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How to Write a Strong Brand Name

How to Write a Strong Brand Name

Exactly how important do you think a brand name is? How much influence do you believe it has over the success of a brand? Well, not to be over dramatic, but sometimes it can help make or break a business.

Think we might be exaggerating a tad? Ok, then consider this scenario. You're with a group of co-workers, wondering which restaurants near the office have delivery. Your co-worker Sandra thinks that great Italian place a few blocks down has delivery, but she's not entirely sure. You helpfully offer, "No worries! Let me BackRub that for you." You get a few confused looks and some judgmental glimpses in response. You mumble something about going to the restroom and awkwardly walk out.

If you find yourself confused as well, that's perfectly normal. We can guarantee that the vast majority of the public isn't aware that the wildly popular search engine Google was initially called BackRub. We honestly can't (and prefer not to) imagine offering to BackRub things for anyone. It just sounds... icky. Offering to Google something sounds much cuter and not like some sort of unwanted physical attention.

BackRub image
That's going to be a hard pass for me, thanks.

Whether you're trying to name your brand for the first time or changing its name, it's essential to understand why the name you give your brand matters so much. Let's explore the reasons to carefully consider your brand name and how to create it effectively.

Why Brand Names Matter

The first thing to understand is that a brand name is a "representative" of your company. It allows you to stand out from your competitors. It helps to represent your product or services as well as the values of your business. Your brand name is one of the first things your customers will experience about your business.

"It's vital that the name is distinctive, authentic, memorable, and enduring, so it resonates with your target audience. It should stick in their minds, build and maintain trust with your consumers, and remain relevant as your company evolves." - Evolve Creative

Without a doubt, words are powerful. Choosing the correct word or words for your brand can significantly influence your success. An effective brand name can help you become memorable and stand out from others.

"The psychological effect of a word and a sound make a significant impact on the human mind. This effect can be used to make your company name a memorable brand in society." - Brinso

A strong brand name can bring recognition to your brand. Being recognizable helps to not only maintain your existing customers but also create new ones. According to brinso.com, statistics show that more than two-thirds of market respondents (68%) say that they prefer to buy new products from brands they're familiar with, compared with 57% in developed markets.

More importantly, a brand name can help build a strong brand reputation. And as you probably already know, a company's reputation is everything. People decide how much trust they place in your business based on your reputation. Having a brand name that represents your brand's tone of voice will help build trust with your customers and, in return, your reputation

Building a Strong Brand Name

Now that we've discussed why having a solid brand name is essential let's check out some ways to create one.

1. Keep it simple

First, your brand name doesn't necessarily have to say what you do. Sounds a bit odd, right? But it's true! This works when you use supporting taglines and imagery to reinforce your company's story. Make your business name short and with an ideal character count of 4,5 or 6. Also, check how easily it can be spelled and pronounced.

Take a look at these examples of famous brands that don't use the category keyword in their name:

  • Target
  • Google
  • Nike
  • Adidas
  • Canon
  • Amazon
  • Starbucks
Brand name examples
Simple works best when choosing a brand name.

2. Make it memorable

Your company cannot exist successfully without a memorable brand name. We recommend choosing a name that is easily memorized at first glance. Keep the name short and simple. You can also use alliteration. Some famous examples are Best Buy, Coca-Cola, and Dunkin' Donuts.

"You want your brand name to resonate with consumers no matter where they are on the buyer's journey—whether they're prospective customers, or brand advocates already singing the praises of your product or service." - Erika Voeller, Olive&Co

Alliteration brand names examples
Alliteration helps people to remember brand names.

3. Be authentic

Nowadays, being authentic is a must. People don't want to deal with companies that don't represent themselves truthfully. Therefore, your brand name must represent your essence. According to an article on bcg.com, consumers want to engage with brands that accurately and authentically represent their mission, vision, and core values.

Olive&Co suggests asking yourself these questions when trying to come up with names for your company:

  • Why do we do what we do?
  • What are our values?
  • What makes us different?
  • Where do we come from?
  • What is our personality?
Examples of authentic brand names
Image source: brandnic.com

4. Avoid being trendy

Yes, you read that correctly. The problem with trends is that most don't last. And that's the opposite effect you want for your brand name. Your name should be enduring and capable of evolving with your business.

Erika Voeller recommends asking yourself these questions:

  • Is the name flexible enough to accommodate new strategies, products, and acquisitions?
  • Will the name still fit if our focus expands or changes?
Apple logo
Keep the integrity of your brand by choosing something that will stand the test of time. Tech giant Apple chose its name years ago and it still works today.

5. Choose something universal

Your name should be easily remembered in other parts of the world. Also, you need to ensure that your brand name doesn't have negative connotations in different cultures. For example, the very successful brand "7Up" failed when it decided to expand to Shanghai, China. This is because they found that the brand name 7Up means "death through drinking" in their language. Pretty much loses its refreshing appeal, doesn't it?

7Up gif
No death from drinking for me, thanks.

Brand Name Makeovers

While some companies successfully create a strong name for their brand on the first try, that's not always the case. However, there is always hope to get it right the second time. Here are a few examples of companies that were successful at changing their brand names.

Google

As we mentioned, Google was initially called BackRub in 1996 (shudders). Founders Larry Page and Serge Brin thankfully trademarked the name Google in 1998. Can you imagine offering someone to Backrub that for you instead of Googling it? Undoubtedly this popular search engine would have never reached its current level of success with its former name.

Google logo
The name Google is simple and easy to remember. Best of all, it doesn't make you uncomfortable.

Pepsi-Cola

Feeling thirsty? Would you like some Brad's Drink? Honestly, me neither. That's what pharmacist Caleb Bradham originally called his drink back in 1893. He created a mix of sugar, water, caramel, lemon oil, nutmeg, and other natural additives that became hugely popular. However, five years later after creating his drink it was renamed Pepsi-Cola. As we know, it became one of the most recognizable brands on the planet.

A sign for Caleb Bradham
See? We're not making it up. There's a sign and everything!

Instagram

When Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger first created their location-based iPhone app, it went by the name of Burbn. Really guys? Like, bourbon whiskey? A perfect example of a difficult name to spell or remember. Systrom was just a really big fan of whisky. However, when they realized that the most popular part of the app was photo-sharing they developed a new look for the app and gave it a name that suited it better.

Why would you name your brand after a product that has nothing to do with your company???

Your Name is Who You Are

When coming up with your brand name, remember that it will be the first thing people will come in contact with. Their perception will shape what they think of your brand and their relationship with you moving forward. Do not take the process of choosing a name lightly. Remember that your brand name needs to represent the essence of who you are!

It’s vital that the name is distinctive, authentic, memorable, enduring, and defensible, so it resonates with your target audience, sticks in their minds, builds and maintains trust with your consumers, and remains relevant as your company evolves. In other words, a strong brand name is vital to establishing a strong brand reputation. And who doesn’t want that? - Erika Voeller

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Laura Amarillas
By
Laura Amarillas
On
November 2, 2022
5
min read