The most important steps in creating your brand name

With new startups appearing left and right, the right brand name can greatly improve your chances of standing out of the crowd in your market. In this article, we’ll cover the criteria for a good brand name and some tips that will help you create one. 

Criteria for a Good Brand Name

Before we start, you should know what makes for a good brand name.

Meaningful

The name should communicate your brand’s story, image, or meaning.

Think of Nike – the name originated from the Greek goddess of victory who is known for her speed and strength. It can be assumed that the brand wants to be known for helping athletes perform better with the help of their products. 

Your brand name can also describe your product or service briefly. Take Airbnb. You can probably guess what they are solely from their name. Air refers to online, while bnb stands for bed-and-breakfast. Thus, it’s an online marketplace for accommodations.

Unique

Your name should be distinctive from other companies. It has to communicate why your customers should choose you over competitors.

For instance, Lyft and Uber are both ridesharing apps. However, each of them represents a different identity. Lyft aims to be your friend who you can ask for a lift. Uber, on the other hand, intends to be a more luxurious option. 

Having a unique name also helps with trademarks and domain registration. Don’t pick an existing trademark as a name – it can get expensive and cause legal disputes. It’s a great idea to use a domain checker when you choose a brand name, so you know if the domain associated with it is available.

Appealing

Your brand name should also invoke positive emotions. In this case, Apple is a great example. The word has no connection to computers. But one reason why it was chosen was that it didn’t sound “intimidating.” It makes sense – apples are a familiar object. Thus, the name helps in making computers more approachable to people. 

Memorable

For people to remember your brand, the name should be pleasant to recall, and create associations. Memorable names are typically short, and easy to pronounce and spell. 

Consider Facebook and Google – they’re not difficult to remember because they’re quick and concise, containing only two syllables. 

Many catchy brand names also use poetic devices. For example, 7 Eleven uses a rhyme. Its repetitive and melodic quality makes it easy to remember. 

Timeless

Make sure your brand name can grow with your business’ long-term plans.

Take Amazon as an example. At first, Jeff Bezos chose the name because he wanted it to represent the largest bookstore in the world. Now, the company is a giant online marketplace. Thankfully, the name isn’t specific enough that it can’t adapt to the business. 

How to Create a Brand Name

Let’s discuss the crucial steps in creating your brand name. 

Understand Your Company

Branding is about presenting your company to the world. Therefore, you must understand your business inside and out to create the right name.

Discuss the following questions:

  1. What is the goal of the company? 
  2. What do we offer to reach that goal?
  3. What values do we follow to keep the business going?
  4. Who is our target audience?

Coming up with the answers can take a while. However, understanding your company identity will help develop your overall brand strategy

When determining your target market, conduct research to figure out your ideal customer. Specify their age, occupation, income range, lifestyle, location, and other relevant details.

Write down your answers and keep them for the next step. 

Conceptualise Your Ideas

Now, think of potential names based on your notes. The names should represent your goal, your product or service, and your values – while also appealing to your audience. 

If you’re confused, refer to the criteria for a good brand name. Begin by listing down images or meanings your brand aims to portray. Then determine the emotions or experiences the name should evoke. 

Write down rules to streamline your process. Remember that the name should be unique and memorable. Make sure it is also flexible enough to grow with your company.

Generate as many names as you can. Here are some ideas to help you:

  • Use name generators– tons of online name generators offer free and premium names. 
  • Figure out your brand archetype – this can guide the direction of your brand name search.
  • Look to ancient mythology – companies like Olympus and Pandora derive their names from Greek mythology. 
  • Misspell a word – many brands get their names from misspellings, like Flickr. 
  • Combine two words that describe your product or company – consider names like Evernote, PayPal, and Facebook.
  • Get creative with poetic devices – use rhymes, alliterations, onomatopoeia, and other devices. 
  • Refer to the thesaurus – look for synonyms for potential names.
  • Search for words from slang or foreign languages – but be sure the word isn’t used as offensive slang. 
  • Use the founder’s name – if you want, you can shorten a founder’s name to create a new word, like Adidas, or Brabus.

Keep experimenting until you’re satisfied. Then prioritise the names according to your preferences. 

Check for Availability

Let’s narrow down your list based on name availability. 

Depending on where you’re based, there should be an online database for searching trademarks. Next, make sure the name is available for registration as a domain. If it isn’t, find out if it can be purchased. Otherwise, you should use other names from your list.

Conduct Tests

You should have at least three potential available names. Before choosing one, conduct tests to see how well each name performs and how your audience responds to it.

Start by designing mockups. Create sketches of your logo, advertisements, website, and social media designs. Come up with several color scheme options. The purpose of creating drafts is to see how your name looks visually. 

Get feedback from friends, family, and colleagues. If you can, get your website up and running and create a landing page for a real-life inspection.

Don’t Give Up

Don’t rush when creating your brand name – always experiment and test until you find the right one. In the end, make sure your official brand name is meaningful, appealing, memorable, unique, and timeless. And don’t get discouraged if you’re not breaking out immediately. Building a reputation can take a while. With a little bit of patience and hard work, you’ll be on your way to recognition in no time. Good luck!