The Fine Art of Brand Naming.

Our clients range from tenured, longstanding organizations to new concepts and startups. For the latter, we love being on the ground floor as entrepreneurs make strides towards their dream becoming a reality.

These beginning stages are crucial for branding, laying a strong and consistent foundation. One of the early deliverables we provide to clients is assistance with naming products, companies, or organizations. Some clients come to us with a business plan, product, or concept and ask us to develop a name that is memorable, eligible for a trademark, and serves as a strong base for a successful brand. But naming is no joke, and even the best process is more of an art than a science – there are endless paths to explore and finding the right name that just sticks is a process.

There are typically a few questions we like to ask clients when considering naming conventions for their product, company, or organization. We go through an extensive branding workshop to fully immerse ourselves in the culture and messaging of each company. We ask these preliminary questions to establish a strong starting point for naming conventions.

  • What is your purpose of this brand?
  • What makes you different?
  • How do you want your company to be perceived?
  • What is the core benefit/service your company/product provides?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is the competition up to? 

These questions get to the heart of who your company or product truly is. It informs potential naming directions to explore. Some common naming directions are:

Mashup/compound words

Taking two words that are significant to the brand and make sense mashed together can be some of the best options because they almost always are eligible for trademarking. Some examples would be: Nabisco (The current naming is a mash-up from the old name, The National Biscuit Company), FedEx, Facebook, Pinterest. Additionally – Add a prefix or suffix: Adding common prefixes and suffixes to words can create new words without sacrificing the meaning of the overall company. Examples: Spotify, Rootsy, OnStar.

Misspell the word/remove the vowels

Finding a unique way to spell a word that has a significant meaning to the company can open a lot of names that are more eligible for trademarking. Some examples would be Tumblr, Lyft, Proactiv.

Use foreign words

Finding hidden meaning in a language that’s relevant or significant to the company can unlock numerous concepts. Some examples would be Casahop, Panera (In Spanish, “pan” means bread and “era” means age or time. So put together, Panera means “age of bread), Venmo (Latin word vendo/vendere which means ‘to sell’).

Make up a new word

Sometimes we overthink names. We can search high and low for meaning, but sometimes in brainstorming sessions, new words emerge and just stick. See Google, Häagen-Dazs, IKEA.

There’s no magic formula for finding the perfect name. It’s trial and error, finding significance and substance subjectively until something universal sticks.

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