Just as a person’s name is a defining aspect of their personality and identity, a business’ name is a defining aspect of its brand. Brainstorming optometry practice names is an important first step in building a successful brand, one that will allow you to market and grow your practice and set you up for success.
Whether you’re just getting started or are in the process of rebranding your practice, the guidelines and tips below will help you select a recognizable and effective name for your optometry practice. As Steve Forbes famously said, “your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business,” so take your time choosing a name and consult with optometry marketing professionals if you have any doubts or questions.
Getting Started with Optometry Practice Names
First and foremost, it is important to note that optometry practices are typically permitted to use a “fictitious” or “doing-business-as” (DBA) name for marketing purposes — one that differs from their legal entity name. The optometry boards of different states set specific regulations, so before you start the selection process, you should get a list of DBA name requirements from your local board. For example, in California, optometry practices must include the word “optometry,” or “optometric,” in their DBA name. Depending on your location, you may be required to use your DBA name exactly how it is registered, so don’t make a rash decision.
The next step is to think about your practice’s brand or personality and ensure your name aligns with who you are and where you’re going. What are your core values? Why does your practice exist? Where do you see yourself in the future? What do you want to be known for?
The factors outlined in the section below will help you in the creative process of choosing a name for your optometry practice. As with choosing a baby name, you’ll probably end up with a list of possible names for your practice. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a shortlist of three or four favorite contenders, you should test out the names, both internally among your team and externally. This will help you identify any points of confusion or unintended associations. As mentioned above, if you are still unsure or need inspiration, there are marketing services specific to the field of optometry that can help you come up with the perfect name and brand.
Important Factors to Consider
There are many things to consider when choosing a name for your optometry practice. You want a name that is not only legal and available, but memorable, flexible, associated with your brand, and easy to understand.
Keep the following factors in mind during the brainstorming process:
It’s not all about you: Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid using your own personal name in the name of your brand. Ideally, you want your patients to be connected to and trusting of your business as a whole, not just you as an individual. A more neutral name can also help your team feel more connected to the business and boost morale. Finally, leaving your personal name out will also make your practice easier to sell when the time comes for you to move on.
Consider made-up words or acronyms: Studies show that 72% of the best brand names are made up words or acronyms. If you are going to use an acronym, be sure to include it in your DBA name registration, so that you can use it legally.
Make it stick: “Sticky” names, obviously, are names that stick with you. You want a name that your clients and community members will remember and associate with your practice. Using a thesaurus can help you brainstorm keywords to incorporate.
Keep it short and simple: The last thing you want to do is confuse your audience. It’s often recommended that you limit your name to three or four words, maximum. Make sure the name you choose is phonetic, easy to pronounce, and easy to spell. If it is an acronym, you want it to roll off the tongue easily. Professional Eye Care Associates of America, referred to as PECAA, for example, sounds better and is easier to recall than if the letters were switched around to something like AECPA.
Don’t limit yourself geographically: Be careful that your practice name doesn’t limit you to one location. Even if you’re starting out small, you should keep your options open so that you can move, grow your client base or open up more locations in the future. Again, a more flexible name will help attract buyers when the time comes to sell your practice.
Be careful of unintended connotations: Consider the meaning of each word in your name (or words your made up name sound like) individually and what they evoke. Refer to a dictionary to be sure you consider all possible meanings of the word. Depending on your location and audience, you should also consider what your name might mean or sound like in other languages. A popular example of this is the Chevy Nova, which according to legend, struggled to take off in Latin American markets because the word Nova sounds like “no va ” in Spanish, which literally translates to “no go” or “it doesn’t go”.
Is the name available? Last but not least, an obvious and important factor to consider is whether the name is available. Simply searching the name online to see what else comes up is a crucial step and will help you narrow down your list. There are also tools online that you can use to search available business names and website domains.
Examples of Optometry Practice Names
There are different styles of names to consider as well — classic, direct, clever, emotional, etc. What’s best for your practice will come down to your brand personality and values or priorities. For example, is it more important for you to come off as caring for the community or being the best in the industry? If the former is your priority, you may want a more emotional name, one that includes a word like “care”. If the latter is more important to you, consider using a word that emphasizes your expertise, such as “pro”. Some opt for clever optometry practice names, something like “iCare” (sounds like eye care), that evoke multiple meanings. Of course, many practices incorporate words that obviously associate with the industry — words like “vision”, “clear”, “optical” or “lens”. Although these obvious associations can be effective, it’s also good to think about what sets your practice apart from the rest.
Optometry Practice Branding
Keep in mind, though your optometry practice name is clearly front and center, it’s not the only aspect of your overall brand. A lot of the information people absorb and remember is visual. That’s why color is another key aspect of branding to consider. Studies show that color can actually increase brand recognition by up to 80%. Also, certain colors are more popular and effective than others; interestingly, 1/3 of the world’s top 100 brands include the color blue in their logos, and the trend is even more prominent within the healthcare industry. Different colors evoke different emotions and associations, and according to popular color psychology, blue is associated with calmness and is perceived as more clean and sterile than other colors.
Other important branding aspects to consider include your logo, your mission, and your social media marketing, to name a few. If this seems overwhelming to develop and manage on your own, partnering with professional optometry marketing services can help you develop a thorough and cohesive brand identity and strategy, maintain a consistent and effective online presence, and grow your community.
Optometry Practice Names for Your Business
The importance of your optometry practice’s brand cannot be overstated, and your name is the most prominent focal point of your overall brand. Coming up with a name that fits your practice, your personality, your specific values and your vision for the future takes time and careful planning. Building a brand is an important investment, one that will define and stick with you; it’s worth dedicating time and resources to the process, rather than rushing or cutting corners.
By joining PECAA, you’ll have access to our Member Marketing Program, designed to help optometry professionals successfully brand, market and grow their practices. The program provides assistance with a wide range of services, from optometry practice name selection, to website design and development, to social media management, to design and print services, among many others. The Marketing Program is just one of the countless ways PECAA can support your optometry practice and help you succeed. Read more about our PECAA membership program and join our growing national network!