Naming: What a Difference a Name Makes

May 04, 2018

The Foundation of the Perfect Brand Name

In the first two parts of this series of articles on the more strategic aspects of the branding process, we focused on brand consulting and brand development/branding. To conclude the series, this article deals with the strategic naming of companies, products and services according to your individual needs.

"The name choice is not only a creative process."

Finding a suitable name for a newborn can be difficult. Normally, at the time you choose a name, you know relatively little about the later traits and peculiarities that will make your child the person he or she will become.

Branding is a bit easier. As you have learned in the previous two chapters, we always start a brand identification process by immersing ourselves in the history of the brand and creating a brand architecture based on it. This includes the basic characteristics and values of a brand as well as finer nuances such as individual traits and peculiarities of the product or company.

In this sense, brand naming is a much less creative process than it is for babies. At the time of naming, we know who we have in front of us. Our task is to find a name that fits.

You can be a little more creative with naming your business.

8 Criteria for Great Brand Names

Below we have identified eight key points and related questions that you should keep in mind when choosing a name for your company, products or services:

  1. Brand Fit

    How does the name fit into your existing brand architecture? Does it fit in with your story, your character, the values and employees of your company?

  2. Engaging

    What does the name mean to your customers? Will they remember it?

  3. Unique

    Does your name get lost in a list of competitors or does it stick out, does it attract attention?

  4. Accessible

    Do customers understand your company name when they first hear it? Can they spell it easily to find your business via Google?

  5. Long-Lasting

    Does your name sound good five years from now? Is it still suitable when your company develops and expands?

  6. Legally Protectable

    Can you register the name as a trademark? In Switzerland, in the EU, worldwide? How far does trademark protection extend? Are relevant domains still available?

  7. Expandable

    Are you planning sub-brands for your product range? How do you expand the name in these cases? Are you expanding abroad? Does the name also work in the USA, China and Costa Rica?

  8. Appropriate

    What do customers associate with your name? Which connections are awakened consciously or unconsciously? What appears on Google when you search for your name?

With these rules, finding a name is a breeze.

Stay Objective... or at Least Try

Your company, your product, into which you have put so much heart and soul, needs a name. Understandably, it is difficult to banish one’s own emotions and, to put it somewhat negatively, claims of ownership to the back seat and to approach naming from an objective perspective.

Perhaps the proposed name reminds you of an unpleasant acquaintance or you would like to make your spouse happy and name your new product after him or her. Such personal dislikes and preferences are natural, but please always keep one in mind:

"This name does not have to please you primarily."

The name is part of the branding and therefore has a clearly defined task: It should make it possible to build a bridge between you and your customers. The naming process should therefore be approached from as objective and functional a perspective as possible.

Ask yourself how the name is received by your customers, which emotions it triggers and which memories it awakens in them. How well it stays in their memory and how easy it is to spell it out. If you have found a name that checks all these boxes, then you have a name that does its job. That’s what matters in the end.

If your customers like the name, it will make you happy as well.

Learn to Love Your Name

One last remark: Do not trust love at first sight when it comes to finding a brand name. The “Aha” moment from movies is rather rare in real life and even then we would like you to at least sleep over it again and give the name a sober thought on the next day or the next week. If the name is well chosen and is met with positive feedback and high customer response, you will also learn to love it. Believe us.

You can find more articles like these on all topics around branding, branding & design on our Story page:


How Studio9 Takes You to the Next Level

This brings us to the end of this short series on the concept phase of the branding process.

If you would like to find out more about this, if you still have unanswered questions or if you would like to get directly involved in the naming of your company or product, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.