In part two of our three part series, we’ll help you navigate your way through the complicated task of creating a brand that your target market will love.


How to develop a great brand name

Coming up with a brand name is easy. But coming up with a great brand name is much harder.

A great brand name compresses everything you know about your brand, your values and your customers into one clever little moniker that resonates with your audience. Choosing your brand name can be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever have to make when starting your business, or launching a new product or service.

Here are some general tips to help guide your decision.

Keep it simple. Make it memorable.

Brand recognition is one of the keys to building a successful brand. Having a memorable brand that customers  remember can put you at the front of the queue when customers go to make a purchase.

Think of some of the most successful brands on the market today: Apple, Amazon, Google, Coca Cola. Their names are easy to remember, have relatively few syllables, and typically contain no more than two words. Could your brand name needs to be similarly simple and memorable?

Make it relevant

A relevant brand name doesn’t necessarily need to be specific to your products, services or industry. But it does need to be relevant to who you are and what you stand for. Thankfully, there’s a lot of room for creativity here.

Let’s take Apple as an example. There’s nothing about the word ‘Apple’ that screams ‘computers’. In fact, in his autobiography, Steve Jobs admitted to coming up with the name after visiting an apple farm. But in a world filled with serious and technical-sounding IT names, Jobs believed that the name ‘Apple’ sounded ‘fun, spirited and not intimidating’. This concept was in line with the core values of the brand, and continues to differentiate Apple from many of its competitors to this day.

Be interesting

While relevance is vital to your brand name, bing cliché can be detrimental. Remember, to stand out from the crowd, you might need to be distinct from your competitors. Analysing your competition can be a great start in working out what’s been done, and what’s been overdone, and should therefore be avoided.

Just as with Steve Jobs and Apple, finding a way to buck the trend without completely severing from relevance is a great way of ensuring that your brand stands out as just a little bit different.

Enjoy yourself, it will shine through

You only get one chance to name your brand — hopefully — so have fun with it!

This is the time where you can really unleash your creative side and think outside the box. If you’re like your target audience (note ‘if’) then something you find clever and appealing might resonate with them as well. If you’re note like your audience, you’ll need independent input to make those judgements on your behalf.

It’s amazing where you can find inspiration for your brand. Take Nike, for example. While the relevance of the name may not be immediately obvious, Nike was the goddess of victory in ancient Greek mythology… a fitting name for a sportswear label, don’t you think?

The beauty of a brand name is that you can choose anything you like, and you don’t even need to be restricted to the English language. Perhaps you make a word up out of terms relevant to your brand. Netflix, for example, offers ‘flix (films) that you watch over the ‘net’. Instagram, on the other hand, is a portmanteau of ‘instant camera’ and ‘telegram’.

Take it easy on the spelling

If you’ve ever met a ‘Dayved or a ‘Kaiytlyn’, you likely already know that unusual spelling can just get in the way. Take care with creative spelling, and make sure it doesn’t render your brand unfindable online because people can’t remember how to spell your business name.

Perform a trademark search

It’s disappointing to come up with a brilliant brand name, only to find that it’s already been trademarked. That’s why it’s important to check your competitive landscape and conduct a trademark search before you set your heart on a name. There can be crossover of course, and separation by sector and by geography is considered in trademark decisions. For example, “Eagle Legal” and “Eagle Financial Services” would both be allowed to trademark their names.

But treading on an established competitors toes could lead to costly legal proceedings. Just consider the McBattles waged by global fast food giant, McDonalds. Setting their sights on small brands across the world, McDonalds has taken on many small companies, from Indian restaurant, McCurry in Malaysia, to McCoffee in the US, forcing brands to change their names in order to protect their brand sovereignty.

The bottom line? Doing your research could save your from disappointment and legal heartache.

Up next:
Part 3: How to conceptualise a logo