What’s A Good Brand Name? Let’s Find Out!
A good brand name can make or break a company’s success. It is the foundation of helping a business owner establish and uphold a positive presence with potential and current customers. But, developing a brand name is not easy. In fact, it is quite overwhelming. Choose the wrong name, and you can devastate your company’s future.
A good brand name sticks in people’s minds and entices customers to work with you. First, you need to figure out what your company’s mission is, what services you provide, and what sets you apart from the competition. Then, there are several popular naming conventions you can follow.
Not every business owner can pay an expensive marketing company to brand their company. If you are racking your brain to figure out what to name your company, below are some tips. Read on to learn everything there is to know about what makes a brand name successful and how you can implement that information into naming your brand.
Table of Contents
What Makes A Brand Name Good?
Finding a unique brand name can be a daunting process. You will need to know what the brand name should do. Experts agree that profitable brands have all made their mark with names that share similar features.
You can follow in these brands’ footsteps by choosing a brand name that also includes these essential attributes. A good name brand is:
The Two Ms: Memorable And Meaningful
Customers can only use your company if they remember your company. Therefore, you need a name that is catchy but simple, concise, but suggestive. Some of the tips below can help you develop a brand name that stays in someone’s memory. But, your name must be meaningful as well as memorable to make an impact on customers.
The brand name needs to communicate the spirit and essence of your company. What is the image you want to convey? What services do you provide? What is important to your company? How does your company relate to its customers on what matters, and why are you better suited than the competition?
These are the questions you should strive to answer in order to make sure your brand name is meaningful. If it does not represent who you are, the meaning behind your brand name will be lost. Memorable and meaningful go hand-in-hand - you want your customers to remember something significant about what your company represents.
Make a Good Brand Name, Be Distinctive To Rise Above The Competition
Your brand name needs to be distinctive. People should know your company apart from others. It is imperative within your company’s specific industry, as you want to be clearly distinguishable from your competitors. It would be a shame if a customer meant to shop with you but went to a competitor with a similar brand name.
No one gets confused when they see the brand name Pepsi versus Coca-Cola. You can probably picture in your head the brand names and logos for McDonald’s versus Burger King. Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut used to be the only pizza rivals before others like Papa John’s entered the pizza world. They all made sure their names were distinct.
Distinctiveness will help your company stand out against the competition locally and all over the world. With the internet today, your competition will not only be in your backyard. You may have competition across the globe. Therefore, you need to distinguish yourself from the rest with a clever, unique, and distinctive brand name.
Brand Authenticity In A Technological World
People will always value authenticity. Being authentic is more important now than it has ever been since anyone can fake anything online and on social media. Customers want to work with companies that are truthful and sincere. You do not just have a mission statement, but you also have to live by that mission statement.
Your brand name should represent this mission, along with your company’s core values and the business’s vision. When you think about how your brand can represent your mission and values, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is our company’s mission?
- What are our company’s values?
- What makes us better than the competition?
- What makes us different from the competition?
- What exactly do we do for our customers, anyway?
Your brand needs to authentically represent what your company stands for and what you truly do for your customer base. Basically, your name must fit perfectly with who you are and why customers should shop with you and not the competition.
Your Brand Name Needs To Be Long-Lasting
To truly succeed in today’s age, your brand name must stand the test of time. Your brand name has to be able to survive your company’s potential evolutions. Developing a brand name is a laborious process that takes a lot of time and effort. You should not have to re-brand in a few years if trends change.
For example, if you are a sole proprietor who may take partners down the road, you may not want to use your own name as the brand. How will your partners feel when they own a company that does not represent their hard work?
Ensure your brand name is flexible enough to adapt and adjust to any new products, approaches, or acquisitions. In order to make sure your brand name is long-lasting, try staying away from words that are overly specific and trendy.
You may only sell phones right now, but if your brand name is “Only Phones” and you start selling tablets, this could be very confusing for your customer base. It would lead your customers to believe they can only purchase phones from you. In turn, they might go buy their tablets elsewhere.
Learn how we created a household name in the interior design world.
Choosing Your Brand Name
Once you figure out what you want to convey, you can choose a name that resonates with your customers. The best way to select a brand name is to do research on brand names with proven track records. While there are many different kinds of brand names, below is a list of seven tried-and-tested successful brand naming conventions.
- Real Word
Name The Brand After Yourself
If you are the founder of your company, you probably already have a memorable name. Why not turn your name into your brand? Often, it is easier for you to legally protect your name and find an available website address unique to you. It can put a face (your face) to the company.
Some famous brands named after their founders include:
|Ralph Lauren Corporation (Ralph Lauren)||Tommy Hilfiger (Thomas Hilfiger)|
|Ben & Jerry’s (Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield)||Gucci (Guccio Gucci)|
|Calvin Klein, Inc. (Calvin Klein)||Tiffany & Co. (Charles Tiffany)|
|Hershey’s (Milton Hershey)||McDonald’s (Richard and Maurice McDonald)|
|Hewlett-Packard (William Hewlett and David Packard)||Kellogg’s (Will Keith Kellogg)|
|Post (C. W. Post)||Ford (Henry Ford)|
As you can see from above, many entrepreneurs have named their companies after themselves with great success. Call it genius or call it ego, but naming your brand after yourself is probably the easiest choice because you do not have to spend any time thinking about it.
The downside is that if you get in trouble or earn a bad reputation in the press, so does your company. You can probably think about company stocks that have plummeted because the company namesake got into trouble. In addition, you should also only use your name if you do not believe you will need partners down the road.
Use A Name That Describes Your Company’s Services
If you are uncomfortable using your own name, you can try to find a brand name that describes what exactly your company does. What is it that your business does exactly? You may be able to find a creative, descriptive name that fits your company’s mission. For example, Facebook is a book of faces, and Groupon is a group of coupons.
If you go with a descriptive brand name, it should clearly and concisely communicate the product or service you offer to customers. If it gets too confusing, potential shoppers will wonder what you are selling and end up going to someone whose name is easier to understand. That being said, here are some successful and simple, descriptive names:
- Toys “R” Us
- General Motors
- Bank of America
One problem with a straightforward brand name is that it can be boring. It is memorable, but not creative. If you decide to use a descriptive brand name, you may want to follow it up with an ingenious tagline to help tell your company’s whole narrative.
Try Using An Acronym
Some of the most well-known brand names are actually shorter versions of a descriptive name. Some of the brands you are probably very familiar with by letters alone actually stand for a longer name. Below is a list of companies that are known by their acronyms but actually have longer company names:
|CVS||(Convenience, Value, and Service)|
|IBM||(International Business Machines)|
|KFC||(Kentucky Fried Chicken)|
|HSBC||(Hong-Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation)|
|BMW||(Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft)|
|UPS||(United Parcel Service)|
|GEICO||(Government Employees Insurance Company)|
Acronym names come with more issues than descriptive names. For one, they can be challenging to secure legally. They are also usually more difficult to remember. You are asking a customer to remember a few letters, but those letters may not make sense right away.
If you are just starting out, you want to make your presence known. You probably want to stay away from an acronym during the startup phase while you are building your brand. Many of the successful brands above are known today by their acronyms alone but started out using the full words.
Finally, acronyms do not carry any meaning like descriptive names, and they do not portray any feeling or emotion. That being said, they could be used to change perception. For example, KFC moved to three letters when the world equated fried foods with unhealthy trans fats.
Invent An Entirely New Word
There are many brand names that are commonplace today, but before an entrepreneur thought it up and protected it, the words never existed. There are actually brand names that make no sense and cannot be found in the dictionary. Yet, the names are so familiar to us now that we use them in casual conversation.
Some of these made-up words include:
Some words, even fake ones, just work. “Verizon” blends “vertical” and “horizon.” The word “Kodak” has no meaning whatsoever. It is just a short word that begins and ends with the same letter and has enough staying power to stick in the human mind. The human hive mind is a funny thing. If you can tap into what works, you will be successful.
Do you ask for a tissue or a Kleenex? Do you go to copy something, or do you Xerox it? Who does not open up their internet browser to “Google” something on a daily basis? These fabricated words have a widespread impact that has lasted decades.
Because these names are made up, they may also be easier to protect legally unless someone actually thought of the made-up name first. However, they are too difficult to come up with if you are not an advertising professional. Since these made-up words have no fundamental meaning, they may take a while to catch on.
Brand Your Company With A Metaphor
The best way to tell the story of your company is to start with an evocative metaphor that people may already know. Metaphors create imagery, powerfully and provocatively. They are unique and creative, connecting the brand to an overall experience. These names also create a story that is larger than the brand itself—a powerful story.
For example, the Amazon is the biggest river in the world and the biggest website in the world. Nike was the ancient Greek goddess of victory, and you may find success with Nike sportswear. Dove invokes femininity, softness, and purity. The name is perfect for a woman’s toiletry brand.
Metaphorical names are usually much easier to legally secure than descriptive names. However, they also require research. These names also take time to catch on, similar to names that are entirely made up. That being said, connecting yourself to something with power is the perfect way to build a brand that people will relate to.
Have Fun with a Lexical Brand Name
Another language device that you may have learned in English class is alliteration—the repeating of consonants in a sentence. Why not take on some alliteration and use it to develop a memorable brand name? That is what a lexical brand name is: a name that plays off of the word itself to make it more memorable. Lexical brand names include:
- Krispy Kreme
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- Sizzler Steakhouse
- Best Buy
Other lexical brand examples play off of intentional misspellings like Krazy Glue, Flickr, or Tumblr. These are obviously not spelt correctly, and that is what makes them so memorable. Intentionally misspelling a word can also help when securing legal protection since you are not trying to copyright or trademark the actual word.
Find A Fitting Word In The Real World
If you have tried all of the above strategies and still cannot find a brand name that fits your company, you can always open up a dictionary or thesaurus. In these books, you will find all the real words you could want.
First, think about what your company sells. Are you a company that exceeds the limits of the taxi world? You are then an Uber. Was your first product a sharp, mechanical pencil? Why not name yourself SHARP? Do you want something that is loose, not tight, not firm? Slack it is!
Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster are great places to start to find a real-world brand name that works for you. If you do not want a name that is too obvious, visit Thesaurus.com and use a synonym.
Protect Your Chosen Brand Name
Once you have your brand name picked out, you will need to register it with the Intellectual Property Office so that it is properly trademarked. A trademark legally protects your words, phrases, symbols, logos, and even sounds from theft. Others cannot profit off of your trademarked property.
If you do not trademark your brand name, you are making yourself liable for two things:
- Someone stealing your brand name,
- Someone trademarking the name out from under you then suing you for using the trademarked name
Once you register your trademark, you can put the registered trademark symbol (®) alongside your brand name. This tells the world that your brand is legally protected. If you want to see if your brand name has already been trademarked, you can use an online search in your area to find out whether that specific name is available.
Your brand name is the first element of your company that your potential customers will experience. They will make split-second decisions based on your name about whether they want to do business with you. It is imperative that you choose a brand name that is memorable, meaningful, distinctive, authentic, and long-lasting.
Some ways to secure a great brand name can be anything from using your own name to making up a whole new word. The process of developing a good brand name is strenuous, but as long as you know how to resonate with your target audience, you should have no problem establishing your brand and reputation.