Strategies for Naming Products & Businesses
When it comes to branding your product or service, the logical place to start is the name. But if you’re not a creative marketing professional, you might find yourself intimidated by the blank page staring back at you.
After all, the name is a big deal, so where do you even begin?
Here’s a simple checklist of what a name needs to do, as well as a few strategies for coming up with creative brand names:
- Make it memorable: That means simple to say, simple to spell and easy to lock away in your brain.
- Make it unique: Avoid generic terms. Not only are they hard to own, but they’re more than likely already in use.
- Make it positive: Choose words that create a positive emotional connection.
- Make it clear: A brand name should clearly communicate something – what you do, how you do it, what your values are, etc.
- Make it a URL: Believe it or not, making sure the .com URL is available is now a top consideration when it comes to naming.
Understanding naming best practices is one thing, but how can you start generating actual ideas? Here are a few common approaches used by creative marketers:
- Describe what it does: We are so used to seeing certain brand names that we forget what they are – descriptions of what the product does. Microsoft Internet Explorer is a good example, as is the slightly more creative Apple Safari.
- Be evocative or intriguing: Abstract words can become brands, but the product itself must be exceptional. Two good examples are Virgin and Blackberry.
- Merge words together: Compound terms are popular because they’re built from words we already know, like Photoshop, TurboTax and Pinterest (pin + interest).
- Make up a word: Lots of modern brands use made-up words because they’re unique (and the URL is usually available). The good ones also give you a sense of what they offer, like the audio company Sonos.
- Change the spelling of a word: Similar to making up a word, you can also take a real word and just change the spelling, like Lyft, Trix and Fatasktik.
- Name it for the founder: This is how many things are named, but it takes time to establish an eponymous brand. Ford, Kellog’s and Hilton and are all famous, but they’ve been building recognition for a century. This is harder for new brands, since a founder’s name doesn’t say anything about what the company does.
About Brand Poets
Founded by Tana M. Llinás, Brand Poets is a collective of strategists, storytellers, and digital artisans crafting smart, poignant campaigns that command attention.
This article was originally published in the Community Newspapers.