When it comes to naming a brand, it can be a tricky operation; everyone has an opinion. But it’s not about finding a cool word that you think is great, it’s about finding a name that your customers can identify, remember and talk about; a name that resonates with your brand values, mission and vision.

The right name can be a brand’s most valuable asset, so it’s important to look at a large range of options to see how they fit with the values and attributes of your business before making a decision. The most powerful names are those that combine with imagery. For example, high imagery words like apple are more memorable than low imagery words like health. What emotion would your brand name elicit from your clients?

At Frost Creative we like to take guidance from Marty Neumeier’s 7 criteria for good naming during our thought process and below are some useful things to consider when you’re challenged with creating a brand name:

1. Is it distinctive?
Have you done your research and ensured your name stands out from the crowd, especially from other names in its category? Can it be detached from everyday language? The best brand names have the ambience of a proper noun.

2. Make it concise
A good brand name should be short, easily spoken and remembered. However it should not run the risk of being abbreviated or changed to a nickname. Longer multi-word names will inevitably be shortened to initials so it is advised that a brand name should not be more than 4 syllables long.

3. Make sure it is appropriate
Any name you choose should fit the purpose of the business. If your chosen name feels like it would work better for another business then reject it.

4. Is it easy to spell and pronounce?
If most people can easily spell your brand name after hearing it spoken, then you are on the right path. Likewise, people should be able to pronounce the name when reading it. It shouldn’t become a quiz or make people feel uneducated.

5. Likability
A name that is intellectually stimulating, has a good feel about it and one that people will enjoy using will have a better chance of success.

6. Brand extension
If the name can easily be interpreted visually and lend itself to multiple creative executions then you are on to a winner. Aim for a name that offers endless opportunities for marketing communications.

7. Can you protect the name?
A name that can be trademarked and is available as a URL will enable you to protect the brand name and make your brand more valuable in the long term.

And finally,

8. Go with your gut
Sometimes rules go out the window. If a name feels right in your gut, then run with it. Have the confidence to move forwards ignoring the subjective point of view. If you have taken on board the points noted above when working on your brand name, you’ll find it a lot easier to siphon out the non starters from your list and reach a shortlist.

Here are a few examples of names that work:

Birdseye –  A birdseye view of the sea and the fish

Beats – The sound

Whiskas – For cats

Microsoft – microcomputer and software

Nationwide – Everywhere

HMV – His master’s voice – with imagery of a dog listening to the gramaphone

And those that don’t:

Eukanuba – what?? You-can-oo-ba??


Bored Panda

Penguin Books

And those that shouldn’t work but do:

Kentucky Fried Chicken