A great brand name isn’t just something that looks cool on a billboard or business card, and it isn’t great just because you like it. A great brand name is great because it communicates value, elevates the brand, and intrigues customers.
The right brand name can be a brand’s most valuable asset, driving differentiation and speeding acceptance.” – The Brand Gap by Marty Neumier, Brand Pro.
Identifying the best or ‘right’ brand name can be difficult, how do you find a name that works? One that is unique and catchy? A name that looks great in ads, websites, and has an available URL? Some people think it’s easy, just use a brand name generator and pick one, others say it’s impossible, give them thousands of dollars and they’ll do it for you.
However, neither is true, a brand name is important for any business, and the process can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars, on the other hand, using a generator and picking one probably won’t give you the best brand name.
In our experience finding the right brand name is possible, it just takes some deep thinking, a little research, and brand name testing. In this article, we will cover 5 tips for choosing a great brand name.
What Makes a Good Brand Name?
One of the most fundamental components of a brand’s identity is its name, which aids in creating and sustaining a distinctive presence in the minds of consumers and other important audiences.
While there isn’t a tried-and-true technique for coming up with the greatest brand name, most successful brand names share several similar characteristics, making them simpler for customers to remember and for you to use.
You want to create a brand name that includes some or all of the following elements:
- Meaningful: It conveys the core of your brand, is impactful, and fosters emotional connection.
- Distinctive: Distinguishes you from your rivals and is unforgettable.
- Accessible: Simple to translate, pronounce, spell, or Google. (Your name must be comprehensible, even if it is strange or bizarre.)
- Flexible: The brand name can be used in a number of formats and placements and can be altered to effectively communicate your message.
- Protectable: The brand name isn’t taken and can be trademarked by the organization to ensure it is the brand name only you will be identified as.
- Visual: It can be communicated or translated through design elements like icons, logos, colors, etc.
These useful elements will help you sift through all of your brand name possibilities, but you want to find the name that communicates value and is successful, not “good” or “bad”. The thing that matters is if the name resonates with the target audience.
How to Find the Right Brand Name
Finding your brand name can be exciting, stressful, exhausting, and everything in between. But, there are multiple tools and platforms that are trying to make it easier for businesses, whether it’s through name generation, suggestions, showing available domains or names, or (the most important) brand name testing.
These tools can be helpful in brainstorming, vetting, and researching, but it’s important to choose and test a brand name with purpose. If you are ready to find the best brand name for your business, here’s our step-by-step guide.
1. Communicate Brand Value
Before you choose your brand name you need to understand the goals of the organization, your unique selling proposition, and who you are. To do this, you need to communicate brand value, this includes:
- Purpose: What do you do?
- Vision: what problem do you want to solve, and what does the future of the brand look like?
- Mission: What are you trying to accomplish and how are you going to do that?
- Values: What guides your business and behavior?
These elements should guide everything the organization does, including choosing your name. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might not be ready to find your brand name.
2. Differentiate Your Brand
Understanding what makes your product, service, or business different from the competition is the key to finding a brand name that will stick. Brand values are definitely something that makes you unique, but there are a number of other elements that create differentiation.
You want to keep your competitive advantage at the forefront of your brand as you move through the naming process. You aren’t just looking for a great name, you are looking for one that is a great name for you, your customers, and your industry.
If you can’t identify what makes you different, do some research, consider what you offer, and look at the competition. You’ll get a better sense of how you can stand out in every aspect of brand development.
This is the fun or exciting part of naming a brand. Get your team together, ask some friends or family, and come up with as many potential brand names as possible, the more the better.
While it can be fun to let everyone throw out any idea, you should give some guidelines for what you are looking for, what you want to communicate, and the type of name you want. You might want to start your discussion with a prompt such as:
- Write down the adjectives that describe the brand or business.
- Describe what you want customers to feel when they see your name.
- Associate words with the product or service.
Another useful way to brainstorm names is to think of categories that you might want to align with:
- Founder: A name based on a real or fictional person, like Sam Adams or Ben & Jerry’s
- Descriptive: A name that describes what you do, like Toys R Us
- Fabricated: A completely made-up name or word, like Hulu
- Acronym: A brand name that used initials or abbreviations, like IBM
- Metaphor: Foreign, imaginary, or mythical things, places, people, or processes, like Nike
- Misspelling: A name that changes the spelling or combines words, like Google
Challenge the team to come up with names for every category, you’ll probably have a lot to work with, and might start to see a trend of preferences for one type over another.
4. Consolidate the List
This can be the most frustrating part of the brand naming process, there’s no point in testing names that are already taken, or sound too close to other brands. You need to narrow your list down to unique, powerful, and effective brand names.
Consider the team’s favorite names, ideally 5-10, then do some research to identify if any of them are taken, are too close to competition, or other established brands. If they are all taken, it’s back to step three, this process will reduce your list down to the brand names that might work and the ones that the business can actually use.
If your team is lucky, or geniuses and you found 20 unique, unregistered brand names, narrow it down to your top three or four to test.
5. Test and Re-Test
Now that you have a list of your favorite brand name possibilities, here is the most exciting part, using consumer feedback to identify the best brand name. You get to create logos, product packaging, landing pages, and more.
Test your top 4 or so names, you might be surprised with what test participants like. Your favorite brand name might not be what the users like, you should consider their feedback when you ultimately choose a name.
To test a brand name, follow Poll the People’s guide to brand name testing. You will be able to create a custom test that compares two brand names, allows your target audience to vote, and give detailed feedback on what makes one better than the other.
Once you’ve tested, re-tested, and analyzed all of the quantitative and qualitative data you should have a frontrunner. Testing with Poll the People makes the process quick and easy, allowing you to worry less about spending money on brand name testing and giving you more time to finalize the product and create every part of the brand.
These steps will undoubtedly serve as a useful roadmap to help your brand name stand out, but we also advise that you use your own judgment to choose the best brand name. Utilize rapid user research to educate the decision but at the end of the day, it is up to you. Try to reflect who you really are in your name so that customers can share your passion for your brand.
The first step in creating a powerful, enduring brand is your brand name. You want to approach your brand with planning and strategy, from name to messaging to visual identity. After deciding on a name, you can begin building your brand.
Poll the People has multiple resources to identify a brand name and build a powerful brand with user testing that is done in minutes, expert-built templates, and a dedicated user panel. If you are ready to start optimizing every element of your business sign up for free with Poll the People and start testing today!
- Marketing Effectiveness: How to Drive Conversions and Reduce Risk Before Launch - February 3, 2023
- Product Pricing: 11 Strategies and When to Use Them - February 2, 2023
- The Test Management Process in User Research - February 1, 2023