A powerful brand name is more than just something that sounds catchy or looks good on your company card. It’s also not powerful just because you appreciate it. It’s powerful because it tells customers something.
A name for your business, product, or service can come in many forms. There are abbreviations, metaphors, names that come from a person’s sir name, and many more. It is interesting to think about the different types of brand names that helped to create some of the largest businesses we know today.
A brand name can help or hurt the business, they can grow with the company or in some cases limit them to specific products or industries. Whatever your brand name is it should resonate with the target audience and promote the company with only a few unique words.
In this article, we are going to cover 10 types of brand names that are used by some of the largest companies in the world and explain how you can find the best brand name for your business in a few hours.
What is a Brand Name?
A business or organization gives its company, product, or service a specific brand name, which is typically a word or phrase.
A brand name, in its most basic form, is a type of signature that acknowledges the creator of a certain service or product and distinguishes it from those produced by others. The following are two of the brand names’ primary goals:
- To identify a specific good or service from others of a similar or related brand.
- Connect with the user and be recognized by the target audience.
The idea is the same as when artists sign their works of art, journalists receive editorials, or designers sew on a corporate logo. Companies use brand names to determine the authenticity and credibility of the products they offer, whether it be a marketing agency, restaurant, clothing store, or bike shop.
10 Types of Brand Names
Any brand’s naming or renaming process starts with understanding the different types of names they can use.
Your brand strategy will be defined if you offer a variety of goods or services and select different brand names for each one. The ideal branding strategy or even logo might be defined by the brand name a company chooses.
Here we have 10 of the most popular types of brand names, we’ll dive into each type and provide advice for using each.
1. Descriptive Names
Descriptive brand names are one of the simpler types of names, but can sometimes be the best fit for your business. A niche business in a new market might be able to benefit from this type of brand name because it explains what you do and can educate the user. These names are simple, usually include a word or two about what you offer, and leave no question as to what you do.
Burger King, for instance, makes its services absolutely obvious to customers and leaves no room for confusion. This name reveals what they will be offering you (burgers) and indicates their competence in it (king). This name makes it clear what you’ll get (burgers) and shows how skilled they are at it (king). Just by reading the name, you can determine what you will receive, which is a significant advantage.
Examples: Toys R Us, General Motors, and The Weather Channel
2. Suggestive Names
Suggestive brand names a built upon emotions that a user might relate to your business. They can be a very powerful way to connect with the target audience and explain to them the feelings they might have when interacting with your brand. Does your business give users freedom, save them time, more money, or a sense of well-being? A brand name that reflects these emotions can help a business reach new users.
One of the major advantages of this form of brand name is that your creativity is your only limitation. It might be fantastic for a business that wants to stand out, be distinctive, have a name based on historical figures, or make a clever play on words.
By adapting suggestive names to the needs and expectations of the customer, a brand name can expand on the level of emotion that already exists in the client’s mind.
Examples: Pampers, Uber, and Dove
3. Abstract Names
Abstract brand names can sometimes be hard to understand, they are basically made-up words or names that a business uses to identify its brand. They can have some meaning but they aren’t words you would find in a dictionary. An abstract name consists of a set of sounds of syllables which creates a new term that hasn’t existed before.
Although these names can be developed into almost anything because they are a blank slate, it is more difficult to construct a strong brand identity around them. These names frequently fall flat because people are unable to relate to or correlate them with anything. It’s common to include a name that clarifies something to the people when introducing a new product, service, or business.
Examples: Google, Trello, and Oreo
4. Origin Names
Origin brand names are typically created based on the history or foundation of a business. They can be the name of the founder, historical people that worked in the industry or business, or the place where it all started.
In addition to gratifying the morale of its owners, founder names are unquestionably simple to trademark. They can be distinctive if properly positioned, but building value requires marketing efforts unless, obviously, the founder is already well-known.
Examples: McDonald’s, DHL, and Abercrombie & Fitch
5. Acronym Names
While acronym names are widely used, it might be smart to avoid them. They are typically used out of necessity, a name is too long or complicated and they are made of letters and numbers to shorten the name. While they are short, the result of using the type of brand name is a bland, emotionless name.
Today’s startups would struggle to think of a compelling justification for using an acronym for their company name. Acronyms are typically difficult for audiences to remember and even more difficult to trademark.
Examples: IBM, H&M, and 3M
6. Lexical Names
Lexical brand names rely on wordplay to make the name memorable and engaging. Puns, phrases, compound words, alliteration, misspellings, and foreign words are used to create these names. They are usually cleaver and get their impact from pairing words for linguistic effect.
These kinds of names run the danger of sounding a little too cutesy. It’s arguable that having a name that seems like a children’s book hurts corporate branding.
Just remember that there’s nothing worse than a pun that makes your eyes roll, both in branding and in everyday life.
Examples: Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Krazy Glue
7. Alphanumeric Names
A lot of times if a business has an idea for a brand name but it’s not overly unique they can add a number to stand out. Alphanumeric brand names combine letters and numbers to create a more unique name. While it might make names more unique they can seem more complicated or technical than intended or even less professional.
These names are typically more frequently used to identify products, notably in the automotive industry. Consider organizations like Five Guys, Forever 21, or 23andMe, for example. The founders of Forever 21 believed that the age of 21 was the most desired, thus they chose that number as the company’s name. The 23 chromosomes that the organization’s DNA testing looks at are represented by the number 23andMe.
Examples: 7Up, Life360, and SixFlags
8. Generic Names
Generic brand names can be easy to remember, identifiable, and clearly explain what the business does. But the category of these names rarely meets the criteria of what a good brand name should do.
Although it is appealing in that it is short, memorable, and practically sums up what your company does, it is not unique, engaging, or piques interest. For example “Dog Food” might be a solid generic name for your dog products. But it’s too literal and boxes the company into one product or category.
Examples: Cars.com, Crock-pot, and Chapstick
9. Compound Names
Another option when you are looking for a unique name for your business is a compound brand name. This type of name brings two or more words together to make one, they are mostly abstract words that still have meaning and explain something about the company.
Depending on the kind of effect you want to make on your audience, there are many approaches to compound names. This type of name can also combine more than two words to create a single word; the words are typically abstract but nonetheless convey meaning and provide information about the company.
Snapchat is a fantastic example of this. The company’s operations are centered on the concepts of photographs (snap) and socializing (chat), and these two concepts are combined in the brand name.
Examples: PayPal, NetFlix, and DoorDash
10. Technical Names
Technical names are often left to software, B2C, and very specific business, however, if you are in the right industry they can be a great way to get your message across. These brand names are related to the processes or specific technologies in a business or product.
Examples: Panasonic, Microsoft, and Xerox
How to Find the Right Brand Name for Your Business
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 (most importantly) 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.
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.
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.
Narrow Down 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 the competition, or are 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.
Test and Retest
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 by what test participants like. Your favorite brand name might not be what the users like, you should take their feedback into consideration 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 gives detailed feedback on what makes one better than the other.
The best part, our tests take less than 60 minutes and responses only cost $1. This allows you to test as many brand names as you want, all while getting feedback from real users.
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.
Choose the Brand Name that Fits Your Business
The first thing your audience encounters is your brand name, so be aware of how it is portrayed. Select a brand name that, in every way, fits your company. Take note of the following measures.
- You must include a keyword relevant to your company.
- Select your brand name’s features carefully and in accordance with your product or services.
- To avoid competition, make sure to secure your domain name.
Nowadays, establishing an excellent brand name is challenging, and it’s becoming more difficult as new brands appear every day. However, using this methodology will help you come up with a fantastic brand name for your company.
A powerful brand name has a big impact on your business, so it’s important to take time to consider all of the steps to find the right one. The number of potential names is limitless, despite the limited forms of brand names.
Every type of brand name has advantages and disadvantages, and some are always going to be more powerful than others. Regardless of the name you choose to pursue, it’s critical to establish expectations at the beginning of the naming exercise.
Utilizing Poll the People’s brand name testing feature is the most effective approach to naming your company. With the use of real consumer feedback, you can compare your brand name possibilities and select the one that best suits your company.
Selecting a brand name is an important choice. To be sure you are selecting the ideal name for your company, take the time to test it. Sign up for Poll the People today and launch your first test in minutes.
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