Brand Name: The Ultimate Guide

Brand Name: The Ultimate Guide
Article by Jelena Relić
Last Updated: May 17, 2024

Your brand name is a precious asset customers use to remember, recognize, and trust your business. In fact, research shows that 59% of consumers prefer to buy products from a brand they know and trust. So, let's take a closer look at the process of choosing a brand name and the necessary strategies to ensure it remains memorable over time.

How To Come Up With a Brand Name 

The key approach to naming your brand is to start with the big ideas and then get more specific. That is why, before thinking about the actual name, you need to define several things.

  1. Focus on Your Audience
  2. Find Your Brand Archetype
  3. Reflect the Tone and the Function of Your Offering
  4. Check the Availability of a Potential Business Name

How to come up with a brand name

1. Focus on Your Audience

A Google Cloud survey showed that 82% of buyers purchase from brands whose values align with theirs. But to be able to create the brand’s values, you must first know who you’re targeting.

Knowing your target audience will help you:

  • Find inspiration: Identify your target market’s favorite brands and draw inspiration for your own. 
  • Find a voice: Let your audience help you find your identity and voice. This will play an important role in name selection.
  • Connect: Basing your name on your target market’s preferences will increase your brand’s likeability. 

Specifically, brands whose target audience is generally not familiar with the types of products or services they are offering more often use abstract names to convey moods or activities associated with them. Because their demographics are low on product or service knowledge, it’s all about selling the brand - not the product or service.

Brands with high-knowledge shoppers have “muted” names that allow customers to focus more on the measurable quality of the product and service rather than rely on the name. Fashion brands, for instance, are often named after their founders (Dior and Chanel, for instance). Their names imply and highlight the quality rather than project an association or image.

In the case of high-knowledge shoppers, it’s the intrinsic quality of the product that sells. While the name does play a role, its significance is comparatively smaller.

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2. Find Your Brand Archetype

The concept of an archetype is derived from Jungian psychology and is frequently applied to branding ideas. It refers to a universally familiar character that helps experts infuse brands with some personality customers can relate to.

To apply this brand naming strategy, start by thinking about your:

  • Audience’s collective persona: Who is this persona? What do they look like? What do they sound like?
  • Brand’s persona: How does it (or will it) resemble that of your audience’s persona or their aspirations? 

There are twelve main brand archetypes:

  • The Innocent (the desire for safety)
  • Everyman (belonging)
  • Hero (mastery)
  • Outlaw (liberation)
  • Explorer (freedom)
  • Creator (innovation)
  • Ruler (control)
  • Magician (power)
  • Lover (intimacy)
  • Caregiver (service)
  • Jester (enjoyment)
  • Sage (understanding)

To find your archetype, consider these questions:

  • What brand values do you want to communicate?
  • Is there a historical/mythical personification of the said values?
  • Do you want to bring a sense of luxury or affordability to your customers?
  • What are the non-verbal and emotional associations you want to create for your brand?

Here are some real-life examples of archetypes used to build a brand image:

  • Nike: This well-known apparel label is also the name of the ancient Greek goddess who personified victory. 
  • Dove: Doves conjure the images of purity and softness - qualities of the Innocent archetype.
  • Channel: A brand of the Lover archetype maintains an amorous atmosphere in marketing campaigns.

Companies build the meaning of the name through stories, products, marketing activities and visual associations. Some of these names use phonetic symbolism to support their archetype.

3. Reflect the Tone and the Function of Your Offering

Your brand name can set a certain tone which becomes a character and attitude of a business. This tone has two primary functions:

  • To speak to your audience
  • To reflect your business goals and needs

A defined tone can give you control over your audience’s perception of your brand. Some of the tones you can employ are:

  • Emotional: EveryHand and Sharing Spoon
  • Intriguing: RocketSlice, Alchemitics, Ethica
  • Playful: Blink of an AI, Playformance, The Whey to Go
  • Pragmatic: Rentcierge, Simple Key Realty, The Tea Shack
  • Innovative: Apple, Netflix, Amazon
  • Prestigious: Dior, Cartier, Swarovsky

4. Check the Availability of a Potential Business Name

Considering the expanding influence of social media, when contemplating how to choose a brand name, remember the importance of ensuring its availability across various platforms. After all, 57% of consumers say that they’re likely to spend more money on a brand that breeds loyalty.

Here are a few things you can do to achieve this:

  • Do a domain name search with multiple providers.
  • Look for companies using similar names on different channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
  • Make sure your potential names are not trademarked.
  • Think carefully about the extension of your internet domain - make .com, .net and .org a priority, if they are available.

When looking at the legal availability of your desired name and registration of the website domain, you don’t have to choose the brand name based on available domain names anymore. Thanks to advanced SEO and brand signals, that’s not as important anymore.

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57% of customers are more likely to buy from a brand they follow

What Makes a Good Brand Name?

Most world-renowned brands have shared qualities that play to their identity and memorability. These qualities will help you critically assess your options and guide you in your brand naming process:

  1. Good Brand Names Are Simple and Memorable
  2. Successful Names Are Futureproof
  3. Good Brand Names Are Original

1. Good Brand Names Are Simple and Memorable

A big part of creating a powerful business identity and branding strategy is finding a name that the target audience can remember. A study that looked at 700 stocks traded between 1990 and 2004, concluded that brands with simple names earned at least 11% more than those with complex ones.

There are many examples to support this. Think:

  • Dove
  • Olay
  • Twix
  • Pepsi
  • Nike
  • Reebok
  • Google
  • Apple
  • HP

The percentage of earnings brands with simple names have

2. Successful Names Are Futureproof

Businesses and brands evolve, so when using brand naming strategies and coming up with brand name ideas that won’t become obsolete fast, it is important to think about the big picture. In other words: Do not use highly specific brand names if you are unsure how your business would brand out in the future.

For example, Women'secret is a highly specific name for a female lingerie brand which would make it difficult to diversify the offering and cater to male demographics under the same roof. Amazon, on the other hand, is a prime example of a company that outgrew its original purpose but had a name flexible enough to encompass a highly diverse inventory the company is now known for.

3. Good Brand Names Are Original

Following the key principles is great, but ultimately, your brand name should represent your unique identity. Your name can tell a story, carry a legacy or entertain. Take Adidas: Its unique name was inspired by its founder Adolph “Adi” Dassler name. Another example is BMW, which is an acronym for its widely unknown original German name Bayerische Motoren Werke.

As you can see, every big company today has a different unique story behind its brand name. So, when learning how to choose a brand name remember that the process is not a set-in-stone recipe for success.

Tips for Generating Brand Name Ideas

When considering how to choose a brand name that speaks to your audience persona and represents your archetype, certain principles make the process more streamlined and simpler:

  • Keep the brand name simple: Ideally, it should be a two-syllable word as they have better-staying power in the minds of customers.
  • The name should also be descriptive: The reason why archetypes convey emotions with people is that they capture the collective essence and experience. That’s how descriptive a brand name should be - it should communicate the essence, experience, and benefits of the brand’s products suggestively.
  • Use word association to brainstorm good brand name ideas: Write down as many words as you can think of that are in some way associated with your brand. These can be combined or narrowed down to a few which can be worked on and tested.
  • The name should be trendy, but not too much: Something that's “in” today may be completely “out” tomorrow. Strive to have a name that contemporary people can relate to and that will endure the years ahead.

If you're having trouble conjuring up creative names that adhere to those guidelines, it’s always a good idea to reach out to a seasoned product design company. They can offer the expertise needed to guide you in selecting the right brand name.

Final Takeaways for Coming Up With a Brand Name

The main benefits of coming up with a good name are:

  • It adds value to your products and services
  • It lends identity to your business
  • Good brands become synonymous with the products they make
  • It drives sales and revenue

What are the traits of a successful brand name?

  • They are simple and memorable
  • They are future-proof
  • They are original

The main steps to consider when coming up with a brand name are:

  • Collect a broad set of ideas connected to your business’ offerings. Think about your story, your origins and your big ambitions and ideas.
  • Think of a name that caters to the aesthetics and values of your audience as well as your business ambitions.
  • Tap into your brand archetype and your audience persona to find your voice and messaging.
  • The brand tone should speak to your audience and reflect your business tendencies.
  • When brainstorming the name ideas, try to be trendy, but not overly trendy.

How To Choose a Brand Name FAQs

1. What are the different types of brand names?

There are various types of brand names commonly used by businesses. A good brand naming strategy includes using these different types:

  • Descriptive names: Directly describe the product, service, or essential features. For example, "SportsDirect" or "Pizza Hut."
  • Suggestive names: Suggest or evoke qualities, benefits, or associations related to the brand without directly describing it. Examples include "Netflix" and "Airbnb."
  • Abstract or invented names: Made-up words or combinations of letters that do not have a specific meaning. Brands like "Google" or "Kodak" fall into this category.
  • Acronymic names: Names formed by using initials or abbreviations of longer words. Examples include "IBM" (International Business Machines) and "BMW" (Bayerische Motoren Werke).
  • Founder/personal names: Names which use the brand’s founders' name (or other important individuals associated with the company). Examples include "Ford" or "McDonald's."
  • Evocative names: Create an emotional or imaginative connection with the brand. Brands like "Apple" or "Dove" fall into this category.
  • Compound names: Combine two or more words to create a unique brand name. Examples include "Facebook" and "Snapchat."

Brand names can also combine these types or have unique characteristics that don't fit a specific category. In the end, it’s entirely up to you to choose a name for your company!

2. What are some examples of strong brand names?

Examples of strong brand names include Google, Microsoft, Nike, Adidas, Ford, Dove, Apple, Intel, IBM, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s, Kleenex, Tesla, Twitter, etc.

Get connected with the right branding agency for your project.

How DesignRush Marketplace Can Help You Come Up With a Brand Name

DesignRush Marketplace connects businesses with relevant agencies that can complete a project or provide a certain service that a company needs. If your company is looking for a (new) brand name, we can find the right agency for the job!

Don’t wait — tell us about your project and we will curate a list of up to 5 most qualified agencies out of 15,000+ in our directory to come up with a brand name that will boost your brand recognition. The best part — it's free!

Schedule a FREE call with us below!

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