How to Choose the Perfect Brand Name in 4 Steps

By Katy French

472301 / Pixabay

A great brand name is not just something that looks cool on your business card or is fun to say. And it isn’t great because you like it. It’s great because it communicates something to customers.

As branding pro Marty Neuemier says in The Brand Gap, “The need for good brand names originates with customers, and customers will always want convenient ways of identifying, remembering, discussing, and comparing brands. The right name can be a brand’s most valuable asset, driving differentiation and speeding acceptance.”

But choosing the right brand name can be a daunting task. How do you find a name that works? A name that’s catchy? A name that looks great on a web banner and has an available URL? Some say it’s easy—just use a name-generating tool and call it a day. Some say it’s nearly impossible—just give them a million dollars and they’ll do it for you.

Depending on your budget and your branding needs, you might go with one or the other (no judgment). But in our experience, finding the right brand name is possible; it just takes some deep thinking and legwork.

What Makes a Good Brand Name?

There are plenty of theories and a few studies on what makes a good name. For example, a 2010 University of Alberta study found that consumers have a more positive reaction to brands with repetitively structured names, such as Coca-Cola, Kit Kat, and Jelly Belly.

While there is no magic formula, there are common traits that make a brand name easier for you to use and easier for other people to remember. Ideally, you want something that’s:

  • Meaningful: It communicates your brand essence, conjures an image, and cultivates a positive emotional connection.
  • Distinctive: It is unique, memorable, and stands out from your competitors.
  • Accessible: People can easily interpret it, say it, spell it, or Google it. (Even if you have an unusual or bizarre name, it must be understandable.)
  • Protectable: You can trademark it, get the domain, and “own” it, both legally and in the general consciousness.
  • Future-proof: It can grow with the company and maintain relevance—and be adapted for different products and brand extensions.
  • Visual: You can translate/communicate it through design, including icons, logos, colors, etc.

This is useful criteria to help you vet names, but there is really one question to determine whether a name is successful (note that we didn’t say “good” or “bad”). All that matters is this: Does it resonate with people?

How to Find the Right Name

Finding a good brand name can be exhausting, infuriating, and thrilling. (Warby Parker Cofounder Neil Blumenthal says it took his team six months and 2,000+ options to find the perfect name.)

There are more and more services that are trying to make it easier for you, whether by pre-vetting and suggesting names e.g., Shopify’s Business Name Generator or Wordoid), domains (e.g., …read more

Read more here:: B2CMarketingInsider

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