INNOVATION

Naming your brand

Marketing Let’s look at some of the famous brand names and learn from them. Brand names are divided into different categories. Eponymous Many companies are named after a founder. It might be easier to protect that type of name and it probably gives a boost to your ego. Naming your brand after the founder works...

Last updated: 19 Nov 2020 - 3 mins read

Robin Creative Director

Flatlineagency

CONTENTS

Marketing

Let’s look at some of the famous brand names and learn from them. Brand names are divided into different categories.

Eponymous

Many companies are named after a founder. It might be easier to protect that type of name and it probably gives a boost to your ego. Naming your brand after the founder works extremely well in fashion and luxury goods.

Great examples are Gucci, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton. These names are mostly used by luxury and high-end brands. But the downside is that if you sell your company, and they take it in the direction that you don’t like. Well, then you’ve lost your name and your identity.

Burberry logo
 

Descriptive

Descriptives names like The Home Depot and American Airlines work by telling you exactly what the company does. But these names can be a mouth full and they are much harder to own and protect.

Burberry logo

Acronymic

Acronyms like ‘GE’ and ‘bp’ are just shorthand versions of descriptive names. Some acronyms are more strategic. Kentucky Fried Chicken switched to KFC because fried chicken didn’t sound too healthy. However, what you should keep in mind is that acronyms are extremely hard to protect.

Suggestive

  • Real

Real words like Uber and Slack are ripped right out of a dictionary and suggest attributes or benefits. Real words might seem like good a idea, but in a world of 300 million companies, it’s getting harder to find any real words left in the dictionary.

  • Composite

Composite names like Facebook and Ray-Ban are created by gluing two words together. These names have a kind of one-two punch and can be memorable. They can be descriptive as well. Facebook, a book with faces.

  • Invented

Because it’s so hard to find real words, companies like Kleenex and Pinterest have invented names by changing, adding, or removing letters for impact.

Invented names can be highly unique but if you’re not careful, they can start to sound like pharmaceutical drugs or a sofa from IKEA.

Fabricated/Abstract

Because it’s so hard to find new names, companies invent names by changing, adding, or removing letters.

An example is Kodak, which is just a made-up name invented by the founder who just liked the letter K. Another one is Verizon, which originates from the word horizon with a small tweak to it. These types of names offer the most creative results for a brand, it is also easier to protect because of the uniqueness.

Associative/Metaphor

These types of names work by reflecting imagery and meaning back to the brand. These names are interesting to visualize and make for powerful differentiators.

A perfect example is Nike, which is a Greek goddess of victory. Metaphor names bring to mind the experience or positioning of a brand. Another good example is Amazon, which is the world’s largest river, therefore the earth’s biggest selection of books, clothes, and content.

Decide what you want the name to say. It is tempting to use your name or use descriptive names. Try to check the other categories to create something even more unique.

Check if the name is available and doesn’t mean anything negative in another language. You might have to come up with hundreds of names before you find one. But it is worth it, trust me!

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