There are around 300 million companies that exist in the world today. That’s 300 million companies with their own distinct brand. Some of these brands are huge, such as Coca-Cola and Microsoft, whilst others are small local teams. With so many diverse brands out there, it’s pretty tough trying to find a unique brand name for your company. In this journal entry we’ll look at what makes a good brand name and why a brand name is essential. Most importantly, we’ll look at how to choose your brand name.
Three Steps to Choosing a Brand Name
To win the branding name game we’ll need just 3 steps. These steps will help you design a brand name that is perfect for your business or company.
Step 1 – What Type of Name do you want?
There are a range of different name styles you can pick when naming your brand…
These work through bringing to life the names of their founders or their founder’s inspiration. Examples include: Adidas, Disney and Burberry. These names can often lack creativity, Eponymous names can often feel right should individuals or family names have history or weight in the industry. They can also offer an abstraction that people can then poor their own meaning in to as unique names will probably be uncontested in any trademarking or brand building.
Descriptive Brand Names
Descriptive names are names that derive from the business’s meaning or offering. A descriptive name is often used to explain to the consumer what the business does or the industry they are in. For example, British Airways is a British company that transports people through the airways. These are great for clear branding, but often end up being a mouthful and smaller companies may have difficulties with owning these names.
Acronymic Brand Names
This method works by using the first letter of each word to make up your brand name. It’s as easy as ABC! HSBC, BP and BMW are just a few of the global companies that use this form of naming. This type of brand name is useful for future marketing and business growth. HSBC (The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation) is not only shorter than its actual name, making it easier to remember, it also doesn’t localise the company to avoid any international confusion.
This works by selecting a word or a phrase that relates to your brand or demonstrates what your brand is aspiring to be. For example, Uber Technologies Inc. (The Oxford dictionary defines Uber as ‘of the greatest or best kind; to a very large degree’).
Composite names can also fit within this category of naming, bringing two words together to create a new one. This form of naming is useful to bring together different attributes of a brand, or communicate what the brand is offering. For example, Microsoft (a combination of microcomputer software).
Invented words for brand names is also possible, and will make you stand out. For example, the word ‘Pinterest’ didn’t mean anything before it developed into a brand. However, it is worth noting that this type of naming can be difficult for consumers to easily associate or understand what your company/business is offering.
Associative Branding Names
This is where you develop a brand name from something that you as a brand associate or relate with. The benefits of this type of naming is that you can choose something which encapsulates the ideals of your name. This encourages the consumer to buy into and believe in your brand. Red Bull is a fantastic example of this, they associate with an energised powerful animal.
The use of foreign languages can be a great trick to help create a unique brand name. Lego is a perfect example of this. Lego is a Danish company and in Danish it means ‘Play Well’. Just make sure you understand how the word or phrase translates into other languages to avoid any embarrassment or misunderstandings!
The clue is in the name! Abstract names don’t have any official meaning but rely on the formulation of the word to create an association or meaning to consumers. For example, the word Kodak has no official meaning, but the way it sounds when spoken brings an instant idea of a camera taking a picture. Good marketing and good products helps push these brand names into common knowledge and terminology.
Might be of Interest – South London Graphic Design
Step 2 – What Does Your Brand Name Say?
The next step is to consider what you actually want the brand name to say about the individuals, products or service behind it. What is the association you are trying to portray? There are many examples of brands that tell you about how they operate, or what they do, or who made it. These might seem like the safest bet, however, many brands often opt for more abstract choices to make their brand stand out.
Emotional Appeal from a Brand
The larger and more successful companies tend to have a brand which pushes an idea or concept over a simple description. Take Nike for example. Nike is an abstract name taken from a Greek winged goddess of victory. The idea behind Nike is for victory and this is clear in their brand name and logo.
What Does this Mean?
You know what style of brand name you want, the next step is to understand what emotions you want to evoke through the name. Ask yourself ‘what am I trying to portray?’. The use of an Acronymic or Eponymous Brand name can portray a more formal style, whereas an Abstract Brand name could suggest a more edgy appeal.
Step 3 – Is the Name Available?
Brand names aren’t always available. It can take time and effort to find a name that’s perfect for your brand that isn’t already taken. It’s not just as simple as checking that the domain name is free, it’s also essential to check what the name means in different cultures or languages. Vauxhall is a great example of a brand name disaster. In the late 1990’s. Vauxhall named their car ‘Nova’, which in Latin countries translated to ‘No Va’ or ‘doesn’t go’.
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Rounding up How to Choose a Brand Name
Let’s round up what you need to do to choose a great brand name. Take a step back, understand the style you want and the emotion you want to portray. Write down as many ideas that come into your head and test them out. Ask friends and family if they’ve heard of the brand and get feedback. Discuss any negative connotations which can associate with the name. Get the domain name, copyright the term and then start using it!
If you need help with a brand name or the style of your brand get in contact with us. Here at Fellow we love all branding and we’re here to help. You can find all our contact details below.