Are you looking for a name for your brand or business? Brainstorming could be the answer – but preparation is the key!

Brainstorming is a special subject, almost an art that you need to master before you can come up with a really good name – the right name – for your business. And a good brainstorming session is best approached step by step.

Why brainstorm?

Is brainstorming really the right way for you to come up with the ultimate name? A group brainstorming session is a good way to generate lots of ideas. It also gives lots of people the opportunity to get their own ideas across and it encourages people to think outside the box. Brainstorming works because everyone gets everyone else to come up with – and then build on – an idea. But it’s not all benefits. Some of the drawbacks of brainstorming include the unstructured nature of the procedure, the same ideas that keep being put forward and – worse still – the dominant personalities of the group who tend to take over, forcing the others to keep quiet and simply go along with other people’s ideas.

How do I prepare a brainstorming session?

The secret of success is in the preparation: find somewhere pleasant to go, provide plenty of paper, pens, sticky tape, post-its and so on. Then get a good, diverse group of people and lay down the rules for the brainstorming session so that everyone understands what they can and can’t do.

Start the session by selecting and delineating the subject. This consists of asking one question, which you formulate simply and clearly.

Philip Du Bois is the general manager of DNS Belgium, the non-profit organisation that manages all .BE, .VLAANDEREN and .BRUSSELS domain names

Philip Du Bois is the general manager of DNS Belgium, the non-profit organisation that manages all .BE, .VLAANDEREN and .BRUSSELS domain names

The rules of a brainstorming session

  • Everyone – that’s everyone – can put their ideas on the table and no one can criticise them.
  • Groups of 5 to 15 are acceptable, but you can also brainstorm with just two people.
  • Take a break from the session from time to time. Go and do something else for five minutes.
  • You can even leave things to simmer overnight. Simply pick up where you left off the following day.
  • Avoid waiting. If you’re busy, the session needs to proceed without anything getting in the way.
  • Everything you need for the session has to be in place.

Some points to watch out for in a brainstorming session

  • “Anyone who has an idea can share it now”: this gives everyone the time to get started.
  • “No one leaves until we have the right name”: this simply doesn’t make sense.
  • “There’s no time for nonsense”: no idea is nonsense.
  • “That doesn’t work”: but maybe it’ll grow into a great name.
  • “Everyone must stay seated”: no, walking about is better.
  • Groups that are too big: work in small groups; then put all of the ideas together.

The final decision

If everything goes well, you should now have a whole list of possible names, one probably better than the other. So it’s high time to put all the names together and make a final decision. One way of doing this is to take a vote. Everyone in the room is given 2 or 3 votes to allocate to their favourite name. Repeat the voting procedure a few times until there’s just one name left.

This is one of a series of guest posts by Philip Du Bois of DNS Belgium, which runs the .BE domain registry. Did you know that there are no restrictions on who may register a .BE domain name? Anyone from anywhere can register .BE domain names. You do not need an address in Belgium or even in the European Union.


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