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Brand Name Development: A Rose By Any Other Name…Might Not Be As Cool

The name of your brand may be the second most critical decision that you, as a marketer, may have to make. The first most critical is whether or not you have a product worthy of a brand. We understand your struggle. Let’s make things a little easier with these six best practices for brand name development.

1) Strategy First, Name Second

Brand name development requires an inspiring brand positioning and brand brief. Ensure that you have:

  • Powerful target market insights
    • “She feels judged by her peers.” = unexpected insight.
    • “She wants to be a good mom.” = expected insight.
  • Compelling positioning that’s anchored in an active verb statement.
    • “XYZ product catapults your evening meal.” = describes the impact your brand has on the user vs.
    • “XYZ product is great for the evening meal.” = details when it’s used
  • Brand nature characteristics that frame up your brand’s tone and manner
    • Examples include: feisty, self-aware, down-to-earth, gregarious

2) 1 + 1 = 3

Ensure the brand name you select adds richness to the story of your brand. While functional names are easier to ideate, they’re tougher to differentiate in the marketplace and to trademark. The best names build additional meaning into the mystique of the product and the usage experience.

3) Future Proofing

While brand names should be “current,” they need staying power. Be cautious of trendy names/symbols that may quickly become outdated i.e., don’t name your brand Bae. Envision what you want your brand and business to be in ten years. Will you have extended the line? Will the brand name still fit?

4) Name or Descriptor? Descriptor or Name?

Ill-thought-out brand architecture can muddy the waters between brand names and product descriptors. Keep an eye on developing the right construct so your brand stays dominant and use product descriptors wisely.

5) Open Minds Create More Options

Once you’ve generated quite a few names, keep an open mind when you’re reviewing them. Our experience has shown that there are often new alternatives that can be developed by pairing pieces of ideas together.

6) SEO, SEM and Domain Names are now Seated at the Name Generation Table

While these should not drive your naming, they are key screening criteria when you’re culling names. Don’t find yourself in these situations:

  • IT Scrap or itscrap.com (we hope not)
  • Speed of Art or speedofart.com (whoops)
  • Choose Spain or choosespain.com (I’ll take Spain please)
  • Teachers Talking or teacherstalking.com (I respect the teachers)

Want to learn more about creating a compelling brand name? Want some tricks of the trade? Give us a call: (608) 227-4808

A version of this post originally appeared on Fountainhead Strategy.