8 min read

A Guide to Naming Your Brand: What to Consider

Naming or renaming your brand is a crucial step in establishing your business identity. A great brand name can differentiate you from your competitors, capture the attention of potential customers, and help build a strong brand image.

But how do you go about finding the right name for your brand?

There are many rules, guidelines and techniques to keep in mind when naming a brand, but here are some of the most important ones:

1. Brand Personality

Your brand name should align with your brand personality and values. Your brand personality is the emotional and human characteristics that your brand conveys to your customers. A brand name that aligns with your brand personality can help establish a connection with your target audience and make your brand more memorable.

2. Easy to pronounce and spell

A complicated or difficult-to-pronounce name can be harder for people to remember and can lead to mispronunciation or misspelling, which can make it difficult for customers to find your brand online. An easy-to-pronounce and spell name can make it easier for customers to remember and share your brand with others, which can help increase brand recognition and growth. In short, a simple and easy-to-pronounce name can make a big difference in the success of your brand.

3. Visual and Sound Associations

A great brand name can conjure up visual and sound associations that make it more memorable. Consider how your brand name looks in print or online and how it sounds when spoken aloud. A brand name that evokes positive visual and sound associations can help build brand recognition and loyalty.

4. Cultural Connotations

Your brand name should not have any negative connotations or meanings in any language or culture. Conduct research to ensure that your brand name does not mean anything offensive or inappropriate. You should also ensure that it evokes the right association and emotions that you want to associate with your brand.

5. Availability

One of the first things you should do is check if your brand name is available. Even if a name is not trademarked, it may already be in use by another, well-known company. Conduct a thorough search to see if any popular brands have the same name or a similar name. Additionally, consider the availability of domain names and potential costs for each potential name you come up with.

6. Future Growth and Expansion

When naming your brand, consider the potential for future growth and expansion into other markets or product lines. Choose a name that is flexible and can evolve with your business over time, and again – doesn’t have the wrong association in different geographies.

7. Trademark Registration

While a name may not be trademarked in general, it may be registered for use in specific categories or industries. Check to see if your potential brand name has a trademark registered in your country for the category you are operating in to avoid legal issues down the line.

8. The Phonological Loop

The phonological loop is a short-term memory system in the brain that helps us remember sounds and words. People can remember as much as they can say in about two seconds. Short, catchy brand names like Coca-Cola, PayPal, and M&M are memorable because they enter and stay in the phonological loop. Consider choosing a name that is easy to pronounce and easy to remember.

9. Rare Letters

Another factor to consider is the rarity of the letter with which the brand name starts. Brand names that start with Z or other high-point Scrabble letters have a higher chance of becoming memorable because there are fewer words that start with these letters. Consider replacing the first letter of an ordinary word with a Z to create a unique brand name.

10. User Feedback

Once you have a shortlist of potential names, consider testing them out with focus groups or online surveys to get feedback from potential customers. This can help you identify any potential issues or concerns before launching your brand and ensure that your brand name resonates with your target audience.

11. Consider experimenting with brand naming techniques

Below we’re listing some of the most common techniques brand naming agencies (including Pony) use when working on new brand names:

  1. Descriptive Naming: This involves using descriptive words or phrases to convey the brand’s value proposition or key benefit. Examples include “Whole Foods” or “American Airlines”.
  2. Metaphor Naming: This involves using metaphors to describe the brand or its key benefits. Examples include “Apple” or “Nike”, which both use metaphors to suggest speed, power, and innovation.
  3. Evocative Naming: This involves using words or phrases that evoke certain emotions or feelings. Examples include “Coca-Cola” or “Netflix”, which both use evocative names to suggest happiness, fun, and entertainment.
  4. Inventive Naming: This involves creating a new word or combining existing words to create a unique and memorable brand name. Examples include “Google” or “Xerox”.
  5. Acronym Naming: This involves using the initials of a longer name or phrase to create a short and memorable brand name. Examples include “IBM” or “ESPN”.
  6. Geographic Naming: This involves using a geographic location to convey the brand’s origin or heritage. Examples include “Nissan” or “New York Times”.
  7. Experiential Naming: This involves using words or phrases that create a sense of experience or sensory perception. Examples include “Red Bull” or “Tide”.
  8. Abbreviated Naming: This involves shortening a longer word or phrase to create a shorter and more memorable brand name. Examples include “FedEx” or “Walmart”.
  9. Pun Naming: This involves using wordplay or humour to create a memorable and entertaining brand name. Examples include “Piggly Wiggly” or “Ben & Jerry’s”.
  10. Alliteration Naming: This involves using a series of words that start with the same letter or sound to create a memorable brand name. Examples include “Dunkin’ Donuts” or “Best Buy”.
  11. Foreign Word Naming: This involves using a word or phrase from another language to create a unique and memorable brand name. Examples include “Adidas” or “Fendi”.
  12. Functional Naming: This involves using a name that describes the product or service the brand offers. Examples include “Zipcar” or “PayPal”.

There are even more brand naming techniques that brand experts use, and each technique can be adapted and combined in different ways to create a unique and memorable brand name that resonates with your target audience. There’s no one-size-fits-all rule, it’s all about exploration and experimentation.

If you’re looking for a new brand name, the team at Pony has years of experience in the field.