Creating a brand name

Ultimately, a brand name is a crucial part of your brand identity. It should reflect your brand’s personality and connect with your audience. Once you’ve chosen a brand name, build a strong brand presence around it, and consistently communicate your brand values and message to your target audience. Here are some guidance on the steps for coming up with a strong name for your business,

Define Your Brand

Clearly understand your brand’s mission, values, and unique selling points. Knowing your brand’s identity will help you create a name that reflects it. The name must relate to the brand’s products, services, or mission

What is the target Audience for this brand name

Defining a target audience for your brand name is a crucial step in brand development and marketing. Your brand name should resonate with the specific group of people you want to reach and connect with. Conduct market research to gather insights about your potential customers. This can include demographic information, psychographic details, and behavioral patterns. Develop buyer personas that represent your ideal customers. These should include details like age, gender, location, interests, challenges, and values. Determine what makes your brand unique and why your target audience should choose you over competitors. Your brand name should reflect this USP.

Brainstorming for a brand name

Generate a list of relevant keywords, phrases, and concepts related to your brand, industry, and target audience. These words will serve as a starting point for generating name ideas.Connect words from your word bank in creative ways. Try free association, linking, or clustering to see what combinations emerge. Consider using metaphors, symbols, or imagery that relate to your brand’s values and message. These can evoke powerful and memorable brand names.

Create wordplay for a brand name

Wordplay can be a creative and fun way to come up with a unique and memorable brand name. Here are some wordplay techniques and examples to help you generate brand name ideas:
1. Portmanteau:
Combine two words or parts of words to create a new, catchy brand name. Example: “Infomercial” (Information + Commercial).
2. Alliteration:
Use the same letter or sound at the beginning of multiple words in your brand name to make it more memorable. Example: “Coca-Cola.”
3. Rhyme and Rhythm:
Create a brand name with a rhythmic or rhyming quality, making it more pleasing to the ear. Example: “Kit Kat.”
4. Puns and Play on Words:
Play with words and their meanings to create a brand name that is witty and clever. Example: “The Daily Pouch” for a handbag brand.
5. Blending:
Blend two or more words together to create a new, unique word. Example: “Netflix” (Internet + Flicks).
6. Foreign Language Influence:
Incorporate words or phrases from other languages to add an exotic or international flair to your brand name. Example: “Volkswagen” (German for “People’s Car”).
7. Contractions:
Shorten longer words or phrases to create a concise and catchy brand name. Example: “FedEx” (Federal Express).
8. Abbreviations and Acronyms:
Create a brand name using the first letters of a longer phrase or name. Example: “IBM” (International Business Machines).
9. Compound Words:
Combine two related words to form a single brand name. Example: “Facebook” (Face + Book).
10. Onomatopoeia:
Use words that imitate sounds to create a brand name that evokes a specific sensory experience. Example: “Ziploc.”
11. Historical References:
Draw inspiration from historical events, figures, or concepts to create a meaningful brand name. Example: “Nike” (Greek goddess of victory).
12. Invent New Words:
Create entirely new, invented words that are easy to remember and relevant to your brand. Example: “Xerox.”
13. Visual and Symbolic Imagery:
Think about visual symbols and images that relate to your brand and try to incorporate them into the name. Example: “Apple” (symbolic of knowledge).
14. Opposites and Contrasts:
Combine words or concepts that are opposites to create an intriguing brand name. Example: “Mini Cooper.”
15. Geographical References:
Consider using names of places, cities, or landmarks that have significance to your brand. Example: “Amazon.”

A brand name that Stands out (from competitors)

Research your competitors and consider how your chosen name stands out in the market. Remember, the name is just the beginning. Building a brand that truly connects with your target audience involves consistent messaging, quality products or services, and exceptional customer experiences.
Avoid anything that could be confused with an existing competitor. Understand that names do not work like any other words. Lots of girls have names that are also flowers – Rose, Violet, Jasmine, Lily – but the botanical meaning is never present in your mind when you think of those girls. Therefore even if you envy a competitor called Sparkplug International (and you’re in the sparkplug business) don’t let it get to you. Call your own business after your girlfriend or boyfriend, or your dog or cat. As long as it’s different and can be registered, you will be OK.

A brand name that is Unique and Memorable

Your brand name should stand out from the competition. Avoid generic or common names that may get lost in the crowd. Which is more memorable, Apple or Microsoft? This is quite difficult to pre-judge but as a rule of thumb, the less ‘factual’ a name attempts to be the faster it will lodge in the minds of people who have a reason to remember it. Remembering a name is a tiny act of unconscious learning and this is more likely to be triggered by something less obvious because the mismatch will trigger some learning in the brain. ‘Scrumptious Cakes’ is not memorable, but ‘Cuddly Cakes’ might be more so. Be open to making adjustments to your brand name based on the feedback and insights you receive. Your brand name should resonate and be memorable to your audience.

A brand name that is fit for Future Growth

Considering future growth when creating a brand name is crucial for building a successful and adaptable brand. A well-chosen name should be versatile, timeless, and align with your brand’s values and vision. Avoid overly specific or limiting names: Choose a name that doesn’t pigeonhole your brand into a narrow niche or geographic location. Think long-term and consider how your brand might evolve or expand its offerings. Make it versatile: A versatile brand name can adapt to different product lines or services. Avoid names that are too industry-specific or product-focused. You can create a unique and future-proof brand name by combining words, creating a portmanteau, or inventing a new word altogether. Just ensure it’s relevant to your brand and easy to understand. Be open to rebranding or adjusting your brand name if it becomes necessary for future growth. A name change should be carefully planned and executed to minimize disruption.

A brand name that works well with a Brand tagline or descriptor

If your chosen brand name is somewhat specific, you can complement it with a tagline or descriptor that provides more context about your products or services, allowing for future diversification.

A brand name that has Longevity

Think about the long-term appeal of the name. Will it still resonate with your audience as they age or as trends change?

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Avoid Negative Connotations in a brand name

Don’t fall in love with a name before you’ve considered potential cultural or linguistic meanings that could be misinterpreted negatively in various regions or languages. It’s a hygiene factor but worth keeping in mind. Ayds was a brand of appetite suppressant candy. However, it became extremely unpopular and eventually discontinued its product in the 1980s due to the negative association with the AIDS epidemic. General Motors’ Chevrolet Nova had trouble selling in Latin American countries like Mexico and Venezuela because “No va” in Spanish means “It doesn’t go.” The car’s name was eventually changed in these markets to the Chevy II.
The Ford Pinto faced a naming issue in Brazil because “Pinto” is a slang term for male genitalia. Ford changed the name to “Corcel,” meaning “horse,” for the Brazilian market. Kentucky Fried Chicken had to adapt its name when it expanded into Japan. In the Japanese market, the word “fried” was associated with unpleasant cooking smells, so they rebranded as “KFC” to downplay the fried aspect and focus on the chicken. To avoid these mistakes look at the phonemic resonance approach to naming, its a study of names across all ancient and modern languages connectivity.

A brand name with Brand Story

Consider creating a brand name that tells a story or has a deeper meaning. A name with a story can resonate more with customers.


Share your name ideas with colleagues, friends, or focus groups to gather feedback. They may offer insights and help you identify potential issues.

A brand name with a Visual and Aesthetic Appeal

Visual branding is important. Think about how your brand name will look in your logo, on packaging, and in other visual elements of your brand identity.

Test for Pronunciation

Ensure your brand name is easy to pronounce and understand, especially if you plan to expand globally. Generally speaking everyone is more comfortable with a name they can read confidently. Avoid ambiguous spellings or very rare and hard to decipher words (like ‘ophicleide’) unless you know they will resonate with exactly the target audience you want to attract. (Yes, ophicleide is a word.)

A brand name with a Emotional Resonance

Consider the emotional impact of the name. Does it evoke the right feelings and associations for your brand.

Abstract names makes a good brand name

Abstract brand names are often unique and distinctive, making them memorable and allowing for a wide range of interpretations. Google: The name “Google” is a play on the mathematical term “googol,” which represents a very large number. This abstract name is now synonymous with internet searches. Spotify: Spotify’s name doesn’t directly describe its music streaming service. It’s a catchy and unique name that has become a household brand. Twitter: Twitter’s name is abstract in the sense that it doesn’t immediately convey its social media and microblogging platform. It’s a whimsical and memorable name. Adobe: Adobe is known for its software products like Photoshop and Illustrator. The name “Adobe” doesn’t directly reference these products but has become a well-established brand. Amazon: While it initially referred to the world’s largest river, the name “Amazon” now represents the world’s largest online retailer and cloud services provider. Sony: Sony’s name is abstract and unique, yet it has become synonymous with electronics and entertainment. Kodak: The name “Kodak” was created by founder George Eastman and has no inherent meaning. It became a famous brand in the photography industry. Xerox: Xerox’s name is abstract and has become synonymous with photocopying, even though it doesn’t directly describe the process.

A brand name with dot com availability

This is no longer so important because you will not rank lower in search, as was once true,  just because you don’t have a dotcom domain. More important from this perspective  is to have a content strategy to fuel regular new online material. Don’t disqualify a name just because it isn’t available in dot com, there many other viable options. If you really want to own the dot com domain go for longer names (7 letters or more) and made up words to improve your chances of landing one.

A brand name with the Easiest path to trademark

This is actually quite technical – you are best advised to get specialist legal support when clearing candidate names for registration. This branch of law is called Intellectual Property. When you are going up against International Sparkplug, for example, even if you think you know all the other names in your field, you may be surprised. Never put less than half a dozen names in for initial clearance and be prepared to have to check another dozen before you find something ownable.
This part of your naming process can be frustrating, not least because nobody can guarantee you that any name will be ownable until relevant searches are done. If you can, let branding professionals like Fruiting League take the strain here. Our expertise may help shorten the process and relieve the strain.

Sleep on It

Take your time in choosing a brand name. Sometimes, a little distance and time can help you make a better decision. Don’t rush the process. Sometimes the best names come to you after you’ve let your ideas marinate for a while

Conclusion on coming up with a brand name

Remember that creating a brand name is a significant decision, and it’s important to invest time and effort into choosing the right one. A name that is adaptable, aligned with your brand’s values, and versatile will provide a strong foundation for future growth and expansion. Do ensure that the brand name you choose aligns with your brand’s identity, values, and target audience. Additionally, conduct thorough trademark searches to check for name availability and legal considerations. Finally, naming is fraught with difficulty because almost everything you will think of has already been thought and registered by someone else. Your ‘perfect’ name might be unownable (or very expensive to acquire), so it’s vital to be open-minded. Above all avoid the mistake of believing your name must mean something relevant to your business, abstract is always better. That is not true as a matter of linguistic scientific fact. Although it’s tempting if you are starting up to try to do your own naming it’s a surprisingly technical business and you are better off working with experienced people if you can.

Written by

Kershen Teo
Creative and Brand strategist

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