Brand Naming


Anyone who has ever had to come up with a name for a new product or a new company knows how stressful the process is, and how easily the initial excitement is replaced by a sense of desperation caused by the fact that all the good names are already taken.

This blog discusses multiple important aspects of the naming decision-making process, which should be evaluated and settled upon before going forward with any new name. Bearing these things in mind at an early stage can save businesses time and money in the future.


1.      Brand architecture decision

The very first question you should ask yourself is whether a new name really is needed for your business or product. If you want to set up a new business, you need to call it something, of course, but if you're launching a new product, for example, check first if you can use some existing names that the company already owns, particularly if they've already established some brand recognition level.


Building a new brand from scratch is a favorite option for many people because it makes them feel creative and innovative, but it should be the last resort in most situations because it takes years and is very costly. Instead, one of the following options can be launched (obviously only if you already have a strong brand in your portfolio):

  •  1. a product variant, using a branded house framework, 
  •  2. a sub-brand,
  •  3. an endorsed brand


A type of brand architecture called a brand house, requiring new offers to have separate names and identities, can be managed effectively only by companies with huge marketing budgets. If you are a small business, it is a bad idea in 90 percent of cases, leading to inefficiencies in spending.


Ultimately, when you consider the naming convention and brand design for your latest addition to the portfolio, think five to ten years ahead. Consider what the next products / offers in the pipeline will be, where architecturally they will go, how they will coexist with the product you are launching now, etc.


Abstract or descriptive

It's always tempting to want a new name to define, to some extent at least, the category in which it will function. This is understandable, since the name can then play a dual function – defining the brand but also explaining the group it belongs to. It saves time and money, as less effort is needed to illustrate what you are selling to potential buyers, and it should also work to your SEO's advantage.


Nonetheless, problems will arise when you decide after a couple of years that you no longer want to be in this group, and need to expand the brand's reach. A couple of famous brands have faced this challenge. Nowadays MTV (Music Television) is much more about youth shows than the music. Within the area of personal care and makeup (hair styling, oral care, cologne and even "ass wipes"), Dollar Shave Club is entering new categories, which have nothing to do with shaving. Dunkin ' Donuts has changed its name to Dunkin' to reposition itself more effectively from a doughnut brand into a drink-first business.


The alternative to a name that is "descriptive category" is to choose an abstract name that does not signify something specific, which has nothing to do with the group it represents (e.g., Apple, Netflix, Starbucks, Amazon, Microsoft, and many others). The potential benefits are substantial, particularly if you have a budget to fund the launch of the new product or company. However, it will take a lot more effort and more resources to build brand awareness and explain what the brand does to people.


Two more steps

You may be tempted to pick the final name and skip the next two steps if you have a list of potential names that are "on brief" and you have been able to confirm that they are not taken by anyone else and you can actually use them legally. Surprisingly, this is something that many businesses do, failing to recognize the value of two additional checks.


In reality, the first test you need to run is pretty straightforward, is free and takes little time–it's the study of your future digital presence. First of all, investigate whether the URL (preferably all of them)–the new name plus the extension you want to use is accessible. If the URL is taken, either choose a different name or buy the domain while the cost is still fair (when the brand gets bigger it won't be sensible). Second, make sure they don't take the social media handles. Second, test what happens when you google your new name is creating a significant presence in the search results going to be an easy job?

The second is a lot more complicated process. If you have global ambitions and want your new brand to be well known all over the world, it would be better to check that your newly chosen name in other languages doesn't mean anything offensive. It is a frustrating operation but not to be overlooked. Later, you'll be thanking yourself. You don't really have to perform extensive analysis on the connotations that the new name evokes in every single language; you should do a common-sense review.


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