A Good Brand Name: Determining Factors

Essentials to consider when creating a name for your brand.

May 26, 2017

Knowing what name to call your company or product is one of the first and main brand decisions you’ll have to make.  How do you choose the right name and avoid limiting, regrettable or even costly decisions?

It is easy to think that anyone can come up with a fitting name. How hard can it be? The search for the right one has at times proved to be quite the head-scratcher, even for us as naming professionals (yes, we exist). However, when you get it right, a name can help propel your brand to great heights.

This white paper discusses some of the vital factors that go into making a name for yourself.

What’s in a name?

Your name is an important part of your identity. It’s one of the first things, if not the first thing, that people get to know about you and begin to form an impression on. Names can become legacy. They say something about you: what you value, what you aspire to, maybe even where you are from.  A name is personal, it identifies and distinguishes you. Equally, names are not only important to the people and brands that they belong to but also the cultures and societies around them. They carry meaning and significance.

Over time, our names start to be associated with with our character and other idiosyncrasies. They carry connections that define our self-identity.

“Words carry hidden baggage that may play at least some role in shaping thought.” Wolfgang Köhler

Brand guru Alina Wheeler defines a good brand name as one that is: timeless, easy to say and remember, stands for something and facilitates brand extensions. How do you make sure your name achieves this?

Pegged on Objectives

Write down the objectives that you want your name to meet. What qualities, associations and impressions would you like? Once you have your objectives down, consider these factors before picking a definitive name:

1. Culture
Names mean different things in different cultures. Be mindful. Make sure yours isn’t negative or with other adverse effects due to cultural norms.

2. Target Audience
Make them like you. It is essential to be relatable and/or have the capacity to create a meaningful connection with your core audience.

3. Availability
While it’s natural to imitate those we admire, keep in mind the need to make your brand distinctive.

4. Future-Proofing
Don’t limit yourself to only the product(s) or services that you currently offer. Consider compatibility with future areas of expansion and diversification.

5. Legacy
If your brand has heritage or managed to build equity in its previous life, embrace it.

6. The Vision
What is your brand’s journey?
Where are you going?
A great brand name should embody the bigger picture.

7. Positioning
Is your brand: premium, value, exclusive, serious, playful, formal …?
Let your name tell of your brand personality and claim your positioning.

I never felt that the naming issue was all that important, but I was obviously wrong, judging by how many people felt ~ Linus Torvalds