How To: Develop A Great Brand Name


The value of a great brand name can’t be underestimated. It begins your brand story, is the first point of your competitive advantage and is the focal point of your brand building efforts – and with few exceptions, is also the one brand element that should never change. On the other hand, a poorly considered brand name will provoke little, if any, positive interest among your target audiences and may even mislead about the nature of your company or offerings.

Brand naming is one of the toughest parts of a branding project. Here are nine characteristics of great brand names that should be considered when vetting them for prime time:


1. Begin With a Naming Strategy Brief

The importance of a brand naming strategy brief can’t be stressed enough. It’s the only way to ensure that everyone who is part of the naming process and decision-making process is being guided by the same considerations, criteria and strategy.

2. Distinguish vs. Describe

To be effective, brand naming ideas must have brand building potential. A brand name that is narrow or too descriptive doesn’t have the depth or dimension to help tell your brand’s story (not only today, but years into the future).

3. Resonate With Your Audience

It doesn’t matter if brand naming ideas resonate with the CEO for some personal reason. What matters most is how the name resonates with your target audience.

4. Be Concise

As a general rule, effective brand names should be three syllables or less and 13 characters or less. If not, the consumer will take control of your brand name – shortening it to either an acronym or simply an abbreviated version.

5. Memorable

If your brand name blends in, it won’t stand out. And it won’t be top of mind when you need it to be. The easier it is for consumers to remember and recall the brand, the higher is the traction the brand enjoys in the minds of consumers.

6. Easy To Read, Pronounce And Phonetically Appealing

Without all three, the mind passes over it.

7. Ownable

Before you narrow to a final brand name, make sure it can be easily protected, able to be trademarked and associated with its own URL.

8. Translates Internationally

If your brand name is traveling overseas, a global linguistic analysis should consider ease of pronunciation, meanings evoked, brand fit, and existing brand names that are similar to your name candidates.

9. Fit Alongside Other Names

For any new brand that is being launched alongside a portfolio of existing brands, the existence of a naming architecture is essential. It helps in answering important questions like how to establish relationships between the brands in the portfolio through names, the naming conventions that the organization should follow, and establishing rules for variants, extensions and sub-product naming.