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How To Choose A Brand Name (30+ Techniques)

        posted by , May 10, 2013

Choosing a brand name might be the biggest business decision you make.

Your brand name is a symbol of your products, services and customer experience. It speaks to who you are as a company. It says something about how you fulfill customer needs and desires.

As time goes on your brand may build in value. Brand recognition, reputation and customer relationships all add to your brand value with time. The quality of your brand name will either amplify or detract from this value.

The following A-Z list of techniques may help you to choose the right name for your brand.


Accessible

Choose a name that's easy to say and spell. This is particularly important for a global brand that spans many countries, cultures and languages.

Examples

  • 7Up
  • 7-Eleven
  • BBC
  • Bebe
  • Big Mac
  • BMW
  • Gap
  • MTV


Adaptable

When your brand grows in value you may want to use it for a wide array of products and services. Is your name adaptable?

Examples

  • Virgin


Aesthetically Pleasing

Does your brand name look good in print? Does it have visual appeal?

Examples

  • Beetle
  • Goodyear


Authentic

A name that accurately reflects your customer experience.

Examples

  • Dairy Queen
  • Jameson
  • Starbucks


Benefits

Illustrate the benefits of your product. How do you fulfill the customer's needs and desires?

Examples

  • Best Buy
  • Diet Coke
  • Easy-Bake
  • Juicy Fruit


Cultured

A name rooted in culture and traditions.

Examples

  • Dom Perignon
  • Louis Vuitton


Cute

If you brand is related to children or pets consider a cute name.

Examples

  • Carebear
  • Dog Chow
  • Hello Kitty
  • Huggies


Defined

Choose an word from the dictionary.

Examples

  • Fidelity
  • Google (misspelling of Googol ~ the number 10100)
  • Hallmark
  • Kisses (Hershey’s)
  • Milky Way
  • Mustang (Ford)
  • Subway
  • Tide


Descriptive

It's helpful to have a brand name that explains what you do. If your brand name becomes a household name this factor loses its importance.

Small businesses with limited promotional capabilities benefit most from a descriptive name.

Examples

  • Airbus
  • BabyGap
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Burger King
  • Comedy Central
  • Etch A Sketch
  • Facebook
  • Land Rover
  • Pizza Hut
  • Play-Doh
  • Rice Krispies
  • U-Haul


Distinct

Your brand name should be unique. This is no small challenge. It often feels as if all the good brand names are taken. Trademarks and domain names are seriously picked over.

Examples

  • Bridgestone
  • Hush Puppies
  • Starbucks


Durable

Avoid basing your name on some passing trend that will sound out of date within a few years. Many technology companies have based their names on the hot technologies of the day, only to regret it later. Timeless names are best.

Examples

  • Ivory
  • Moosehead Brewery
  • Reader’s Digest
  • Oracle
  • Vanity Fair


Enthusiastic

A brand name that exerts enthusiasm for your business.

Examples

  • Energizer
  • Hard Rock Cafe
  • Wonderbra
  • Hot Wheels
  • Hungry-Man


Evocative

Names that evoke powerful images.

Examples

  • Burberry
  • Coach
  • Escalade (Cadillac)
  • Jacuzzi
  • London Fog


Fearless

Many top brand names sounded a little strange at first.

Examples

  • Dr Pepper
  • Fruit of the Loom
  • Gatorade
  • Kool-Aid
  • Six Apart


Foreign Word

Consider a non-English brand name.

Examples

  • Atari ~ a term from the Japanese game Go
  • Tonka
  • Samsung
  • Volkswagen


Founders' Names

If your name has a ring to it, why not use it?

Examples

  • Armani
  • Boeing
  • Ben & Jerry’s
  • Birkenstock
  • Chanel
  • Chef Boyardee
  • Dole
  • Ford Motor
  • Honda
  • Heineken
  • Jack Daniels
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • McDonald’s
  • Pabst
  • Toyota


Fresh

Avoid cliché names such as three letter acronyms unless you have a good reason. Be original like these brands.

Examples

  • Airwalk
  • Almond Joy
  • Corona
  • Mountain Dew


Futuristic

Brand names that sound modern or technologically advanced.

Our imagination about the future is constantly progressing. Futuristic names have a strong tendency to sound dated or cliché within a few years.

Non-specific, general terms are your best bet to ensure your futuristic brand name makes it into the future.

Examples

  • Pixar


Geography & Landmarks

Names based on places or well known landmarks.

Examples

  • Florida Orange Juice
  • Hawaiian Tropic
  • Hermes Paris
  • Malibu (Chevrolet)
  • Patagonia
  • Swedish Fish


Hobbies

A name that taps into the customer's passion for hobbies and interests.

Examples

  • Nautica
  • Polo Ralph Lauren


Hybrid

Mix two concepts that are core to your brand.

Examples

  • Mini Cooper
  • Pop-Tarts
  • Sports Illustrated


Lighthearted

A name that sounds amusing, humorous or lighthearted.

Examples

  • Bugs Bunny
  • Cheerios
  • Grape Nuts
  • Life Savers
  • Nerds
  • Pac-Man
  • Smarties
  • Tootsie Roll


Magic

Your brand name should be magic. Something that gets you, your employees and your customers excited. A name that you can't get out of your head.

Examples

  • Apple
  • Guinness
  • Twitter


Natural

Brand names that sound natural, earthy or wholesome.

Examples

  • Burt’s Bees
  • Ocean Spray
  • Roots Canada
  • Timberland


Neologisms

Invent a new word. This gives you a chance of becoming a brandnomer (the word of choice for a category of product) such as Band-Aid, Nylon, or Kleenex.

Examples

  • Eggo
  • Q-tips
  • Tabasco


Patriotic

A name that invokes patriotic feelings.

Examples

  • British Rail
  • Canada Dry
  • Liberty (Jeep)
  • USA Today


Personification

Use the name of a historical person, myth or legend. It's also possible to invent your own personifications such as Betty Crocker.

Examples

  • Godiva (from Lady Godiva)
  • Green Giant
  • Mr. Bubble
  • Nike (Greek Goddess)
  • Uncle Ben’s


Rhythm & Rhyme

Names with a little rhythm and rhyme just sound right.

Examples

  • Coca-Cola
  • Dunkin' Donuts
  • Hula-Hoop
  • Kit Kat
  • Tic Tac


Ring

Something with a ring to it that you can't get out of your head.

Examples

  • Cat Chow
  • Corn Pops
  • Doritos
  • Ferrari
  • Milk Duds
  • Minute Maid
  • Pepsi
  • Reese's Pieces


Series

Create a series of brands with a common element in the name.

Examples

  • iPad
  • iPhone
  • iPod


Short

The best brand names are often short. This is increasingly difficult to achieve as trademarks are established for many short words.

Examples

  • Bic
  • LEGO
  • Sony
  • V8
  • Audi
  • H&M
  • Wii


Smart

Brands that sound like a smart choice.

Examples

  • Infiniti
  • Mercedez-Benz
  • Passat (Volkswagen)
  • Science Diet
  • Vogue


Spotless

Check that the name doesn't have any unintended meanings.


Standard

Names that sound fundamental to an industry.

Examples

  • General Electric
  • International Paper
  • Reuters
  • Stanley
  • Universal Studios
  • Whole Foods Markets


Status

A name that conveys status. Something that sounds institutional and historic.

Examples

  • Evian
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Perrier
  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Town Car (Lincoln)
  • Tiffany & Co.


Tasteful

Avoid offending people or sounding too edgy. Edgy gets short term publicity. Pleasant usually wins in the long term.


Tested

Avoid falling in love with your brand name before you've tested it. Bounce it off people you trust to get their reactions. See if they can remember it the next day. Initial impressions are important. After looking at a prospective brand name for days, you'll be blinded to its first impressions.


Youthful

A name that sounds youthful, energetic or new.

Examples

  • Billabong
  • Burton
  • Red Bull
  • Roxy


Next: How To Write A Mission Statement That Rocks




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