“Naming a brand is easy – just like naming a child”
Before we get into the guts of brand naming, let’s start with a story.
This story begins with a man.
A man with a big business idea.
Over the past year, he’s been working tirelessly to build the framework of this business.
It’s been endless meetings. Endless planning. Endless discovery.
It’s been a blur of late nights spent craning over spreadsheets.
But he’s on the final stretch of the journey now.
All he needs to do is cross the ‘T’s, dot the ‘I’s, and give his brand a name.
Now, picture this: It’s a mundane morning and the man is brushing his teeth. Then, suddenly, the brand name he’s been chasing hits him like a thunderbolt.
It’s the perfect name. It rolls off the tongue. It’s simple but it’s insightful.
And of course, the rights to this name are his for the taking.
There’s a thousand versions of this story.
And sure, sometimes you get lucky and the right name shows up out of nowhere and knocks your socks off.
But most of the time, brand naming calls for research, strategy, creativity, and hard work.
We like to think of brand names as blank canvases. As your brand begins expressing, communicating, and engaging – this canvas will be painted with meaning and personality. A name like ‘Apple’ could mean anything or nothing. It’s only because we’re familiar with the tech giant’s brand power that we associate it with innovation, style, and creativity.
But the framework of your canvas matters.
It needs to be sturdy. Robust. Reliable.
Whether you’re building a cabin or a condo, you need a floor, walls, and a roof.
These are the foundational elements that most people can’t do without.
The same principle applies for brand naming.
Core traits of a strong name:
It expresses something about who the brand is.
It’s easy to say, spell, and remember.
It stands out in the market.
It gives the brand room to grow.
There’s no obvious negative connotations.
It makes it easy for the brand to branch out.
It can be trademarked and appropriate domains/social handles are available.
Once you’ve got your foundations covered, it’s onto naming constructions.
The catalogue of naming constructions goes on and on.
There’s metaphor names – like Amazon, which borrows meaning from the world’s biggest river.
There’s legacy names. Acronym names. Descriptive names.
There’s portmanteau names – like Instagram, which brings together ‘instant camera’ and ‘telegram’.
There’s foreign language names. Compounds. Onomatopoeias.
Every name construction has benefits and challenges.
Our advice: Don’t get hung up on a specific ‘type’ of name.
Naming constructions are helpful in getting the creative juices flowing, but at the end of the day…
Creating the right ‘canvas’ comes from deeply understanding the brand and its essence.
Take Uber, for example. This name didn’t spring up out of nowhere, like a mirage in the desert.
It was derived from the German word meaning ‘above all the rest’, a core tenet Uber founders set for the new brand on the block.
So take the time. Invest the energy. And be prepared to dive deep.
Want a partner to take the brand naming journey with? Get in touch.