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13 Ways Brand Names Affect Business Success

Written by Steve Creamer on 19 July 2023
13 ways brand names affect business success by Peek Creative Limited

Most business owners understand that choosing the perfect brand name can have some degree of influence on their overall success and longevity. However, the extent of this influence might not be as apparent. Your brand name is arguably the most influential element of your business and can be key to its success or demise for a multitude of reasons.

Read on to learn thirteen ways that your brand name can affect your business’ success and how you can incorporate and adapt these aspects to your benefit.

Brand Name Aesthetic

Before you get into the nitty-gritty of what your brand name should and shouldn’t have, the one overarching element that every name needs to ensure success is a clear aesthetic. 

Your business is going to struggle to be successful from the very beginning if its brand name does not clearly convey its:

  • Goals and values
  • Niche/intended audience
  • Products/services

Potential consumers need to be able to glance at your brand name and almost immediately know these details, even if they’ve never heard of the brand before. If they can’t, they’re going to immediately glance away and invest in a more familiar brand they know can provide them with what they need.

Of course, the difficult part here is finding a clear and concise name without being overly generic. “The Sandal Store” might do a good job of telling consumers all of the information we listed, but it does this in a basic and unimpactful manner. 

Therefore, it is unlikely that this name will resonate with consumers or promote a loyal following, both of which are crucial to brand success. 

It is important to a business’s success that its brand name connotes all of its aesthetic essentials while also being unique enough to stand out amongst the competition. 

Brand Name Memorability

One of the first tips you’ll ever receive when creating a new brand name is that it should be memorable. Without a memorable brand name, your business has to work that much harder to attract people’s attention and be impactful enough for them to remember you in the future. 

This means that you’re likely to spend more money on marketing, such as television advertisements or professionally run social media pages. It will also take longer for you to build clientele until your name is more recognisable, which means your company’s profits take a significant toll. 

The best way to ensure your brand name is memorable is to make it as unique as possible while still reflecting the brand’s values and product. The more unique the name, the more likely it will stick in people’s minds for a quick recall. 

They might not need your services the first time they see your brand name, but if it is memorable enough, they will seek you out when they do have a need you can fill. 

Read more about brand name evaluation and memorability.

Brand Name Community

A great way to ensure a business will have a long and successful future is by creating a distinct community within the market that entices new consumers and is filled with those who are already unfailingly loyal to the brand.

We all have that one brand we will always choose over its competitors for some reason or other. It might be your local grocery store and your favourite clothing boutique, or even a streaming service. At some point, you were convinced enough to give this brand a shot and then decided that its services and quality were exceptional enough to keep you coming back for more. 

This is exactly what you want to promote within your own business through your brand name. You want this name to be so impactful that it denotes the high quality, authenticity, and other unique characteristics to consumers.

By creating a sense of community around your brand, not only will it create a loyal following of customers for a firm foundation, but these loyal customers will also convince friends, family, and co-workers to invest in your services as well. 

Fignum - Stationery design and print work - By Peek Creative Limited
Read how Peek successfully developed a new brand name to communicate to Fignum’s financial market.

As a result, there is a constant flow of revenue for maximum success. Without this community, your business will have to constantly convince customers that you are worthy of their time and money because there will be fewer resources to validate this claim.  

Brand Name Length

It isn’t unlikely that length doesn’t make an appearance on the list of things you’re trying to consider when choosing a brand name. However, it is an important factor of your business’s ultimate success and should certainly be penciled in.

Your brand name’s length can help promote or inhibit your business’ success because it is strongly connected to its memorability and consumer recall. 

Think about it. When you think about the most successful brand names, which ones come to mind first? Odds are it’s a large, popular company with a short name. And that’s exactly what you need. 

Ultimately, a brand name on the road to success shouldn’t be more than two words, and it shouldn’t exceed two to four syllables. You want your name to be short and sweet, so people have an easier time reading it. The easier it is to read, the easier it is to remember. 

Someone walking on the street and passing a billboard with your brand name on it is more likely to catch the name at a glance if it’s short versus stopping to read a long name in full. 

These long names can also be devilishly tricky for everyday people to remember since they are already bombarded with a vast amount of marketing nearly every second of the day. The last thing you want is for a customer to sit there and ponder your brand name to no avail because of its length or complexity. 

Brand Name Referrals

Marketing is undoubtedly one of the costlier elements of owning a business. Through marketing, you can get your brand name in the public eye enough to promote a loyal consumer base and generate enough profit for success.

Getting people to remember your brand name is essential, so they do some much-needed marketing for you. One of the most influential marketing tactics a business can obtain for free is word of mouth. 

If you can get customers to remember your brand name long enough to talk about it, you’re one step closing to expanding your clientele without spending a dime. 

Not only do you want your brand products to be exceptional enough to please your consumers, but you also want the brand as a whole to be unique and impactful enough to entice these consumers to act and refer others in their life to your company. 

A new consumer is far more likely to invest in your company through a referral. This was clearly demonstrated in the poll “To what extent do you trust the following forms of advertising?” where it was discovered that 92% of consumers trusted “recommendations from friends and family” more than any other marketing tactic.

Many companies will try to entice these referrals or recommendations by providing incentives for customers to post reviews on their social media by awarding discounts or prizes. Some will even provide more significant boons to consumers after their referred party purchases a product or service from the company. They might even discount the new consumer’s purchase as well. 

Although it could potentially come at its own cost to promote word of mouth, it has been proven that this form of marketing is still the most effective and influential to company success, and therefore, worthy of attention. 

Brand Name Inclusivity

It’s definitely important to your business’s success that your brand name is unique. However, there is such a thing as being too unique. 

For instance, perhaps you’ve chosen a brand name based on a particular reference or an inside joke within a certain niche or community. On the one hand, this can be extremely effective if this name represents your business’ values and demonstrates your product in a fun, community-centred way.

However, the downside of this is if the name is too niche and unique. As a result, it might exclude a substantial number of potential consumers because they don’t understand your brand name or its origins. 

If you really want a unique brand name similar to what we described, be sure it is aimed more at inclusivity and inviting people in rather than pushing them away. 

This can make or break a business getting off the ground and finding success in the early years. People won’t want to do business with a brand they already don’t understand or feel excluded from because of its name.

If your business doesn’t fail from lack of clientele alone, having a non-inclusive name will eventually restrict business growth necessary to expand and enhance your business and products. 

You don’t necessarily have to appeal to everyone. Many businesses thrive on tailoring their products and values to a specific niche. But the more people you can draw-in with your name, the better.

Brand Name Doppelgangers

One of the most detrimental things you can do to your business when creating a brand name is to choose one that essentially already exists. 

For legal purposes, you can’t have the exact same name as another business, but you can certainly have something very similar. 

If you’re unsure whether your potential brand name already exists, use Companies House‘s name availability checker. 

Alternatively, if you’re curious about the legal parameters here, Oury Clark states that your brand name is considered identical to another if all elements of the name are the same after removing:

  • any punctuation in either name
  • the status of the company (ex. ltd, plc)
  • usage of the word ‘the’
  • any words or symbols that connote the same meaning (ex. ‘&’ / ‘and’).

Having a brand name that resembles another is a dangerous game and a severe hindrance to your business’ success. 

To start, if this brand is already successful and well established, it is highly likely people will remember it over your own. Or worse, they will assume they recalled your brand name incorrectly and mistake your brand for its counterpart.

Additionally, if both brands are selling similar products, consumers are also more likely to choose the more reputable and recognisable brand over an up-and-coming business. This means your business needs to work that much harder to compete with a brand that already has a significant clientele, and you have to find a way to distinguish yourself from them in order to earn business. This is an exceptional feat that, sadly, many brands can’t achieve

Brand Name Searchability

With the modern era going a mile a minute, social media and the Internet reign supreme as consumer influences. For this reason, your brand name’s best friend for business success is the search box. 

Most consumers will search for the name of a brand on the internet before they invest any of their time or money into what they have to offer. This is so they can read reviews and validate that the business provides exceptional products and experiences worthy of their support.

Therefore, if your business name is difficult to search, this process stops before it really even starts. Some factors that can influence searchability are spelling and the use of symbols or characters.  

If your brand name is spelled in a strange way or has an uncommon variation on a word (ex. shooz instead of shoes), it is unlikely potential consumers will be able to search it properly. This means your business might not appear in the search results when interested parties take the time to look for it. 

The same can occur if your brand name uses characters and symbols that are difficult to find on a regular phone or keyboard. It is unlikely a potential consumer will go through the extra effort to find the right symbols for your brand name, effectively ending the search.

This is a huge deterrent to your business’ success because it inhibits the spread and influence of its name through one of the most influential tools of the modern age. 

It can also be extremely dangerous if your brand name is spelled differently or uses symbols and characters to differentiate it from another business that has a similar name. 

If your names are nearly identical, but your competitor is more established and has a more common or simple brand name, their business will likely appear in Internet searches over your own. As a result, you are essentially providing your competitors with the opportunity to earn customers initially intended for you. 

The best thing you can do here is to create a brand name that is, again, short, easy to remember, and easy to spell. 

Brand Name Limitations

Something businesses might not consider is how their brand name can actually limit their growth in the future. 

Many businesses will name their brand after one particular service or product they are selling. On the one hand, this is beneficial to their success in the sense that the name clearly reflects the brand’s goals. However, this benefit is outweighed by the fact that the business is now limited to the product(s) or service(s) stated in their brand name.

For example, if your store is named Cats R’ Us, consumers immediately know you’re selling feline-related products. This is great for targeting the niche that is cat owners. However, you’ve now limited yourself to only this domestic pet. 

In 2018, 470 million dogs were kept as pets worldwide versus 370 million cats. Although cats were more prevalent in the European Union with 75 million cat owners versus 65 million dog owners, it is clear that focusing solely on cat products would significantly hinder a golden opportunity for company expansion and profit by adding canine products.

Of course, you could include dog products despite being named Cats R’ Us, but since this isn’t consistent with your brand aesthetic, it will confuse consumers. What’s worse is this inclusion could make your brand seem disingenuous by selling products that don’t align with your aesthetic purely for profit.

Therefore, it is best to choose a more general brand name that allows your business to expand but still details your goals and ideals. This will allow you to try new things and sell new products to enhance your success while remaining loyal to your overall aesthetic. 

Brand Name Impact

The more impactful the brand name, the more likely a business will be on the fast track to success. 

Many prominent brand names earned their popularity and support because their name impacts potential consumers in a visual or emotional way. 

Considering the vast amount of competition in any market, you want your brand name to stand out among the crowd, and the best way to do this is to get consumers to emotionally connect to the product or visualise themselves using it. 

One exceptional example of this would be the mattress brand DreamCloud. Not only is this name short and sweet like we’ve discussed, but it also evokes a peaceful, dreamlike image of their product being akin to sleeping on a cloud. 

Your business has a significantly higher chance of selling products if it has a brand name that is visually evocative and reflects traits consumers are searching for in products, such as comfort, speed, strength, etc.

If your brand name not only piques their interest enough to stop and investigate your product but also causes them to visualise themselves using it, there is a decent chance they’ll end up buying it. 

What can be more influential than a visually evocative brand name is an emotionally charged brand name. 

It has been scientifically proven that brand names that evoke emotions of happiness or positivity “are more likely to convince humans to share, retweet and mention their friends” versus ones that evoke sad or negative emotions “generally lead to a higher click rate.”

There are pros and cons to each, but this proves that it can be extremely beneficial to your business’ success to choose a brand name that evokes some sort of emotion to entice a reaction out of consumers. 

Something simple like Genuine Foods not only evokes a positive emotion that the company is honest and authentic, but that the food is also probably healthy and maybe even organic. As a result, people who are conscious about their health and diet are likely to take an interest in this brand and purchase its products over a general store. 

Brand Names Use of Language

It might sound odd, but how a certain word sounds in your brand name can actually affect the audience, it attracts versus the intended audience. 

If your brand is centred on a specific gender due to the products and services it sells, your success could come down to something as simple as its syllables. 

In Christopher Johnson’s book Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little, he discusses how stressed versus unstressed syllables attract men versus women. 

For example, iambs, which consist of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one (dee DUM), tend to attract women’s attention. This is because of their soft, smooth sound used in many prominent feminine brands such as Chanel, Dior, and Olay. 

Conversely, trochees, which consist of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one (DUM dee), tend to attract men’s attention. These words tend to be harsher with more initial punch, demonstrated by Gillette, Boss, and Champion.

In the grand scheme of things to consider when creating a brand name, this is by no means the most influential. However, it has been proven that the sound or feeling the name evokes due to its syllabic meter can influence your success if you choose those that more align with your intended audience. 

If you are creating a brand that aims to be more gender-neutral and all-inclusive, perhaps choose a name that aligns more with the gender your research shows will take a greater interest in your products.

Brand Name Backstory

Something that can help consumers connect to your brand and want to invest in your services is discovering your brand’s backstory.

Inspiration for brand names comes from everywhere, but looking at this list makes it easy to feel like creating a brand name is more like solving a complicated equation. 

It is incredibly rare that any business gets to have that first perfect brand name they created. In fact, many have to settle for their fifth or sixth choice. This is an important element of your brand story that shows how your company had to overcome this challenge before choosing the name that consumers love and support. 

One example of this is Auction Web. Never heard of it? Well, that’s because its owner Pierre Omidyar changed this prominent online auction service’s name when he decided it wasn’t quite catchy enough. His goal was to name it Echo Bay until he realised this name was already taken, and so, he settled for eBay. 

Another interesting brand name origin story is a famous coffee shop that was almost named Cargo House or Pequod. 

Both are certainly unique names derived from the book Moby Dick. However, upon further reflection, the brand opted for the name of another of the book’s prominent characters, Starbuck. And so, the name of one of the world’s second most popular coffee brand was born. 

Many consumers have no idea where their most beloved brands got their names or how many alterations they went through. But, once they learn this information, they often feel much closer to the brand than before. 

Stories always have a way of bringing people together, and releasing the backstory to your brand name can promote a sense of transparency to your consumers and even enhance their sense of brand community for a loyal and supportive following.

Brand Name Reputation

Your brand name is essentially the face of your company, and so, its reputation is paramount to a business’s success. 

Nearly all of the elements on this list can culminate into a brand name’s reputation and influence how customers perceive the company and its products/services.

Creating a unique and memorable brand with a strong community helps it generate a positive reputation within the market that can give it that little extra edge over competitors. 

This reputation helps convince new and old consumers that your brand is trustworthy, inclusive, and takes pride in creating quality products and services for their respected consumers. 

If, for some reason or other, the business connected to a brand name is connected to some form of scandal or offends consumers in any way, it can be extremely difficult to extricate these events from the brand name as a whole. 

One reason this is exceptionally hard in the modern age is the influence of social media. Consumers essentially expect businesses to comment on brand-related issues, and if they don’t, their reactions will spread like wildfire. This is an unfortunate example of how word of mouth can help a business just as easily as it can demolish it. 

Therefore, it is essential that businesses connect their brand name to positive events and influences in the world to show consumers they are worthy of their support. 

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