3 Tips on Choosing the Perfect Brand Name
A brand name is an important part of your brand identity. After all, it is what represents your brand in its entirety. A brand name ideally should be concise, easy to pronounce, but catchy and flexible enough to stand out and be memorable.
Some examples of good brand names:
- Founder’s Name – This is very common and never gets out of trend, but is pretty hard to mean something just by looking at the name. With time, names will establish their own prestige. For example, brands like Michael Page, Dolce & Gabbana, Jimmy Choo, Ben & Jerry and Landor.
- Acronyms – Also common and can be fun and interesting. These are like YAHOO!, HSBC, DHL.
- Play on words/misspelling – This is where you can really get creative, but be sure it still fits into your branding image. You don’t want to sound too childish. For instance, brands like Twitter, Tumblr, Google, Krispy Kreme.
- Evocative – This is where the name gives the meaning of the brand, without actually describing it. Examples are brand names such as Patagonia, Amazon and Volkswagen Beetle.
You can get started on developing a good brand name for your business using these popular methods outlined. Businesses with complicated brand architectures, complex sales processes or in new industries, require a more thorough and detailed structure to brainstorm, test, define and expand on the perfect brand name. The process may involve a brand agency, some market research, focus groups and product testing.
Tips on Choosing a The Perfect Brand Name for You
As a rule, brand names generally needed to have these characteristics. Keep these tips in mind as a guide for when you need to choose the right brand name.
The name has to be pronounceable and readable, contextual to the language and target customer. The brand name should retain its intended meaning even after transliteration or translation into another language.
Let’s look at a classic example of a brand name attempting to be translated into a whole new language. When Coca-Cola first sold in China way back in the 1920’s, there were some efforts to trademark the transliteration of the phonetics to Chinese characters. Since Mandarin characters are complex, one transliteration gave out the meaning ‘bite the wax tadpole’. That would not work for Coke.
But before they could do further damage, Coke changed the characters to kekou kele (可口可乐) which now means ‘delicious happiness’. That works much better for them and it has stuck ever since. Imagine if Coke had not noticed the unsavoury translation, the brand may end up having a very different story in the Middle Kingdom.
Another linguistically-related example is the Colgate Wisp. Colgate-Palmolive had spent top dollars when they hire an agency to develop a name for their new line of disposable mini toothbrushes back in 2009. After consulting linguists and experts of their own, they came up with a name which they think fits best with the product. To denote the toothbrushes’ light and dainty features, they came up with the name Colgate ‘Wisp’.
What’s interesting is that the name didn’t come out from a meeting room out of whiteboards and presentations. The Wisp was proposed after the think tanks themselves use the toothbrush in their bathrooms, to feel the toothbrush as how customers would. After realising how light the toothbrush feels, the adjective ‘wispy’ came to mind.
How would this get communicated to the customers then? Why did Colgate-Palmolive get all fussy about this one product’s name? Wisp was a new brand in a new product category. It was important that the brand name describes the product benefits of mini toothbrushes being small and light, and help customers better understand what it can do.
This means the perfect brand name is exclusively available for your business to use (in a particular classification). This protects your brand building efforts and increases recognition for your brand.
Bonia, a high-end fashion brand, was found in Malaysia, but they borrowed many European influence from the name, to the styles and design. Customers tend to have an Italian perception of the brand based on its name, which gave this local brand an international advantage. As well as helping the business position itself strategically, Bonia is also a novel name not used for leather goods in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. This name is therefore a good candidate because it can be trademarked and built into a distinguishable brand.
- The Domain Name is Available
More importantly, the brand name has to have an ownable online presence. A brand name, such as Happy Bunch would not be as effective if the brand’s website needs to be spelt differently online, such as happybunch-my, happibunch or happybunchmalaysia. You would be making it harder for customers to find you online, or even remember how your website is spelt!
Since there are tonnes of websites online these days, it gets harder and harder to find a brand name that has not been made into a website yet. Want to start a cupcake business? Too bad, there’s probably hundreds of websites with the word ‘cupcake’ already.
What can we do then? This is where creativity has to prevail. Take this chance to develop a name so different in the industry, it can’t help but to stand out. For example, in the scarves business, one brand stands out for bearing a radical name; dUCk. dUCk Scarves, although initiated by an already well-known celebrity, proves to have excellent brand recognition by associating something new (a purple duck) to the scarf world that only they can claim ownership.
Chances of the domain already taken are low if your brand name is unique and new. dUCk Scarves and Happy Bunch, the florist brand mentioned earlier, did just this.