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Creating Brand Names

Creating a brand name for a new product or service often consumes a large amount of time, perhaps more time than warranted. We try to be overly creative and clever and sometimes come up with answers that are only meaningful to the company – not the customer.

In fact, it can be very helpful to seek advice or opinions from outside the company, whether that be to utilise the expertise of a business marketing consultant, and/or request feedback from prospective customers.

The key thing is to get the strategy right and let the clever creative stuff come later. Once you can say what the brand name is and why the name was chosen, you can provide that information to a graphic designer to translate into a logo. When assessing the logo, consider whether it is consistent with the marketing strategy of your business rather than if it uses your favourite colour.

Branding needs to fit the product or service and make it stand out from your competitors, engage customers and be consistent with your business marketing strategy.

A few things to consider when creating brand names:

  • Articulate the brand promise and company positioning so that you can test your ideas back against them
  • Embody logic in the name. It should indicate or refer to the business you are in
  • Start with some words that are relevant to the brand and extend the list using a thesaurus
  • Using a name that is already famous in another context can be memorable
  • Start with a letter that is early in the alphabet – there will be times when your name is listed or ranked alphabetically
  • Make it easy to say and spell
  • Internationalise the spelling
  • Word combinations are memorable. Try different combinations from your list
  • Use of mythological figures can be useful
  • Avoid initials and acronyms
  • Avoid numbers and hyphens
  • Check that the domain name and trademark are available before making a decision.

Once you have created a list of possible brand names, rate your preferred 3 to 5 brand names on a scale of 1 to 10 against the following criteria:

  1. Is your first impression of the brand name strong?
  2. Does it sound / look good?
  3. Is it easy to read / pronounce / spell?
  4. Use it in a number of sentences. Does it feel right?
  5. Are quick associations positive?
  6. Does it relate to the brand promise / company position?
  7. Does it sound credible?
  8. Can it work internationally?
  9. Is it memorable?
  10. Is it able to be registered as a business name and is the domain name available?
  11. Does it make you feel nervous? (low score is better)

Creating a brand name and developing the overall branding of a new product or service requires more than just clever ideas. Branding needs to fit the product or service and make it stand out from your competitors, engage customers and be consistent with your business marketing strategy. If you follow the guidelines above, you are well on your way to developing a brand name and product or service branding that will strategically position your brand and your business in the marketplace.