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Brand Naming – 7 practical rules to adhere to

Naming is one of the hardest challenges for business owners and brand people to master, but there are some practical rules you can follow below that will help with the process.

Brand names help customers identify, remember, and talk about you. The right name can be a brand’s most valuable asset so it should be high up on any brands priority list when starting up or launching a new product. Having the wrong name can cost thousands, if not millions of pounds in workarounds and lost income so it’s important you get it right.

The most powerful name is often one that triggers or combines with imagery, such as Apple. Apple is more memorable than a word such as ‘health’ because of the obvious visual association we have with it.  Also, it’s worth noting that the sound of the name is often more important than the actual meaning so be creative and have fun. Think about Google, this word means nothing in reality and when you look at Apple as a brand, the name has no association with its products so having an open mind is crucial to the process.

When you next embark on a naming exercise, be that internally with your colleagues or a brand agency like us, try to factor in these 7 rules when validating your naming ideas:

DISTINCTIVENESS. Does it stand out from the crowd, especially from other names in its category? Does it stand out from ordinary text and speech? The best names have the “presence” of a proper noun.

BREVITY. Is it brief enough to be easily recalled and used? Will it resist being shortened to a nickname? The maximum number of syllables is four, beyond which the public will abbreviate it for you.

APPROPRIATENESS. Is there a reasonable fit with the business purpose of the entity? If it would work just as well or better for another brand, keep looking.

EASY SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION. Can people spell the name after hearing it? Can they pronounce it after seeing it? A name shouldn’t be a spelling test or make people feel ignorant.

LIKABILITY. Will people enjoy using it? Names that are intellectually stimulating, or provide good “mouthfeel,” have a head start over less likeable names.

EXTENDABILITY. Does the name have “legs.” Does it suggest a visual interpretation or lend itself to a number of creative executions? Good names offer endless opportunities for brandplay.

OWNABILITY. Can it be patented as a trademark? Is it available as a dot.co.uk, dot.com or dot.org URL? While many names can be trademarked, some are more legally defensible than others.

If you would like help coming up with an effective brand name for your next product or company, we hope this helps in some way. Alternatively if you would like to talk to one of our experts, then give us a call on 01489 892 602.