How to Choose A Good Brand Name (2022)

Naming a company is getting harder as we live in oversaturated world. How do you create a great brand name and still stand out? Download my naming guide PDF

How to create a brand name? Check out these top brands and how they fit into the six name categories. Follow my step-by-step process to naming a brand.

PS. Also check out me new brand naming framework just updated in 2021.

Brand naming process:

Step 1 – Choose the type of name

  • After founder
  • Descriptive
  • Fabricated
  • Metaphor
  • Acronym
  • Real word

Step 2 – What do you want to say?

Step 3 – Is the name available?

How to Choose A Good Brand Name (1)

When to start the naming process

  • You're starting a new business and you need a name, logo and website.
  • You've developed a new product and it needs a name and a logo yesterday.
  • Your name no longer fits who you are and the businesses you are in.
  • You need to change your name because of a trademark conflict.
  • Your name has negative connotations in the new markets we are serving.
  • Your name misleads customers.
  • You merged.

You can have many reasons that trigger starting the naming process, but it all comes own basically to two options:

  • You start a new business that needs a name
  • or you change the name of your company

If you're working on a branding project, you should start by developing your brand strategy first.

Your new name should align with your vision, mission, values and other elements of your strategy.

Also check tools like Shopify business name generator that can give you some ideas to start with.

I will know it when I hear it.

This is probably the biggest myth about naming.

People often indicate that they will be able to make a decision after hearing a name once, which is rarely true.

In fact, good names are strategies and need to be examined, tested, sold, and proven.

So whether you're naming a new company, service or product - the rules are always the same.

Your name is your brand's story

To get a name right, it’s vital to first get your story straight—one that gets at the very best of your brand.

Your brand name is your story distilled to its shortest form.

Naming is just one, very powerful, element of the many that a brand has at hand to tell its story.

Your brand name is the most used, the most ubiquitous, which means it holds within it the majority of a brand’s value.

The name is transmitted day in and day out, in conversations, emails, voicemails, websites, on the product, on business cards, and in presentations - everywhere.

Naming is a rigorous and exhaustive process.

Frequently hundreds of names are reviewed prior to finding one that is legally available and works.

It’s also important to remember that while the process of creating and selecting a name is critical, once the name is out it the world, the meaning of the word itself will evolve based on how people experience the brand.

And a great name can’t fix a bad experience, but a bad experience can kill a great name.

So if you’re just renaming a bad experience, because you just want to start fresh but haven’t actually change anything else – that’s a warning for you.

Naming is never love at first sight

People rarely love a name because of its technical meaning, or its structure, or its linguistic merits.

Instead, it’s because of the meaningful association they have with the entire brand experience.

If the brand experience is bad, the name becomes the shorthand for this—and possibly other—bad experiences.

If it’s great, the name becomes the handle for everything that’s great about the brand, and the reason people use it, recall it, repeat it, recommend it.

(Video) How to Choose a Great Business Name | Creating an Amazing Brand

And that’s why the journey of naming should be: deciding how you’ll tell the entire story of your brand in a word.

Why naming isn't easy?

There are about 400 mln companies in the world as of today which equals to 400 mln brand names.

Some brands as big as Apple, Nike and Coca-Cola, others as small as one person online business (like myself).

With so many brands out there, is getting really hard to create and find a truly unique brand name.

How do you find a name that’s available?

How do you find a name that’s available?

Naming your business is one of the first steps in the process of branding – before you start your logo design process, you must select a name first, of course.

What makes a good brand name

How do you tell the difference between a good name and a bad one?

The right name needs to be timeless, tireless, easy to say and remember.

How do you find a name that grabs people’s attention?

A great name stands for something and facilitates brand extensions.

Its sound has rhythm and it looks great in the text of an email and in the logo.

How to play and win the name game? – Start with 3 simple steps.

Step 1 - Choose the type of name

There are six different types of brand names and pretty much every company in the world falls into one of them:

Types of brand names:

  1. Founder Names
  2. Descriptive Names
  3. Fabricated Names
  4. Metaphor Names
  5. Acronym Names
  6. Real Word Name

I’ve taken as example some of the famous brands that have clever brand names and fall into those six different categories:

1. Names After Founder

Many companies are named after founders: Ben & Jerry’s, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger. It might be easier to protect. It satisfies an ego.

The downside is that it is inextricably tied to a real human being.

Well-known brands named after founder:

How to Choose A Good Brand Name (3)

How to Choose A Good Brand Name (4)

Pros and cons of using founder's name:

People often weight it on what are the advantages and disadvantages of having a brand that is your name or isn’t your name.

Should I choose my real name or a general name?

The pros of using your own name, is the fact that you don’t have to spend any time thinking about coming up with a name.

If you have a unique name, chances are that the url’s are available.

When you go and tell people, it’s easy to remember because it’s your own name e.g. John Smith Design – you’re John Smith and you do design.

The cons are that if you want to grow your company and potentially take on partners, so now it’s going to be John Smith & Associates and you would have to change your name.

Another disadvantage is that if you want to sell your company, your name is associated with that company and if they take it down the direction that you don’t love – you feel like you’ve lost your own name and your own identity.

But if you want to create a lifestyle brand and never plan on selling your brand – that’s perfectly fine to use your real name.

2. Descriptive Names

Descriptives names work by telling you exactly what the company does.

(Video) How to create a great brand name | Jonathan Bell

These names convey the nature of the business.

Descriptive name can be much harder to own and protect.

Well-known descriptive brand names examples:

How to Choose A Good Brand Name (5)

How to Choose A Good Brand Name (6)

3. Fabricated Names

Because it’s so hard to find new names, companies like Kleenex and Pinterest have invented names by changing, adding or removing letters or combining two or more words for impact.

Made-up names are distinctive and might be easier to copyright.

Invented names can be highly unique, but if you’re not careful they will start to sound like pharmaceutical drugs.

Well-known invented brand names examples:

How to Choose A Good Brand Name (7)

How to Choose A Good Brand Name (8)

4. Metaphor Names

They work by reflecting imagery and meaning back to the brand.

Metaphor names are interesting to visualize and often can tell a good story.

The Amazon in South America is the world’s largest river – therefore the world’s biggest selection of books, clothes etc. Nike is a greek goddess of victory.

Well-known metaphor brand names examples:

How to Choose A Good Brand Name (9)

How to Choose A Good Brand Name (10)

5. Acronym Names

Acronyms are just short-hand version of descriptive name. Some acronyms are more strategic.

These names are difficult to remember and difficult to copyright.

Kentucky Fried Chicken switched to KFC, because fried chicken didn’t sound to healthy. And the Hong-Kong and Shanghai Bank changed to HSBC to help the bank expand globally.

Well-known acronym brand names examples:

How to Choose A Good Brand Name (11)

How to Choose A Good Brand Name (12)

6. Real word Names

Real words like Uber or Slack are taken out of a dictionary and suggest attributes or benefits.

“Uber” literally means an outstanding example. So it works well for a company with big, bold, broad ambitions beyond ride hailing.

It’s hard to find any real words left in a dictionary.

Real words may seem like a good idea but in the world of 300 mln companies its getting harder to find a name.

Well-known suggestive brand names examples:

How to Choose A Good Brand Name (13)

How to Choose A Good Brand Name (14)

Some of the best names combine name types. Some good examples are Cingular Wireless, Citibank.

Customers and investors like names that they can understand.

Step 2 - What do you want your name to say?

Below is the excerpt from Jonathan Bell's video on TED

(Video) HOW TO NAME YOUR COMPANY (get the best Trademark!)

"Once you’ve selected what type of name:

You need to decide what you want the name to say.

And it’s tempting to create a name that says about those who created them, or what you do, or where you operate, but it all starts with a story.

To get a name right, it’s vital to first get your story straight—one that gets at the very best of your brand.

The best brand names don’t describe – they rather stand for a big idea and the words are translated into emotional appeal.

  • Nike is about winning.
  • GoPro is about heroism.
  • Apple is about simplicity and usability.
  • Google is number with 1 and 100 zeroes after it.
  • Uber is about outstanding, super taxi experience.

So that really big number help support company’s really big original vision – to organize worlds information.

Think carefully and ask yourself:

What’s your big idea?"

Step 3 - Is the brand name available?

The third step is to check if the name isn’t already taken.

Is the domain name available?

Is the social media handle available?

You might have to create hundreds of names perhaps thousands – before you find one that is even available.

Probably the fastest way to check your name availability it so use this name checker.

This tool will save you a lot of time, it will show you available and taken domain extensions domains as well as usernames on popular social media channels – it comes in very handy when testing possible names for your brand.

Also remember to check if the name doesn’t mean any negative in other languages or countries.

The last things you want – is embarrassing naming fail.

The wrong types of brand names

The wrong name for a company, product, or service can hinder marketing efforts, through miscommunication or because people cannot pronounce it or remember it.

Naming requires a creative, disciplined and strategic approach.

It can subject a company to unnecessary legal risks or alienate a market segment.

Finding the right name that is legally available is a gargantuan challenge.

How to come up with a brand name

Finding a brand name is a very time-consuming task.

The right name must capture the imagination and connect with the people you want to reach.

The right name has the potential to become a self-propelling publicity campaign, motivating word of mouth, reputation, recommendations, and press coverage.

Your brand names should have the following qualities:

  • MeaningfulIt communicates something about the essence of the brand. It supports the image that the company wants to convey.
  • DistinctiveIt is unique, as well as easy to remember, pronounce, and spell. It is differentiated from the competition.
  • Future-orientedIt positions the company for growth, change, and success. It has sustainability and preserves possibilities. It has long legs.
  • ModularIt enables a company to build brand extensions with ease.
  • ProtectableIt can be owned and trademarked. A domain is available.
  • PositiveIt has positive connotations in the markets served. It has no strong negative connotations.
  • VisualIt lends itself well to graphic presentation in a logo, in text, and in brand architecture.

What makes a great name?

When your new brand name works as a shortcut for people to make great decisions.

A great name is the fastest and easiest way for people to navigate the choice of a brand, or product, or service, when they need it most.

Names are way-finders, used by people to locate and choose you over your competitors.

In them, they carry so many attributes, associations, experiences, and information that people immediately understand and accept.

A great name conveys all of this in a single word or phrase.

(Video) How To Choose a Name For Business | Startup | Brand | Company | Business Name Idea in Hindi | Hindi

Tips for naming your brand

  1. Know what you’re naming - If you can’t sum up what it actually is you’re trying to name in a sentence, then you don’t know what you’re naming. Yes, this really does happen. Make sure you have a firm grasp on the details before you begin.
  2. Know who cares about it - Having a good picture of the brand’s target audience is essential. Do your background research, but more importantly, talk to some customers in person—you’ll begin to see your brand through their eyes. And don’t forget your people internally. They’ll have a lot to say about it.
  3. Know what you want to say - A few key communication points are all you need—but you need to know them backwards and forwards to ensure that these key messages are being conveyed by your name in a convincing and engaging way.

Naming Tools

Although I don’t recommend using them, you might want to test out some different options if you decide to let’s say combine two words (fabricated name) e.g. Groupon = Group + Coupon.

If so, then using name generators can give you some name ideas to consider.

Mixwords – Simple tool that takes source words and generates random mixes to quickly visualize potential combinations.

Panabee – A simple way to search for domain names, app names, and company names. Combines input words to create unexpected pairings and connections.

Wordoid – Power random word generator with toggles for language, quality, patterns, length, and domain availability.
Also check tools like Shopify business name generator that can give you some ideas you can play with.

  1. Mixwords - Simple tool that takes source words and generates random mixes to quickly visualize potential combinations.
  2. Panabee - A simple way to search for domain names, app names, and company names. Combines input words to create unexpected pairings and connections.
  3. Wordoid - Power random word generator with toggles for language, quality, patterns, length, and domain availability.

Also check tools like Shopify business name generator that can give you some ideas you can play with.

Dictionaries

Using dictionaries comes handy when searching for the right words to support your big idea.

Here are my three top dictionaries:

  1. Dictionary.com - Primary definitions, secondary definitions, root words, and related terms. A good jumping off point but unlikely to get you to the end of your search.
  2. Merriam-Webster - Comprehensive dictionary including pronunciations, first known uses, language learner and children’s definitions. Also includes a strong thesaurus.
  3. Urban Dictionary - The people’s internet dictionary. Find obscure memes, definitions and phrases. Useful to check if your selected name is offensive or has an obscure second meaning.

Check outthe full list of naming tools.

Conclusions

Below is the excerpt from Jonathan Bell's video on TED

"Finally, a few words about Alphabet.

The parent company of Google and now one of the World's most valuable companies.

Is "Alphabet" a great name?You bet.

First of all, the name is an idea.

As we all know the alphabet is a set of letters that form basis for all of the language and communication.

Second, the provides the playful link to the companies underneath: G for Google, N for Nest, and so on.

Naming encourages the Wall Street investors.

Buy this stock and you making an alpha-bet.

But there's one problem with that name:

BMW owns the domain alphabet.com

However, it isn’t much of an issue these days.

Now that we find stuff through google search, and we connect with brands through social media and smartphone apps.

So Alphabet the company forgot about the alphabet.com and instead found a shorter, more unique web address:

ww.abc.xyz

That’s clever – isn’t it?"

How To Create Brand Names

Ready to start searching for your business name?

Check this comprehensive naming resource first.

Also check out Alexandra Watkins' new naming course — use code EBAQ to get $300 off

(Video) Guide On How To Choose Domain Name & Brand Naming Strategies

FAQs

What makes a good brand name? ›

Developing a great brand name — one that is distinctive, memorable, easy to pronounce and emotionally appealing — is a critical element in creating any brand identity. We all know that great brand names can differentiate companies, products or services in crowded markets.

What are 3 tips for successful branding? ›

Images courtesy of FAC members.
  • Clearly Identify Yourself. ...
  • Make It Easy For People To Understand. ...
  • Let Your Brand Tell A Story. ...
  • Consider What Your Customer Will Think. ...
  • Ask Why You Are Doing This. ...
  • Create A Liquid Experience. ...
  • Be Creative And Approachable. ...
  • Design For The Long-Term.
31 May 2018

What makes a brand name attractive? ›

Ideally, you want something that's: Meaningful: It communicates your brand essence, conjures an image, and cultivates a positive emotional connection. Distinctive: It is unique, memorable, and stands out from your competitors. Accessible: People can easily interpret it, say it, spell it, or Google it.

What are the 3 types of brands? ›

The Three Types of Branding
  • A corporation or company brand.
  • A product brand.
  • A personal brand.

What are the 5 key features of a brand? ›

Five Key Brand Elements:
  • Brand Position. ...
  • Brand Promise. ...
  • Brand Personality. ...
  • Brand Story. ...
  • Brand Associations.

What is the powerful brand name? ›

Top 100 Most Powerful Brands of 2020
CompanyRank Change2019 Rank
Apple Inc.12
Coca-Cola Company-11
The Walt Disney Company3
PepsiCo Inc.4
96 more rows

How do I make a brand name unique? ›

10 tips for effective brand names
  1. START WITH THE END IN MIND. As with all marketing, a clear brief is critical to success. ...
  2. THINK BIG FROM THE START. ...
  3. BUILD ON BRAND TRUTH. ...
  4. PLAY AROUND WITH WORDS. ...
  5. ADD SOME PERSONALITY. ...
  6. USE 'PARALLEL PROCESSING' ...
  7. LESS IS MORE. ...
  8. THINK PROTECTION BEFORE YOU GO TOO FAR.

What is the top 10 brand? ›

Top 10 Brands in 2022 in the World
  • Apple.
  • Amazon.
  • Google.
  • Microsoft.
  • Walmart.
  • Samsung Group.
  • Facebook.
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd.
22 Mar 2022

What is the most famous brand name? ›

Top 10 most recognisable brands
  • Apple (AAPL)
  • Google (GOOGL)
  • Amazon (AMZN)
  • Microsoft (MSFT)
  • Coca-Cola (KO)
  • Samsung (SMSN)
  • Toyota (TSE)
  • Mercedes-Benz (DAIG)

What are the 3 C's of branding? ›

Raise your voice and clearly articulate your brand message and values by following the 3 c's model to brand messaging: consistency, clarity and character.

What are the 5 C's of personal branding? ›

They are the five Cs: Competence, Connection, Courage, Character, and Credibility. “No matter how strong our brand is, if we don't pay attention to these five Cs on a regular basis, our entire brand could crumble,” Couladis explains.

What brands attract customers? ›

6 Ways To Attract More Customer Love to Your Brand
  • Understand them. Understanding your customers' needs and wants is the first step towards creating more positive customer experiences that eventually lead to customer loyalty and love. ...
  • Build Relationships. ...
  • Stay Relevant. ...
  • Be On Time. ...
  • Keep the conversation flowing. ...
  • Reward them.

How do I make my classy name brand? ›

5-Tips for creating unique Fancy Business name ideas
  1. Keep it simple. Most luxury and fancy business names use one word which immediately captivates customers and lures them in to buy their products. ...
  2. Get brainstorming. ...
  3. Ask for feedback. ...
  4. Check for domain availability. ...
  5. Use our Fancy Business Name Generator.

What are the 7 elements of an effective brand? ›

The following are the 7 important elements of effective branding.
  • Brand Name. Obviously, a brand name is one of the important brand elements which help the customers to identify and differentiate one product from another. ...
  • Logo. ...
  • Tagline. ...
  • Appearances. ...
  • Graphical elements. ...
  • Theme. ...
  • Colour.

What are the 6 key elements of a brand? ›

The Six Elements of a Brand
  • Brand voice.
  • Brand identity.
  • Brand promise.
  • Brand values.
  • Brand targeting.
  • Brand positioning.
7 Aug 2020

What are the 4 types of brand? ›

What Are 4 Types of Brands? There are numerous types of brands, but the four most common ones include corporate brands, personal brands, product brands, and service brands.

What makes a brand unique? ›

Brand creation involves creating key brand elements such as a unique visual expression, brand personality and positioning that identifies and differentiates a product from it's competitors.

What are 4 four branding strategies? ›

Four Branding Strategies You Can Use for Business Growth.
...
Developing Your Brand: The Most Common Strategies
  • Multi-Brand. ...
  • Brand Extension. ...
  • New Brand.

What is a catchy name? ›

If you describe a tune, name, or advertisement as catchy, you mean that it is attractive and easy to remember.

What is a weak brand name? ›

Weak brands usually have a low profile, are insecure, and unclear in their communication. At their brand touchpoints they do not deliver a clear brand promise. The result: Neither employees nor customers know what the brand stands for, so they don't find it attractive.

What is a meaningful brand name? ›

A good brand name should have following characteristics: It should be unique/distinctive (for instance- Kodak, Mustang) It should be extendable. It should be easy to pronounce, identified and memorized.

Do name brands matter? ›

When it comes to consumer choices, brands matter. Consumers pay a premium for Morton because, over time, the brand has created a perception of quality, consistency, and trust. Leading brands like Morton are more than just products or services—they evoke memories and emotions associated with quality.

What brand sells the most? ›

Kantar list (2022)
RankBrandCountry
1Apple Inc.United States
2Google LLCUnited States
3Amazon.com, Inc.United States
4Microsoft CorpUnited States
6 more rows

What is the most loved brand? ›

Jimmy Choo, Downy and Dolce & Gabbana are the most beloved brands among U.S.adults in 2022, according to a new report from Talkwalker and Hootsuite. Jimmy Choo, Downy and Dolce & Gabbana are the most beloved brands among U.S.adults in 2022, according to a new report from Talkwalker and Hootsuite.

Which is No 1 brand in clothes? ›

Apparel 50 2022 Ranking
20222021Name
11Nike
23Louis Vuitton
32GUCCI
45Chanel
21 more rows

What are trending brands? ›

If you're wondering what brands are trending in 2021, the results gathered during the first three months of the year are finally in.
...
The Most-Searched Brands of 2021 (So Far) Indicate a Return to High Fashion
  • Gucci. Photo: Getty Images. ...
  • Nike. ...
  • Dior. ...
  • Balenciaga. ...
  • Moncler. ...
  • Prada. ...
  • Louis Vuitton. ...
  • Bottega Veneta.
10 May 2021

What are the 5 biggest brands in the world? ›

The Leaderboard
RankBrandBrand Value % change from 2020
1Amazon64%
2Apple74%
3Google42%
4Microsoft26%
6 more rows
6 Oct 2021

What are the 4 key elements of a brand? ›

Focus on products, narrative, pop culture, and customer needs. To successfully reinvent your brand, you must rethink your approach to product, story, culture, and customer.

What are the four 4 branding components? ›

A strong brand requires a strong brand identity, brand image, brand culture, and brand personality. Implementing a successful brand strategy that develops all four of these components increases brand trust, loyalty, and awareness.

What are the 4 brand categories? ›

What Are 4 Types of Brands? There are numerous types of brands, but the four most common ones include corporate brands, personal brands, product brands, and service brands.

What are the 5 P's of branding? ›

The 5 areas you need to make decisions about are: PRODUCT, PRICE, PROMOTION, PLACE AND PEOPLE. Although the 5 Ps are somewhat controllable, they are always subject to your internal and external marketing environments. Read on to find out more about each of the Ps.

What are the 5 A's of personal branding? ›

These are the 5 A's of personal branding:
  • Authenticity.
  • Authority.
  • Aspiration.
  • Affinity.
  • Artisanat.
24 Jul 2022

What are the main pillars a brand? ›

What are the five brand pillars? The main brand pillars are purpose, perception, identity, values, and brand experience.

How do you brand yourself? ›

Five Tips to Branding Yourself
  1. #1: Define your brand and become an expert. ...
  2. #2: Establish a presence. ...
  3. #3: Generate brand awareness through networking. ...
  4. #4: Remember the 3 Cs of branding. ...
  5. #5: Get feedback from those who know you best—at work, at home, anywhere.

What are the 6 personal branding types? ›

According to research, there are 6 main personas that best identify personal brand types - altruists, careerists, hipsters, boomerangs, connectors & selectives. Every branding type represents a motivation through which individuals share information and establish how they're seen within their industry.

What are the 4 ways you can build a strong personal brand? ›

So let's look at four ways to build a strong personal brand for your career.
  • Determine what you want to be known for.
  • Grow your online presence.
  • Pay attention to networking.
  • Keep an elevator pitch ready.
22 Mar 2021

What are the 8 elements of a brand? ›

The elements of brand identity:
  • Name.
  • Logo.
  • Color.
  • Slogan.
  • Image.
  • Shape.
  • Graphics.
  • Typography.
6 May 2019

Why is brand name Important? ›

Why are brand names important? They're important because you and/or your customers can use them to identify a business, as well as what it offers. Logo Design of the brand and its name can influence your customer's decision to buy something or an intern's decision to either continue working for your company or not.

What is your brand examples? ›

Your personal brand statement has to be strong, descriptive, short, and catchy all at the same time. Some examples include: “I help individuals reassess their life choices to discover their true paths to success.” “I develop sustainable business models and marketing strategies to fuel small business growth.”

Videos

1. How To Come Up With A Business Name (Brand Name Ideas, Examples & Strategy)
(Brand Master Academy)
2. How To Come Up With A GREAT Brand Name (NOT What You Think)
(Dan Lok)
3. How to Choose a Name for Your Business
(Marie Forleo)
4. How to CHOOSE a BUSINESS NAME or BRAND NAME - TIPS and TRICKS to FIND the perfect name
(Kelhia Mayoka)
5. How To Name Your Fashion Brand (With Actual Exercise!)
(Esteban )
6. How to Choose the PERFECT Name for Your Brand
(Devin Nash)

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