How to Land on a Great Brand Name

Whether you’re selling homemade jams or the next big thing in VR, your brand name matters. If there’s one goal your brand name should accomplish, it’s this – it should spark (no, not joy, this isn’t Marie Kondo’s area of expertise) curiosity. It should be something that gets people to do a double-take or something that remains in the back of their minds and pops up now and then. Taking it a step forward, a good brand name starts a conversation. Names are tricky, sometimes it does boil down sheer luck. This doesn’t mean that you don’t do everything you can to land on a good brand name. Here are 6 steps to come up with the perfect brand name.

  1. Define your brand purpose

If we took money out of the equation, what is it that your brand stands for? It’s a big question, almost existential – you should take your time with it. Your brand purpose could be what sets you apart from everybody else. Consumers today are equally interested in what a brand stands for as they are in what it’s selling. It’s only when you are crystal clear about and believe in your brand’s purpose that it can be successfully communicated to the world outside.

How an organic food brand arrived at their brand purpose – Pure & Sure

  1. Brainstorm

Brainstorming sessions are perhaps the most fun part of the process because you never know what will come out of it. Often, the most interesting triggers come from the people you least expect. So how do you go about a successful brainstorm? Gather a bunch of people in a room, brief them, and then prompt them with something that sets the course for the session, for example – if this brand were an animal, what animal would it be; if this brand were a colour, what colour would it be? Jot down whatever comes up, there is no wrong answer at this stage. Sounds a little incredulous? Good, that’s what we’re going for.

  1. Market research

Research, research, research. What are the big, small and so-so names in your industry? How did they go about naming themselves? What worked, what didn’t? Use this information to better understand what to draw inspiration from and what to maintain caution against.

  1. Make up a word

Yes, we’re serious. Think about it – a meaningless word gives you the freedom to define it any way you want. The branding possibilities are endless! Here are some classic examples – Xerox, Google – brand names that were made up and then went on to become not just globally recognisable brand names, but verbs used in common parlance.

  1. Check for availability

You’ve got your list of names, now check for domain, social media and trademark availability. Better to be disheartened than to be sued, right?

  1. Pick a winner

Throw around the shortlisted names – first without and then with context. Gauge people’s responses and opinions, picture the names on billboards, Instagram posts, visiting cards etc. Finally, take a moment, listen to your gut and make a choice.

Good luck!

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