Effective Brand Naming Tips

By Mash Bonigala (1180)

Brand naming is quite a critical aspect of your understanding of how to enhance your brand. Of course, if you’ve already got a brand name, if you’ve already named your company, you’re already in business, there is not much you can do, but this episode probably would help the companies that are starting out, and are in a start up phase, and are looking for some help with getting a brand name created.

First, let’s talk about importance of your brand name. Now, most companies, most business are tempted or rather the natural progression would be that you’d pick a name that is quite straight forward. Possibly has components of may be your name or the stake holder’s name or a service oriented name and so on and so forth.


Importance of your brand name

However, before picking a name that comes to you naturally, there are a few things that you are better off thinking about to have an effective brand name. Let’s start quickly with the importance of brand name, your brand name helps you differentiates your brand, of course, this’s quite obvious, but more than that, it actually makes your brand memorable, and therefore, it pays to put some thought into it, to try and come up with a brand name that actually enhances the memorability, and creates brand awareness.


A Multipurpose Tool

You’ve to look at the brand name as a multipurpose tool and there are different categories of brand names that you can focus on, for example,

  • ‘Do you want your brand name to be memorable?’ – examples are Nike, Apple or Netflix.
  • You could go for descriptive brand names – examples would be General Motors, Toys R Us 
  • A third type could be evocative names that create a kind of reaction and almost bordering on negative marketing – a great example is Virgin or Poison perfume which are non-traditional and so on 
  • Or you could go for acronyms – examples are IBM, M&M.


What is our inspiration?

So when you start thinking of coming up with a brand name, you got to think about the inspiration behind your brand.

  • Companies can take inspirations from animals, in terms of their brand names, for example, Fox, Fox News and so on, Red Bull could be another example.
  • Or it could be places, for example, New Your Pizza, Boston Cleaning Services etc. So, if you feel that your location would add value to your brand, then you could add the location name, the place name to your brand. You need to, however, consider that if you’re trying to target the national market or even the international market then you got to think twice about putting a place name, in your brand name, it would limit you a little bit in terms of your geographical location. 
  • You could also look at objects and use those in your brand name, for example Stone Finance, Moon Entertainment; I know these are very simple examples, but I just want to drive home the point of picking objects and using them in your brand name. 
  • A very popular, especially now, way of picking a brand name is to look at foreign languages – Greek, Latin derived names. Famous examples are Nike, Amazon, Argos, Hermes, Olympus, there’s a ton of other examples. If you look at the Fortune 500, a lot of those names are derived from Greek or Latin and it’s a great way of picking a brand name. When we work with a client, we usually have this as one of our primary sources of picking a brand name. 
  • Finally, you could also do a direct service or a product oriented names such as Coca Cola, for example, istock which are directly related to the service or product.


Is the name memorable & unique?

Once you pick a list of names, you got to think about their memorability, or their uniqueness.

  • Make it simple and fun – simple words, fun words are memorable.
  • Use exotic sounding words – these could really become unique; these could create a brand recall which is instance recognition. 
  • You could also use words that evoke specific imagery, like Redbook and the first thing that comes to mind is, of course, a Redbook. But then you got to be careful that you do not confuse people with your brand name, and not only in terms of the choice of words but also you got to make sure that you don’t name your brand very close to something that’s already in your market segment or in your industry. In fact, you should research thoroughly in other sectors or in other markets and other industries to make sure that there isn’t a brand name that is similar to what you’re picking.


Domain Names & Trademarks

Finally, when you’re picking brand names, you got to really think about domain names and trademarks. Now, the biggest problem these days for companies starting out is picking names which have a domain availability.

Now that everybody and their dog has a domain, it’s very difficult to get good domain names, and if you do find your domain name available, register on possible versions; register the ‘.com’, the ‘.net’, the ‘.org.’ and all the top level TLDs; also different versions, for example, you have Redbook, so, your Redbook.com, Red-book.com and even misspellings; otherwise, you might have domain squatters who’d register those domains, and then, you’d have a difficult time trying to get those and they could be misused. Very importantly, you need to conduct a trademark search, and if possible, if your budget permits, even apply for a trademark for protection.

I’ve done a video on trademarking in the past and I cannot emphasise enough the importance of conducting a trademark search. We had a client who invested a lot time, effort, money getting their brand developed in 2013. In fact, we created their logo, their marketing strategy, their brand identity and just before they went live with their brand their attorney advised them that there was someone using that brand name in a similar market segment and were geographically very close to where they were.

So they had to ditch the brand name and the entire brand. They lost time, they lost effort, they lost money – all the investment went into building up that brand was lost.

Social Media Handles

Finally, you should also look at availability of social media handles, so Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. The handles are very important when you are picking a brand name. You need to make sure that you pick a brand name that is available; otherwise, you’ll then have confusion, and conflict and, possibly even trademark infringement issues down the line.