What’s In A Name? The First Steps In Creating A Brand Name

The first step in creating a brand identity is to define a naming strategy. Once designed, this should be formulated in a “naming brief”.

The naming strategy includes the following:

  • A description of the product and/or company. What makes it unique, different, or necessary
  • A definiton of the product or company that he name must support.
  • An understanding of what the name needs to convey. Is it descriptive , inspirational, emotive, or abstract, and to what extent?
  • Creating a future brand archetcuture (a blueprint for how the brand will develop, be built on, relate to other brands within and outside the company, and be marketed)
  • Identifying the target audience, plus market trends to provide the concept.
  • Addressing any related language, URL, and trademark issues.

In marketing terms names can be descriptive, inspiration, emotive, or abstract.

A descriptive name says what the product or company does, examples include Facebook, American Airlines, Zappos (shoes). An inspirational name focuses on the possibilities of the product, visualizing what the brand is aiming to achieve or evoke, such as One World. The emotive name suggests the “effect” of the product, as the impact it has on the people. This can be via brand values, or through imagery, and can be coined by using real words, images, or word-parts. Good examples of this include Visa (access), Smart Water and Honest Diapers. An abstract name has, as a first conception, no link to the product whatsoever. It can be a make-up word or unrelated. Examples include, Google, Kodak.

I tend to lean toward descriptive names, but often it depends on the product and industry! For example, pharmaceutical products could lose consumer trust if their name didn’t sound somewhat scientific. Would rather by Tynenol or HeadacheBeGone?