Process for Choosing a Good Brand Name

As an ancient proverb says, “Nomen est omen,” and it perfectly sums the importance of coming up with a good brand name.

Though it may seem a bit far-fetched to imply that the name carries a certain prophetic quality, the truth is that if you don’t pick the right name for your brand, it will be hard for you to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

As a result, your visibility will suffer, and it will render your branding efforts ineffective, meaning that it will, in a way, impact the success of your business.

Similarly, 82% of investors say name recognition plays an important role when it comes to making investment decisions, while up to 68% of consumers prefer to purchase from brand names they are familiar with.

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It’s clear that the process of choosing a memorable brand name is something that you shouldn’t take lightly.

What Constitutes a Good Brand Name?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos started a company and decided to name it Cadabra Inc as a reference to the popular magician’s phrase Abracadabra. Upon hearing this name over the phone, his lawyer noticed that it would often be misheard as “Cadaver.”

Luckily, he then browsed through a dictionary, and when landing on Amazon, the largest river in the world, he decided that this name would be perfect for the largest online bookshop in the world.

In other words, although creativity is an indispensable ingredient of a good brand name, you should test it using different parameters.

Some of them should include:

  • Meaningfulness. Your brand name should communicate your brand values and accentuate the key elements of your business. Brand names that explain what your business is about are more memorable. According to branding experts, it’s much better to use real words and their combinations instead of fabricated words because it’s easier for people to relate to them. Nike is actually the name of the Greek goddess of victory, and it’s an excellent choice for a sports brand.
  • Uniqueness. By picking a distinctive name, you’ll make sure it stands out from your competitors. At the same time, it will be easier for your customers to memorize it.
  • The ability to be legally protected. It’s important to pick a name that can be legally protected and trademarked so that you can own it both in terms of law and in your customers’ minds. For example, Sci-Fi Channel, a channel broadcasting science fiction programming, was rebranded as Syfy so that it could be protected by trademark, while a new spelling helped it avoid the generic term denoting an entire genre.

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  • Is it future-proof? A good brand name will stand the test of time and stay relevant even after you expand your company.
  • Can it be visually translated to design? It’s essential for your brand name to be easily communicated using visual elements such as logo, brand colors, or icons. FedEx is a great example of this point – there’s a hidden arrow in it that stands for precision, speed, and accuracy.

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All these parameters will make sense only if your audience can connect with your brand name, that is, whether it resonates with them.

Have a Brainstorming Session

After you’ve made it clear what you want to achieve with your brand name and identified the essence of your business, it’s time to come up with some actual examples.

Don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild and get the creative juices flowing, as that’s the best way to generate a lot of ideas that you can later review and shortlist.

It’s best to conduct one brainstorming session on your own and another together with your business partners and come up with as many names as possible.

If you aren’t sure how to start, create a list of personality traits you associate with your brand. This will help you build a word bank that you can later expand with a number of associations – use nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, sayings, and catchphrases. Consult a thesaurus and include foreign languages in your process.

Then, organize all the examples that you generated into different categories based on what a particular name represents – is it playful, descriptive, an acronym, random, a metaphor, and so on.

Finally, pick your top five names and see whether they tick all the boxes from our first paragraph. When you choose your winner, see what others think about it. Talk to your employees, colleagues, or even ask your target audience to vote for the one they like.

Take SEO Into Consideration

Search engine optimization is a strategy that will help your brand find its way to the top of Google rankings. In other words, your potential customers will see the name of your company among the first search results when they’re looking for a product or service you’re offering.

If you have an effective SEO strategy in place, you will be able to bring more traffic to your website, and that means more business opportunities and revenue.

And your brand name can be a valuable asset when it comes to search engine optimization, but only if it’s unique, memorable, keyword-focused.

We’ve already discussed the importance of picking a brand name that’s unique, but sometimes business owners try to copy some popular brand names by using wordplay. You should definitely avoid such a thinly-disguised attempt to piggyback on somebody else’s success.

Besides, it can lead to confusion and copyright infringement issues, which is why you should make sure that you haven’t accidentally come up with a name that’s similar to an already existing brand. This is also very bad for SEO because it will be hard for you to rank for that particular name.

Shopify’s Name Generator will help you check whether a certain domain is used and prevent such an issue.

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When it comes to having a memorable brand name in terms of SEO, there are three simple rules to follow:

  • Use alliteration. There’s a reason why so many brands choose to use the words starting with the same letter in close succession – Coca-Cola, Kit-Kat, PayPal, Dunkin’ Donuts, or Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
  • Use a short name with two syllables. Names like DropBox or YouTube will rank better in Google because their domain names are shorter.
  • Use a phonetic name. In other words, your brand name should be spelled as it sounds. It prevents confusion, and it’s much easier for people to find you on the internet if they know how to spell your brand name. One good example of this is Facebook.

Finally, to check how your new brand name stacks up in terms of SEO, that is, whether it’s associated with some of the frequently searched keywords, use tools like Ubersuggest. This way, you’ll be able to identify whether there’s enough SEO juice in it.

These simple tips can help you with the process of choosing a good brand name that both search engines and your potential customers will like.

Kevin has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son, which he has both

thoroughly enjoyed, and dreaded every morning. He is now the proud owner of half his dream house (the other half has been waiting for spring). You can read more of Kevin’s work on PlainHelp.

Austin Terrill

Austin is the founder and CEO of Print Peppermint. He loves art, graphic design, printing, music, recording gear, synthesizers, and ice cream. He lives in Berlin with his wife and two children.
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