Updated: Nov 30, 2019
Each year countless names are added to the marketplace. Creating a remarkable brand name, one that has legs with an audience, and one you can build equity in over time is a tough challenge indeed.
Anyone who has ever sat in a room writing ideas on a whiteboard will agree that creating an enduring name is far more difficult than it may seem–it’s also the least understood of all the business or marketing communication practices.
It's difficult to create remarkable names that identify organizations and brands with global reach. Creating words that transcend legal, language and cultural references gets even more challenging–not to mention the complex trademark and URL considerations that go with it. Indeed, creating the right brand name–one that connects with an audience, and one you can build equity in over time is a tough challenge.
Your brand name is the root element of your value proposition. It’s the first perception by an audience about who you are and what you represent. Brand names should never be developed as an afterthought.
A good brand name requires and deserves your full consideration. Of course, the expertise of brand identity consultant might be handy in the process too… just a thought.
Ten common naming structures to guide your brand name creative thinking.
If you’re in the process of naming your startup, new product or service right now, you may find the following naming structures useful.
Real Words: These are names that are simply re-purposed words. (e.g., Adobe, Amazon, Fox, Yelp, Saphire) This category also includes misspelled words (e.g., Digg (dig), flickr (flicker)) and foreign words (e.g., Vox (Latin for ‘voice’).
Compounds: These names consist of two words put together (e.g., Firefox, Facebook, LightScribe).
Phrases: These names follow normal rules for combining words (but are not compounds) (e.g., MySpace, StumbleUpon).
Blends: Blended names have two parts, at least one of which can be recognized as a part of a real word (e.g., Netscape (net + landscape); Wikipedia (wiki + encyclopedia).
Tweaked Words: Tweaked word names are derived from words that have been slightly changed in pronunciation and spelling – commonly derived from adding or replacing a letter (e.g., ebay, iTunes).
Affixed Words: These are unique names that result from taking a real word and adding a suffix or prefix (e.g., Friendster, Omnidrive).
Made Up, Evocative or Obscure Origin Words: These names are generally short names that are either completely made up, or, since their origins are so obscure, they may as well have been made up (e.g., Bebo, Plaxo).
Puns: Puns are names that modify words/phrases to suggest a different meaning (e.g., Farecast (forecast, fore -> fare), Writely (rightly, right -> write).
People’s Names: Using a general name or the name from a personal connection (e.g., Ning (a Chinese name), Wendy’s (founder Dave Thomas’ daughter’s nickname).
Acronyms: The least favored in my view–unless you happen to be IBM. Names derived from the first letter of each word in the longer, more official name (e.g., AOL (America Online), FIM (Fox Interactive Media).
In a cluttered marketplace, creating a brand name that sparks a clear mental image that communicates the promise you make to your customers can be the white hot center of your competitive advantage.
If you’re seeking a brand consultant to help you create the right brand name for your startup business or new product, please send me an email.
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