These days, it’s hard to find a brand name that hasn’t been trademarked or registered online. Almost every conceivable word exists as a url somewhere – forcing new businesses to explore abstract phrases and unusual pairings. Portmanteaus and alternative spellings have become commonplace as brands seek to find a name that no-one else has (think Laundrapp, Breethe and Memrise). Sometimes, weird can be good – Google being a prime example – but too weird, and you risk having a name that no-one remembers (or worse, a name that no-one likes).
Below, we talk to copywriters Nick Asbury and Mike Reed about their favourite brand names, current trends in naming and how to approach finding a word to represent your business
CR: What do you think makes for a great brand name?
Mike Reed: It’s hard to make rules for these things. There are guidelines, but always exceptions. So, a good name is short, simple and easy to spell – but what about Häagen-Dazs? It should be easily pronounced – but Aesop gets pronounced at least two ways. It should be memorable – but why should anyone recall the name Patagonia? And it seems sensible for your name to be relevant to your business – but what do apples have to do with personal computing?
What a name can never be is everything. Many clients agonise over finding a silver bullet: the simple, unique, instantly memorable name that communicates everything important about their brand. [My] advice is to stop looking because you won’t find it – and you don’t need to. Names matter, but never as much as they seem to when you’re trying to think of one.
So many names are meaningless in themselves: Xerox, IKEA, Sony. And how many people know (or care) that IBM once meant ‘International Business Machines’, or that Esso comes from S.O. – Standard Oil? These names have meaning because of what those business do and say – not what they’re called.
Of course, a good name can help a lot. Bulb is great example: a simple, friendly, cheerful word that instantly suggests power and bright ideas – perfect for an energy start-up. It fits beautifully with their wider brand strategy of making energy simpler, fairer and more transparent. And with the overall personality of the brand.
Join our community
This article is available only to subscribers. You can join here.
+44 (0)2072923703 or email@example.com