Brand naming essentials – a how-to guide

16 Nov. 2022

Choosing a unique brand name is significant for branding, however, it's also one of the most complex decisions you'll face as a business owner. How can you pack everything that defines your brand into one or two words?

Moreover, a perfect brand name should do it all: tell a story, distinguish your company from similar brands, and connect with your target audience. 

How-to guide on brand naming

As you come up with suggestions for business names, keep the following things in mind:

Think like a client

While picking a brand name, being memorable is your top priority. Choose a title that is short, concise, and easy to spell to guarantee that your target audience remembers it. Keep in mind that if people find it difficult to pronounce your brand name, they are less likely to discuss you with their friends.

Think ahead

Your brand name should remain connected to the essence of your business as it expands and also leave you an opportunity to switch to new offerings and products. So don’t be too specific about the product. Sometimes you may even select a name that has nothing to do with the service you offer (like Apple, that has no tech terms in its name at all!). Another option is to use your own name or initials.

Think world-wide

If your strategy includes expanding into international markets, brand naming can be even more challenging. So make sure you check the translation and how your brand name sounds before the launch. Ideally, it will just sound like a strange foreign term. But it might also:

How-to guide on brand naming
  • sound offensive in the other language.
  • be an inappropriate term in the other language.
  • be challenging or impossible to pronounce.
  • be identical to another business name that has already been trademarked.

You may avoid making some awkward and costly decisions by doing some research or asking locals for guidance.

Think about legal risks

Finding a unique name in today's competitive business world is harder than ever. So before you actually pick your brand name, ensure that you can legally trademark it.

Furthermore, keep in mind that your domain name needs to be the same as the name of your business so that customers may easily find you while looking for your brand online. If the desired domain name is already in use, you may either choose a different name or try to purchase the domain name from the existing owner.

Brand Naming Process

So how do you come up with an ideal name? Following these 5 steps will make the brand naming process easier:

How-to guide on brand naming

1. Research

First of all, define your own brand. Make a list of your brand's key elements. Describe your values and principles. What types of clients are you looking for? In order to choose a name that appeals to their particular interests, wants, and objectives, it is crucial to first determine your brand's target audience.

Second, research the names used by other companies in your industry. This does not imply that you must do precisely what everyone else is doing, but it might assist you in determining which style of business name is appropriate for your brand.

Determine which brand name type will be most effective for your business. Among the options are:

  • Descriptive (The Weather Channel, Whole Foods)
  • Evocative (Yahoo, Dove, Uber)
  • Invented (Kodak, Pixar, Google)
  • Lexical (Dunkin’ Donuts, Coca-cola)
  • Acronymic (ASICS, HP, MTV)
  • Geographical (Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pepe Jeans London)
  • Founder (Calvin Klein, Nestlé, Gillette)

The main idea of this step is to establish the main criteria the future name should meet.

2. Brainstorm

Quantity, not quality. Yes, that’s right! In case of brainstorming, this isn't about coming up with the ideal name right away, but rather about generating a large list of raw, unprocessed ideas that can be polished at the following stages. Now it’s time for some creative approach: play games, use mind-maps, thesaurus, and even online naming tools (they can be quite useful as starting points).

How-to guide on brand naming

3. Polish

The next step is to sort through all these ideas and pick the best ones. Match the names from your long lists with the benchmarks you determined during the research. 

Keep in mind that an efficient name is one that:

  • matching the positioning of the brand
  • represents a brand's personality
  • embraces one (or more) brand benefits
  • avoids notions that are negative or offensive

The result of the polishing step should be a shortlist of brand names that satisfies the established criteria and doesn't immediately raise any red flags.

4. Test

During the testing process look at the shortlist even more closely - consider how the name looks and sounds, its legal viability (remember about trademark issues and availability of URLs and social media channels that we talked about earlier), whether or not it represents your brand voice, and its potential to separate your business from competitive companies.

5. Select

The final step of the brand naming process might actually be quite challenging. In the end, this decision does include some intuition. You should be able to determine right away which of the chosen names seems appropriate and suits your business concept. To select a brand name that will support your company's future growth, make sure to lay the proper foundation and move through the process step-by-step.

How-to guide on brand naming

Extra questions:

Can I change my brand name?

Sure! But there are a lot of things to take into account. Typically, changing a company's name is a part of a bigger rebranding (learn more about rebranding here).

What else should I think about?

Of course, branding is not limited to deciding a brand name. Once you've selected a perfect business name, it's time to build out the rest of your brand identity - for example, a great logo (Don’t forget to read our tips on creating the best possible logo or hire a freelancer to do it.).


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