A young man in a blue-and-white striped apron sits at an L-shaped counter in a cafe, deep in thought. With one hand, he holds a silver pen with one end almost touching his lips; with the other hand, he grips the corner of the top page of a stack of papers on a clipboard. The man has sandy blond hair and a dark blond beard; he wears glasses, a long-sleeved gray shirt, and a blue-and-white striped apron. In the background, the rest of the counter space in the cafe is empty; a blackboard easel with writing on it stands next to an open door.
A nontraditional spelling in a business name can help if you're targeting a younger demographic or offering a unique experience, but in other cases, it might push away customers. — Getty Images/PeopleImages

Before you finalize your business name, think long and hard about how it’s spelled. While it may be tempting to try to be “different” and choose a nontraditional spelling of a common term, doing so isn’t always a smart move.

According to researchers at the University of Notre Dame and the Ohio State University, consumers might consider unconventional spelling to be a marketing gimmick and, in turn, steer away from your products and services.

On the other hand, unorthodox spelling might work out in your favor. It can make it easier to trademark your brand and find the right domain. It might also position you as a “trendy” or “youthful” brand.

More times than not, spelling your business name the conventional way is your best bet.

If you’re unsure of whether or not a nontraditionally spelled name, like Lyft, Chick-fil-A, or Play-Doh would benefit you, keep the following mind:

  • If your brand is fairly new, you might want to avoid an unconventional spelling that has the potential to deter rather than attract consumers.
  • In the event you do decide on an unorthodox spelling, be sure your initial marketing efforts clearly explain why you went that route. Otherwise, consumers might be confused and turned off.
  • Unless you’re targeting consumers who are specifically seeking a memorable experience, like a meal at a hibachi restaurant or roller coasters at an amusement park, for example, a nontraditional spelling will likely backfire.

More times than not, spelling your business name the conventional way is your best bet. If you do choose something unique, you may lose trust and customers. Since renaming is no easy feat, carefully outweigh the pros and cons of this marketing strategy before you take the plunge.

Read more: [4 Trend-Driven Ways Brands Are Tapping Personalization for Growth]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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