How to Create Your Authentic and Unique Brand Name
Whether you're a new brand just getting started, or an active company looking for a creative rebrand, choosing the right brand name will play a crucial role in your chances of success.
Brand names are not only important for initial consumer recognition, but they can also affect long-term perceptions of your business. A strong name can make your brand more memorable, trusted, and credible, while a weak one can do the opposite.
With that in mind, our branding experts are here to share with you exactly how to create a brand name.
This step-by-step guide will provide all the tools you need to create your own brand name, from generating initial ideas and brainstorming to avoiding the worst common brand naming mistakes. Let's start with the basics.
Brand Naming 101
What's in a name?
Your business name is one of the first things potential customers will encounter when they learn about your company. It's also one of the few things you'll have complete control over from the very beginning.
That might not seem like a big deal, but it's actually quite rare in business. So many other factors are out of your control, from the state of the economy to changes in consumer behaviour. Your brand name, however, is something you can control.
That's why it's so important to choose a strong, unique, and memorable name for your business. Great brand naming will help you stand out from the competition, build trust with consumers, and establish your business as a credible player in your industry.
Plus, who wants to be generic? You have to get creative if you want to stick around in the minds (and hearts) of your potential customers.
What makes a memorable brand name?
First of all, it's important to note that brand names can be memorable for a number of reasons – and they're not all good. So, if you want to hit your target market with a name they will remember, try to make it for the right reasons.
There isn't an exact science to creating memorable names, but some key features to aim for could include:
- Uniqueness: A name that's truly unique will be much easier to remember than a generic or bland one. This is especially important if you want your brand to stand out in a sea of competition.
- Relevance: Choose a name that is relevant to what you do or what you sell. This will help consumers connect with your brand on a deeper level and make it more memorable.
- Simplicity: A name that is easy to pronounce and spell will be much more memorable than one that is complicated or difficult to remember.
- Emotional connection: A name that evokes positive emotions in consumers will be more likely to stick in their minds. After all, we're more likely to remember things that make us feel good.
What are the benefits of creative brand names?
There are a number of benefits that come with choosing a creative brand name, including:
- Increased brand awareness: A creative brand name will help your business stand out from the competition and be more memorable to potential customers.
- Improved brand perception: A well-chosen name can improve the way consumers perceive your brand, making it seem more trustworthy and credible.
- Greater customer loyalty: If customers have a positive emotional connection to your brand, they're more likely to be loyal customers.
Avoiding Terrible Brand Name Mistakes
Before we get into the step-by-step process of creating a brand name, here are some mistakes we come across far too often that you should aim to avoid.
Stop using brand names with double-meanings
With so many different categories of organisations out there, you want your brand name to be clear in its meaning. So, let's try to avoid double entendres and any other complex language tricks that could potentially be misinterpreted.
Whether it's to avoid embarrassing results like the one below (yikes) or to help you rank for the relevant keywords in your specific industry and not something completely irrelevant, try to understand the meaning of the words used from as many angles as possible and ensure it isn't going to hold you back.
Please, don't end up like these guys. Check the meaning of your brand name before you put time, effort and money into your visual branding.
Avoid generic brand names
Strong brand names are creative, unique and memorable. Generic brand names, on the other hand, are anything but.
A generic name is one that is either completely made up and uncreative (think Homely Homes) or is so common that it could be applied to any number of businesses in any number of industries (think Eco-friendly Cleaners).
Generic names are often quite boring and uninspired, which is the last thing you want your brand to be. So, if you're going to put the time and effort into choosing a name for your business, make sure it's something that will set you apart from the competition.
Don't get too literal
While it's important for your brand name to be accurate and on-point, too much literalism can make things boring. Be creative! Avoid industry jargon, and try to add some personality to your brand name. Your goal should be to create a name that is both accurate and interesting, so don't be afraid to get a little creative.
No copycat brand names
In a world where we're constantly bombarded with advertising, it can be tempting to choose a name that is similar to another brand in your industry. But beware!
This could create confusion and dilute your brand identity, especially if you're going for a copycat name that is very similar to a well-known brand.
It's important to find a balance between being unique and relevant, so try to avoid names that are too similar to existing brands. Instead, focus on creating a name that represents your brand in a unique and interesting way, even if that means rebranding.
A shopkeeper who claimed he was threatened with legal action after calling his shop Singhsburys has changed its name to Morrisinghs. (BBC)
Avoid unprofessional brand names
Any legitimate business will not entertain an unprofessional brand name. This does not mean you can't have fun and even think way outside the box, but your business name still needs to look like a credible organisation.
This means nothing offensive and nothing too unprofessional or juvenile. If you wouldn't say it in front of your grandma, it's probably not appropriate as a business name.
You should also consider whether your brand name reflects your company's values and professionalism, as this can be very important to some clients or customers. If you’re in the B2B industry this is particularly important, as businesses that work with you will require a certain level of professionalism.
If in doubt, keep it simple and make sure the name is something you would be happy to say out loud.
No misleading brand names
Your company name can't mislead your audience. This is just bad business.
For example, you can't call your company "Loans For All" if you can't provide loans for everyone that applies – and who can? This will only lead to disappointed customers, bad reviews and even fines. This becomes especially relevant when it comes to health or nutrition brands and their associated health claims, but can be applied to all brands.
Brand names will often also have implied claims that are less direct than the example given above. You need to ensure that these implied claims are accurate, as misleading customers in any way is a bad idea. The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) states:
"In one case, the ASA ruled that the brand name misled consumers about the nature of the company, and implied that it was a small local business when it was not (Ben's Gutters Ltd, 22 December 2021)."
Get to the point! Be truthful, clear, and accurate in your brand messaging, and you'll avoid any potential misunderstandings or misrepresentations.
How To Create a Brand Name: 6 Steps To Success
Step 1: Understand your brand identity
First up, you need to understand and develop your brand identity before you can incorporate it into a brand name or visual identity. You want to create a positive emotional response from your target customers, so it's important to understand your core brand values and what message you want to communicate.
Consider the personality of your brand and what you want people to think and feel when they see your name or logo. Perhaps you want a name that's serious and trustworthy, or maybe something fun and friendly is more your style.
We've listed some key questions to consider at this stage below. Your answers to these questions will help you understand what type of name will suit you best.
- What is the tone of your business? Creative? Professional? Colloquial?
- What words would you use to describe your business?
- What are your core brand values?
Step 2: Think about your brand positioning
Your business strategy will play an important part in your brand name. Just think about your brand positioning for a second. Consider where you want your brand to sit in the market.
Are you a premium/luxury brand targeting high-end customers, or are you aiming for the mass market with a more cool and affordable product or service? Knowing your brand positioning objectives before you start coming up with names will help to keep you on the straight and narrow.
Some questions you can consider at this stage include:
- What is your target market?
- What are your main competitors?
- What are your brand objectives?
- What is your main value proposition?
Step 3: Get to know your target market
Understanding your target audience is vital when it comes to brand naming. Who are you targeting with your products or services? How can you better connect with them? Where do they spend their time online? What brands do they like?
Your target market research will help to shape the direction of your brand name ideas. The more you know about your target audience, the easier it will be to come up with a name that appeals to them. Some questions you can consider at this stage include:
- What are the demographics of your target market?
- What are their interests and needs?
- How do they speak? What type of language do they use?
- What is their buying behaviour like?
Step 4: What are competitors doing?
Use research to your advantage here. A strong brand name will help you to stand out from your competitors, so it's worth taking the time to get it right. Start with some competitive analysis to understand what your main competitors are doing.
Look at their brand names and consider how they might be appealing to their target audiences.
What type of emotions do their names evoke? What type of message are they trying to communicate? You can also look at their visual identity to get an idea of the overall direction they're heading in. Other questions to consider include:
- What have other brands in your sector opted for with their brand name?
- What works? What doesn't?
- What naming trends are popular in your sector right now?
Step 5: Brainstorm some ideas
Now it's time for the fun part – coming up with a list of potential names! This is where you can let your creativity run wild and come up with as many different ideas as possible.
To get the juices flowing, try thinking about some clever plays on words related to your business, but nothing too complicated. Remember you want your brand name to be easy to remember and pronounce. Once you've got a few ideas down, you can start playing around with different spellings and word combinations.
Other brainstorming techniques you might want to try include:
- Thesaurus brainstorming – coming up with a list of keywords and then expanding on them with related words and synonyms.
- Get the team involved - whether it's management, stakeholders or employees, involve as many people as possible in the brainstorming process. You never know where the next great idea is going to come from!
- Visual brainstorming & mind mapping – coming up with ideas by starting with a central word or concept and then branching out. You can also use images and symbols to inspire name ideas.
Step 6: Test, test, test!
Once you've got a list of potential names, it's time to start testing them out. The best way to do this is by surveying your target audience and getting their feedback.
This will help you to understand how they react to different name options and what type of associations they make. You can also use online tools like Google Ads to get an idea of how popular your name ideas are and what type of traffic they might generate.
You can also use this opportunity to test out different domain name options and see which ones are available. It's worth having a few different options in mind, as your first choice might not be available. Other things you might want to test include:
- The name in different contexts – how does it look on your website, social media, marketing materials, etc.?
- Different spelling options – is there another way to spell the name that's easier to remember or pronounce?
- How the name sounds out loud – say it out loud to see if it flows well.
Brand Naming Process Best Practices
The perfect brand name will not just be a descriptive name, it will evoke emotion in your audience. A good brand name may describe what they do clearly, but a great brand name will evoke an emotional response from your target market.
When you are going through the brainstorming process for your brand name, think about what feeling or reaction you want your target market to have when they see or hear your brand name. Some common emotions that brands evoke include:
- Happiness (Dollar Shave Club)
- Strength and power (Nike)
- Trust and reliability (Volkswagen)
- Sophistication (Louis Vuitton)
- Adventure (Red Bull)
Keep it short, sweet, and easy to say
This one should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many brand names are long, complicated, and hard to pronounce. A great brand name is short, sweet, and easy to say - usually meaning no more than three different words.
Some of the most memorable brand names are just a single word: Nike, Google, Apple. Other great examples include Twitter, Uber, and Airbnb.
Using only one or two words makes it easy for your target market to remember and say your brand name. And the easier it is for them to say, the more likely they are to actually use it.
It's important to use real words in your brand name. Not only will this help with search engine optimisation (SEO), and will drive traffic to your site, but it will also make it easier for your target market to understand and pronounce your brand name.
Some businesses try to be clever by using made-up words or alternative spellings of common words, but this can often backfire unless you are a large corporation with a big budget behind you. The reality is, if you throw a random word into the mix, your target market may have no idea what it means or how to say it.
A good rule of thumb is to use real words that are either common or well-understood by your target market. If you do need to use made-up words, make sure they are easy to pronounce and spell, and maybe follow them up with an industry-specific word to counterbalance.
Write for your audience
While cultural diversity is important throughout your brand and organisation, you need to speak the same language as your target audience and ideally avoid foreign words.
Business names that use multiple words in other languages can be difficult for people outside of that culture to understand and pronounce.
If you still want to include a foreign word in your brand name, make sure it’s common enough that people will understand it. Similarly to the tip above, a good rule of thumb is to only use words that appear in the dictionary.
Monitoring the Success of Your Brand Name
Once you have settled on a brand name and put it into action, you will need to monitor its success. This will help you know if your brand name is resonating with your target market and if it needs to be tweaked or changed altogether.
There are a few key indicators you should keep an eye on:
- Search engine results - Are people searching for your brand name? If not, you may need to consider a change.
- Customer feedback - What do your customers think of your brand name? Is it easy for them to say and spell? Do they understand what it means?
- Brand awareness - How well do people recognise your brand name? If you’re not getting the level of brand awareness you want, consider a rebrand.
While it’s important to monitor the success of your brand name, don’t forget that it’s just one part of your overall branding strategy. Your brand name should work hand-in-hand with your logo, tagline, and other branding elements to create a cohesive and recognisable brand framework.
How Can a Creative Agency Help?
Many business owners might not have the time or resources to come up with a great brand name on their own. If you’re struggling to come up with a great brand name for your business, a creative agency like Huddle can help.
A creative agency can help you brainstorm and choose a brand name that accurately reflects your business, resonates with your target market, and sets you up for success.
Creative agencies can also help you with everything from developing your brand positioning to designing your logo and other branding materials. Working with branding experts also offers the benefits of:
- A fresh perspective - If you’ve been working on your business for a long time, it can be hard to come up with new and innovative ideas. A creative agency can help you tap into their pool of creative talent to come up with a brand name that’s truly unique.
- Expertise and experience - A good creative agency will have a team of experts with years of experience in branding. This means they’ll be able to offer insights and feedback that you might not have considered.
Need help coming up with a great brand name for your business? Get in touch with our team of branding experts today!
At Huddle Creative, we understand the importance of a strong brand. We can help you create your brand name and strategy, as well as support you with digital design and creative content that will make your business stand out from the crowd.
Our experienced team has developed numerous naming strategies and conducted brand naming for companies across a wide range of industries. Whatever your brand idea, we can help you bring it to life.
With years of experience rebranding and launching new brands, we can help guide you through the process and ensure your brand is set up for success. Get in touch today.