Try our Brand Name Generator first by entering one or two words that you’d like to include in your name. Then come back and follow our guide as we take you through the naming process.
How to come up with a Brand Name
Coming up with a Brand name involves more than just coming up with a clever idea. In this article we look at everything from Brand Goals, Target Markets, desired Brand Positioning, and how your Demographic Interests affect your naming process. We analyze what makes up a good brand, look at some of the best brand name examples, Brainstorm Ideas and give you brand name inspiration.
How to create a great brand name | Jonathan Bell at TED Conference.
Naming a brand requires a certain amount of research. It shouldn’t just relate to your product but carry with it deeper contextual associations that capture the quintessential nature of the business. It needs to identify with the overarching message of the business, and it needs to be easily remembered. When people see the brand it should be quickly recognised and trigger a positive emotional response.
Essential things a brand name should do:
- It should be unique and stand out from the competition;
- It should be easy to pronounce, remember, and identify.
- It should relate to the product in some way, offering an idea about the purpose, benefits and quality of the products produced by the company.
When coming up with your brand name you also have to think about how it translates into other languages. Does it translate well and how does its meaning change?
A good brand should be relevant, appealing, unique, and inspirational. For example, you wouldn’t call a food brand ‘Waxies’, it holds no relevance, the reference to wax is unappealing in this context. But you might call a candle business this.
These attributes should be built into the associations that make up a brands identity.
What is a Brand?
“A brand is built over time, by the impressions one has of the company, its products or services, and is confirmed (or destroyed) by experiences.”
Brands work as promises. They are assurances that the products made by that company will perform as expected. It is a promise of quality and design. It’s more than just products though.
A brand functions through associations that communicate different types of characteristics. “People use brands to categorize their choices”. A strong brand is a means of making people aware of what the company represents and what are it’s offerings and over time a brand makes purchasing decisions easier for consumers by simplify the process of buying.
In one survey it was found that “more than 50% of the survey participants chose the products and services by a particular brand”.
This idea of brand is built up around a web of associations portrayed to the consumer. For example, many consumers are swayed by the ethical implications of purchasing from a particular brand. A brand that is known to use child labour in the production of their goods, no matter if their products are cheaper, will suffer against a brand with a clearly outlined ethical manufacturing process.
Brand is the face, the portrayed personality of a business, and a good brand is something that the consumer will connect with on an emotional level.
Brand positioning is a key part of your marketing strategy. You need to constantly pay attention to your customers needs and desire “in order to create a competitive brand.” 
“In the current retail environment, consumers are overwhelmed with brands and products,” so ensuring that you have identified your niche, and figured out the similarities and differences between you and your competitors is vital if you want to stand out from the crowd and develop brand loyalty. Smart Brand positioning will enable you to actively reach and credibly talk to your identified target markets.
Think about your niche and the current trends within it. Then think about all the associations that come with that niche. For example, for the organic food niche you might think about health foods and recipes. Ask yourself, what are the interests of my target market? And what kind of brands do they currently associate with, and why?
Disney’s brand is an example of very clever positioning. Their logo has known countless iterations, however, one thing stay true for all of them, they are wonderful and whimsical. They bring to mind the wonderful animations and fairy-tales that they are so well known for. This whimsical artistic flair, is aimed at children, but it’s unique and clear identity breeds nostalgia in older generations. It also neatly highlights their specific niche – animation. If for example they had created a logo that was more severe, based simply around a dull typography, they would have struggled more to reach their target markets and elicit an emotional response in the same way.
In short, brand identity is how an organization identifies itself. It is the unique identity built up of associations that highlight the unique characteristics and differences of the brand. A brand identity should be highly relatable too as it has been found that “mental stimulation relevant to the idea of self can lead to higher probability of consumers taking actual action when it comes to a brand”.
Brand identity is the way an organization wants to be perceived in the marketplace. This might be their quality, or perhaps it is identifying with a valuable charitable cause.
The brand Descended from Odin for example is a small clothing brand that has built an identity around the perception of Vikings as strong. This makes their sportswear stand out in a competitive marketplace. They built this perception around their name, and have supported it through a clever marketing campaign involving high-profile brand representatives. One example being Ben Mudge, who is a personal trainer inspirationally fighting his condition of Cystic Fibrosis. The ensuing association is a brand identity of strength in the face of adversity.
When thinking about your own brand identity you need to consider a number of things. Where do you want the brand to be in 5 (or even 10) years? Consider brand culture not just in the marketing but in the workplace. This will help you pin down your tone, brand positioning and relationships.
Consider how you can portray all these ideas that make up you brand identity through associations, providing both familiarity with the consumer and differentiation from your competitors.
A strong brand identity should make-up everything a brand wants to be perceived and isn’t just in the name, but includes recognisable trademark colours, a logo, and tagline.
The brand image sits with the consumers, it is their perception of the brand and what it stands for. As such a brand image is created around more than just a name or a logo. Three of the main things you have to consider when realizing a brand image are:
- The Logo
- Slogan outlining in brief and supporting the brand key values
- Visual Identity: This should be interesting, engaging, memorable, unique, and above all consistent across all the marketing that goes towards building your brand image and identity.
Between these three things the brand should be easily recognisable and the brand values, brand positioning, and brand identity should be implicit.
“Brand characteristics that are easily recognizable, yet which do not convey the brand’s symbolic and functional benefits or do not provide aesthetic gratification, fail to take full advantage of their full potential.” The point they are making here is that a strong brand image must be paired with purpose. A brand image needs to make it easy for customers to associate the brand with a solution to whichever problem your product(s) solves. The Brand image is that instant association people make with a visual stimuli.
The brand image for Disney for example, is all about fun, but it also has heritage. The brand image for Apple is unique and innovative products.
Brand personality is the tone of voice, the human face, the anthropomorphic associations which stimulate an emotional response. “Creating emotional brand attachment is a key branding issue in today’s marketing world. One way to accomplish this is to match the brand’s personality with the consumer’s self.”
Dyson for example, is an innovative, scientific, and smart approach to the creation and manufacturing of vacuum cleaners. They take a rather dull everyday item and through their branding give it personality and flair, and we as consumers love it.
Henry Hoovers is another Vacuum cleaner example. They gave their vacuums a human name, and a literal face. This allows people to connect with their brand on a deeper level. The human association makes the brand more memorable and again makes a rather dull household tool, fun.
The difference between brand image and brand personality is that the former is the physical, tangible benefits and associations of the brand whereas the personality is much more indicative of an emotional response.
How to Name a Brand
When it comes to naming your brand you have to think about more than just the name.
Consider your brand objectives, and target markets. What are your competitors doing well and how can you do it better?
- Start by creating a list of words that relate to your overarching brand identity. From these words consider the connotations and implications of each. Do those fit your purpose? Are there better words, synonyms, antonyms that would work too.
- Once you have an extensive list of words cross off ones with potential negative connotations. Then cross off words that are unfamiliar, are hard to pronounce. Then think about how those terms will be received abroad.
- Next take your favourites and create a broad list of name ideas.
- Screen this list with your brand objectives in mind. Be ruthless as you whittle down the list. Make sure that all the names on this list meet the legal requirements, are unique, and you can get hold of all the relevant social handles and web domains.
- You will then want to take the remaining names and find out what other people think. Consumer research will be immensely helpful at this point.
- You will want to consider how this brand will be visualised too, what kind of marketing can you do to achieve your brand objectives and how does that fit with the name.
- Repeat this process until you find a name that feels right. It may take weeks or mere hours. Don’t rush it, get other people’s opinions and when your ready, you can register the name.
Great Brand Examples
Google – Google is one of the biggest names out there. It’s name actually derives from a slight misspelling of the word Googol. A googol is the second biggest number: 1 x 10^100. They chose to name google this as they were searching for a word that could accurately represent what is essentially the largest source of data. After seeing the misspelling ‘Google’ it stuck.
Jeff Bezos, back in ‘95 wanted to name his delivery service Cadabra. However, he was persuaded eventually that this sounded far too like cadaver. So to avoid the negative connotations they went with Amazon, the largest river in the world. The reason they chose this is that rivers, water in general, is traditionally the most efficient way to transport goods.
Nike went through several permutations before eventually becoming the brand we know today, which just goes to show how hard it can be to name a brand. Originally the founders Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight wanted to call the company ‘Dimension 6’. It didn’t take it’s current name until ‘71. Nike is the Greek Goddess of Victory. You can quickly see how, for a sportswear brand this is perfect. It is short, easy to remember and literally means victory for the people who wear it. The very recognisable Nike tick, or swoosh, is an attempt to convey motion in design.
Lululemon -The guys at Lululemon did things a little differently when they made their brand. Their original thought was to create something that would appeal to the Japanese market place by being difficult to pronounce in Japanese. It was thought that because th phoneme ‘L’ doesn’t exist in the japanese alphabet the brand would appear authentically North American and make it stand out.
Interestingly the alliteration of the ‘Ls’ actually makes it quite a fun word to say in the English language helping the brand gain a solid following in the West.
Verizon is a mixture of two words. Firstly the Latin word ‘veritas’, which means truth, and secondly, Horizon. This blending of words is a powerful brand statement for a telecommunications company. Horizon suggests grandeur, and size of the company, veritas implies the brand is trustworthy and the latin lends a little class to the name. The result is an easily memorable word that is entirely unique and quite powerful.
Disney is named after its founder Walt Disney. It’s important to note that the name Disney is unusual name that stands out as a brand name. It’s meaning and personality have become synonymous with entertainment. Over the years the studio reliably produced high quality animation, pushing boundaries and experimenting with technology, taking Disney Studios to the forefront of the entertainment industry. The brand is now a promise, built on heritage, hinging on a name, of quality, high standards and original entertainment.
Brand Name Inspiration
We’ve come up with a few brand names for various industries to give you an idea as to how the process works.
Edge Technologies: A simple name like Edge is easy to remember and has clear connotations in the technology industries. It is a statement of advanced innovative products that have an edge over competitors. However, it’s not entirely unique as there are several high profile products by Samsung – namely the Galaxy Edge – already in the market. A variation of this though could be an interesting place to start.
Daemon: This is an interesting word. In Greek mythology it means an inner spirit or guiding force. In technology it is a subprogram is that runs as a background process, rather than being under the direct control of an interactive user. Because of the plurality of meaning it stands out as a name.
Paramore: By combining the words parameter and more you are suggesting an ever extending range of possibilities. On top of this a paramour is a loved one, which adds implications of intimacy to the brand identity.
Blended Flavours: A straightforward name for a food business. Blended flavours has positive connotations of unique and new flavours.
Bubblicious: Combining bubbles and delicious. This would make an interesting name for a fizzy drink company aimed at children. However, the childish nature of the name is limiting in the possibilities down the line.
Activate: Active, activate. As a sports goods name this acts as command, seemingly telling people to activate their sporty side. This opens up quite hard line marketing possibilities around the idea of people achieving their goals.
Sword and Shield: This would work as a men’s sportswear brand. It reference old weapons that are in our current society romanticised.
Eros: The roman God of love. For a beauty brand this name would speak directly to the consumers desires.
Mi Amor: An extension of the idea of Eros, this translates as My Love. It is possessive and almost comes off as an command. Again as a beauty brand this speaks to the consumers desires.
Advocate: An advocate is a friend and supporter. As a clothing brand this implies an interesting message. Are the clothes advocates for you, supporting your fashion sense. Or are you advocates for the brand. By working both ways it subtly involves the consumer with the brand on a deeper level.
Things to remember when naming your brand
We have covered a lot of bases and offered a fare few ideas to help you with your ongoing branding considerations. Things to remember though: if you take nothing else away with you, understand that your brand is made up of more than just the name. The name though is merely the starting point. It is the base from which you build your brand identity.
You brand name needs to connect with your audience on an emotional level. It should be unique, easy to remember and clearly convey the personality and message behind your branding.
Try not to restrict yourself with a very specific name relating to a product or area, but think instead in terms of building positive associations. Avoid insensitive or unappealing names or names that are difficult to pronounce.
Finally, remember to consider how your brand name translates into foreign languages as you don’t want your brand name to be a hindrance in international market places.
- Chovanová, H.H., Ivanovich A., & Babčanová, D. (2015) “Impact of Brand on Consumer Behavior” Procedia Economics and Finance, Vol. 34, pp. 615-621: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212567115016767
- Escalas, J.E. (2004a), “Imagine yourself in the product: mental simulation, narrative transportation, and persuasion”, Journal of Advertising, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 37-48: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4189256
- Jeon, J.E., (2017) “The impact of brand concept on brand equity” Pacific Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vol. 11 No. 2, 2017 pp. 233-245: https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/APJIE-08-2017-030
- Malär, L., Krohmer, H., Hoyer, W.D. and Nyffenegger, B. (2011), “Emotional brand attachment and brand personality: the relative importance of the actual and the ideal self”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 75 No. 4, pp. 35 – 52: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057740805700954