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How to Think of a Brand Name: A Step-by-Step Guide.

Updated: Sep 7, 2022

A trade name or a brand name is a name that is applied by an organisation or a manufacturer to a specific service or product. Brand names are powerful marketing tools to foster loyalty and establish consumer awareness among potential customers. Find a perfect name to foster brand loyalty and establish a strong brand strategy. Below is a step-by-step methodology to develop an easy to remember names.

Two primary purposes of a brand name are verification (authenticating the genuineness of a service or product) and identification through the brand story (differentiating a service or product from others). Brand names are capitalised, or bi-capitalised words such as iPod or eBay and can be protected as trademarks.

In this article, we will cover...

Types of Brand Names

Features of Brand Names

Steps to think of a brand name

Tools to create catchy names

Evaluate brand name

Types of Brand Names

It may be the names of people who developed a product or service (Bajaj Auto, Baskin-Robbins, Calvin Klein etc.) or a name that gives consumers the idea of how a product is expected to perform or a product’s/service’s purpose.

A perfect brand name can reinforce its value as the name is the extension of the brand. When you are developing a name for your service, product, or business, there are several alternatives to choose from. When you are developing a name for your service, product, or business, there are several alternatives to choose from to ensure it is a memorable brand. You may:

--> Take a word out of context like Google.

--> Use the inventor’s or founder’s name like Dr Reddy’s Laboratories.

--> Describe an image or experience like Nike.

--> Make up a word like Häagen-Dazs.

--> Describe what you do like Mr Clean.

Do not forget to consider what the name should represent and mean. An appropriate brand name can position you as a true leader and can create a buzz.

To get an idea of how to think of a brand name, one can follow Landor’s brand name taxonomy.

According to Landor, a brand name should be:

Descriptive: Describes function literally; for example, Indian Airlines

Suggestive: Suggestive of a function or benefit, for example, Fair & Lovely

Compounds: Combination of two or more words, for example, Firefox

Classical: Based on Latin, Sanskrit, or Greek, for example, Atlas

Arbitrary: Real words that have no direct connection with the company, for example, Apple

Fanciful: Coined words with no apparent meaning, for example, Pepsi

Besides Landor’s taxonomy, the other popular types of brand names are:

Evocative: They bring to mind the powerful experience or the positioning of the mind; for example, Nike

Invented: They are used for naming a product that is introduced for the first time, for example, Printful.

Lexical: They rely on wordplay. They are a combination of foreign words, spellings, and compound words, for example, Burger King.

Acronym: They are mostly the acronyms of the names of companies that are difficult to pronounce, for example, H&M

Geographical: The name may include the territory or geography in which the brand operates or originated, for example, American Express

Founder: These names are associated with the names of their founders, for example, Ford

Experience: These names give a hint of what one may feel when they use the brand; for example Whizz

A great brand should ideally communicate something to customers. According to branding pro Marty Neuemier, as stated in The Brand Gap, “...The right brand name can be a brand’s most valuable asset, driving differentiation, and speeding acceptance.”

According to a 2010 University of Alberta study, brand names with repetitive structures, i,e, Jelly Belly, Kit Kat, Coca-Cola, elicit a more positive reaction from customers than other brand names.

Features of Brand Names You Must Pay Attention to When Choosing Your Brand Name

If you want your brand names to be easily remembered by target customers, ideally, choose a brand name that is:

Distinctive: It stands out from your competitors by being memorable and unique.

Protectable: You should be able to own it, can trademark it, and get the domain, both in the general consciousness and legally.

Visual: You must be able to communicate and translate it through icons, colours, designs, and logos.

Meaningful: It should convey a positive emotional connection, communicate your brand’s essence, and conjure an image.

Accessible: One should be able to easily Google it, spell it, interpret it, or say it.

Future-proof: It can be adapted for different products and brand extensions. It should be relevant in the long run and can grow with your company.

Steps to Think of a Brand Name

1) Make a list of words to describe what you are trying to convey

Whether they will prove to be good brand names, making a list of words will ensure that you start thinking creatively. This is an easy starting point.

Research what names are already out there in the market to avoid legal hassle later on.

2) Stop thinking about complicated names

Avoid confusing, long-winded, messy, and forgettable names. A good brand name should be simple and easy to remember. Avoid overthinking and overdoing.

Do not be afraid to think out of the box.

Also, never drop a name or an idea considering it weird. Consider bad ideas as well to inspire yourself.

3) Seek help from your peers