 Ways How to Avoid a Cringey or Embarrassing Business Name in 2024

Businesses with cringey brand names frequently get into difficulty because their brand names—which were designed to help them succeed—become a source of humiliation and disgrace.

Ways How to Avoid a Cringey or Embarrassing Business Name

Countless companies have fallen prey to the hungry jaws of failure due to a lack of understanding of the effect their brand’s name has on their products. And if you don’t want your company to suffer the same fate as Ayds diet candy, make sure you avoid these naming blunders.

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1. Avoid Names with Negative International Connotations

With the rate at which everything is becoming digital, don’t expect your brand name to be limited to its immediate surroundings. Customers all over the world are watching, and they won’t hesitate to dump your products if you make a blunder with your brand name.

Want to know what Spanish customers did when they learned that ‘La Puta’ meant ‘The Whore?’ Well, they wasted no time in dumping Mazda’s Laputa. 

And yes, customers did something similar in Finland when they abandoned Fiat’s Uno because the Italian term for ‘One,’ ‘Uno,’ also meant  ‘Fool’ in Finnish.

So, before choosing a foreign brand name, make sure you’ve done your homework to ensure it won’t offend buyers from other countries.

2. Don’t Use Names that’d Offend Customers

Crazy, Irate, Angry, Mad, Upset, Person
Courtesy: Pixabay

In today’s world, where customers are much more aware of the brands they buy from, sending the wrong message—from your brand name—about issues of culture and politics will undoubtedly create a chasm between your brand and its customers, much like Aunt Jemima’s name did before it was rebranded to Pearl Milling Company

Understand that insulting your clients is a tried and true formula for brand disaster. Many firms make the mistake of attempting to demonstrate their originality with a cheesy brand name, and they pay the price.

Entrepreneurs must exercise caution when dealing with political difficulties because even after you’ve chosen a unique name, don’t do anything that would make your customers ashamed of your business. So you have to… 

3. Be Careful When Getting into Political Issues

Companies must be careful when navigating politic’s twisted road because their ‘sweet brand name’ can quickly become embarrassing to their audience if they make the wrong political comments and takes the wrong actions.  

And now that customers have a personal investment in the brands they buy, delivering the wrong message about culture and politics through your brand name will create a barrier between your brand and potential customers.

During the 2020 elections, Mike Lindell became so involved in politics that it was difficult for customers to distinguish his company, MyPillow, from his actions. Lindell’s actions polarized his client base, prompting Parkland massacre survivor, David Hogg, to create his own pillow company in an attempt to put MyPillow out of business. Customers now cringe when they hear the word ‘MyPillow.’

4. Don’t Use Names that are like Your Competitor’s

photo of woman's face reflection
Courtesy: Unsplash

Everyone starting a business must avoid names that are too similar to their competitors because borrowing a brand’s name may look like a smart idea, but it’ll make your company appear unoriginal and lazy to your customers.

Nobody likes a copycat, so stay away from names that are too close to your competitor’s names, whether in spelling or pronunciation, because they’ll cost your company a lot of money in legal battles, drive away your devoted customers, and ruin your reputation.

And the easiest path to overcoming this is by brainstorming or using a reliable business name generator. But even after you’ve come up with a unique name, visit the US Patent and Trademark Office and conduct a comprehensive trademark search on your business name before filing a trademark application.

5. Don’t Use a Complicated Name

Your company’s name must make a powerful first impression on potential customers if you want to establish a memorable brand. So choose a short, straightforward name that sounds appealing and is easy to remember.

Just so you know, customers won’t be pleased with your brand if they have to waste time trying to pronounce your company’s name. So every entrepreneur needs to avoid using complex names that are difficult to comprehend.

Customers prefer short, easily remembered brand names to lengthy ones since they are easier to say, remember, and find online. Long names have several disadvantages, one of which is the possibility that customers would misspell a letter while searching for your business on the internet.

So, while naming your business, limit yourself to fifteen characters and eliminate any extraneous articles, adjectives, or suffixes.

6. Your Brand’s Name Reflects Your Company

Customers build an image of your brand in their minds whenever they hear—and say—your brand’s name, and if this image is cringe-worthy or embarrassing, customers will dump your business and its products for a more appealing competitor.

That’s exactly what happened to Ayds, the 80s’ appetite suppressant candy. And the key factor that led to the company’s death was the fact that customers began associating Ayds, the candy, with AIDS, the disease.

And that’s why you must find a short, original, and memorable name that reflects all of the exceptional attributes you want buyers to associate with your brand.


As we read today how important is to name your business, do follow all steps and you can even let us know more steps you may have while naming. Feel free to share your views in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

Grant Polachek
Grant Polachek

Grant Polachek is the Head of Branding at Inc 500 company Squadhelp.com, the world's #1 naming platform, with 30,000+ customers from early-stage startups across the globe to the largest corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi, and AutoNation.

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