Ultimate Guide: How to Create a Brand Name That Will Work for You!

How to create a brand name that will work for you!

Coming up with an effective brand name is becoming more difficult for many entrepreneurs to do these days.

A lot of new businesses are being put on hold because their owners are finding it difficult to name them.

This reality is very obvious on Quora, the question & answer platform, where business owners are asking uncountable number of questions on how to create effective brand names.

Below are screenshots of Quora topics related to brand naming and the number of people following them.

No. of people following this startup naming question:

A Quora startup naming question with hundreds of followers

No. of people following this topic:

The Quora topic "Brand Names" with over 1,000 followers

No. of people following this topic:

The Quora topic "Name Suggestions" with over 6,000 followers

No. of people following this topic:

The Quora topic "Business Names" with over 9,000 followers

No. of people following this topic:

The Quora topic "Product Branding" with over 55,000 followers
NOTE: A lot of product naming questions and answers are under this topic.

No. of people following this topic:

The Quora topic "Startup Names" with over 76,000 followers

No. of people following this topic:

The Quora topic "Names and Naming" with over 105,000 followers

No. of people following this topic:

The Quora topic "Domain Names" with over 180,000 followers

No. of people following this topic:

The Quora topic "Brands and Branding" with over 582,000 followers
NOTE: A lot of brand naming questions and answers are under this topic.

Even on Reddit, people ask for brand naming help in business-related subreddits such as r/Entrepreneur, r/smallbusiness and r/startups.

The subreddit wholly dedicated to brand naming help is r/INeedAName, where entrepreneurs ask for free help for naming their new businesses.

WARNING: Don’t ask for free brand name suggestions online. You will put your brand reputation at risk. Serious entrepreneurs either name their brands themselves or hire professionals.

There are reasons entrepreneurs find it difficult to easily and effectively name their new businesses. Let’s look at some of them.

Below are few but important statistics about the number of businesses in the world today:

The implication? The average entrepreneur, trying to name a business, quickly, but painfully, finds out another business is already using his/her desired business name.

Besides, effective brand naming is a learned skill just like logo/web design. But most entrepreneurs don’t know or believe this fact.

Generally, business owners think coming up with an effective startup name is so easy until they are stuck.

The staggering number of businesses we have today—the ones already created and the ones being created daily/yearly—and the lack of effective naming skills are the 2 main reasons entrepreneurs struggle to name their businesses.

Hence, there is a need for a very comprehensive, practical how-to guide on effective brand name development.

And, possibly, you’re reading this post right now because you want to know how to name your new business or you’re struggling to name it.

In this article, therefore, we are giving you a very comprehensive, practical guide on how to name your new business.

We will be covering the following important topics:

  1. The importance of a brand name to the success of a brand
  2. The basic qualities of an effective brand name
  3. How to craft a effective naming brief
  4. How to effectively brainstorm brand name candidates
  5. How to accurately test all the name candidates to determine the most effective ones
  6. How to choose the winning name among the tested-and-trusted name candidates

Before we delve into each of the above-stated topics, let’s briefly explain some important terminologies related to business naming.

Brand Name Development: There is a standard, well thought-out, logical process for creating effective brand names. Hence, we don’t just come up with names; we develop names.

Brainstorming: This is the process of thinking about and writing down potential business names before you now consider the effectiveness of each of them.

Effective Brand Name: A brand name is effective if it has qualities that will make it achieve the purpose of its development in relation to the brand bearing it.

Name Candidates: These are brainstormed names from which you hope to choose the one your business will bear. Hence, the word “candidates.”

Naming Brief: Also known as Creative Brief, this contains all the needed ingredients for effective brainstorming of names, such as name type, name mood, name length, language of a name and other related, relevant details.

Thinkony Score: This Score quantifies the effectiveness of a brand name. Thinkony Score 50 is the standard score below which a name is ineffective or less effective and above which a name is effective or more effective.

Importance of a Brand Name to the Success of a Brand

Below are some of the reasons your brand name is very important.

  • Your brand name is so indispensable that your business cannot do without it. No business can be nameless.
  • Your brand name encompasses all that your business is, does and stands for—now and in the future.
  • Your brand name is the first and primary point of contact between your business and your target audience.
  • Your brand name is the first and primary ambassador of your business.
  • Your brand name is an effective marketing tool if used correctly. It markets your brand for you free forever.
  • Your brand name is your business’ first asset.
  • Your brand name is one of the most important assets of your business. In fact, it will outlive every other asset your business has.
  • Your brand name can either make or mar your business’ chance at success, because it creates a specific impression about your business in the minds of your potential clients.
  • Your brand name will either be attracting customers to your business or sending them away. If potential money-in-hand clients need your business but find your brand name confusing, misleading, too long, etc., you may lose them to your competitors.
  • Your brand name will either be enhancing your brand image or damaging it. It will, to a large extent, determine whether people would be proud to identify with your brand or not.
  • Your brand name will greatly influence your marketing efforts. Even if you have a successful brand, you will be less successful with an ineffective brand name.

Basic Qualities of an Effective Business Name

1. Memorability

Your business name should be memorable.

Potential clients should be able to easily remember your business name after seeing or hearing it for the first time.

2. Pronunciation

Your business name should be easily pronounced by your target audience.

When a person finds it difficult to pronounce your business name, that is a problem.

3. Spelling

Your business name should sound as it spells.

Please, avoid deliberate or indeliberate misspellings.

4. Word Flow

Your brand name should have its vowels and consonants blend into one another well.

For instance, if your brand name is all-consonants (e.g. Sprynkl), your brand may look unserious and unprofessional. The brand name itself will look grammatically controversial.

Hence, avoid unnecessary all-consonants/all-vowels names.

5. Relevance to Business

Your business name should be relevant to your business.

For instance, a business in agriculture shouldn’t have a name that makes it look like a business in education.

6. Meaningfulness

Your business name should be meaningful and make sense.

The notion that your brand name should assume whatever meaning your target audience gives it is counter-productive.

7. Name Length

How long or how short your business name is equally important.

You business name should not be too long for your potential customers to remember or type in the search bar of a search engine.

On the other hand, your business name should not be too short, so that it can adequately communicate your business’ uniqueness.

As a rule of thumb, your business name should not have more than 10 characters. If it will necessarily be longer, it shouldn’t be longer than 14 characters.

8. Name Mood

Your brand name should look serious or funny depending on your target audience.

A serious brand name will appeal to corporate clients better than a funny one will do.

9. Brand Story

Your business name should have an interesting brand story.

A brand name with a relevant brand story will endear your customers to your brand, turning them to your brand admirers.

10. Originality

Your business name should be original. That is, it should be unique to your business.

A business name is not original if it is unnecessarily too similar to that of another business.

11. Catchiness

Your business name should be able to attract the attention of your target audience.

12. Ear-friendliness

Make sure your business name is ear-friendly.

By that, I mean the name should not be harsh on the ear.

For instance, be careful how you use the consonants X, V and Z together in your business name.

13. Marketability

Your business name should effectively market and project your business.

For instance, if you’re settling on a descriptive name (more on this later), make sure the word(s) used are directly related to your business.

14. Communication

Make sure your business name effectively communicates what your business does, in a way that your target audience will interact with it.

15. Language

Your business name should be in the language that your target audience understands.

Is your target market local, national or international? Your target market must understand the language your business name is in.

16. Simplicity

Your business name should not be unnecessarily bogus, ambiguous or complex.

Effective business names are always simple. As we all know: simple is powerful.

17. Imagery

Your business name should create a positive mental image about your business in the minds of your prospective customers.

18. Trademarking

Your business name should be trademarkable.

No one else should have trademarked it. Using an already trademarked business name can get you sued by the owner.

19. Registration

Likewise, your business name should be registerable.

Also, no one else should have registered it. Using an already registered business name can get you sued by the owner.

20. Domain Name Availability

Ideally, your business name should also be your domain name, and the domain name should be available.

But if your ideal domain name isn’t available, just add another but relevant word to the domain name. This is most applicable where you have a one-word business name.

Having written about the basic qualities of an effective business name, I will now write about naming brief, which is the first practical stage in the development process of a business name.

How to Craft an Effective Naming Brief

The amount of details that end up in your naming brief largely depends on the nature of your naming project and what you the developed brand name to do for you.

For instance, a new startup that wants to disrupt a very competitive industry may need a more comprehensive naming brief than a local retail store.

However, below are the basic details that should be in your naming brief:

=> Write down your preferred name type

There are 4 basic name types:

Descriptive Name: It describes what your business does.

Experiential Name: It reveals the experience your business will give your potential clients.

Evocative Name: It evokes the desired emotions from your potential clients.

Invented Name: It attracts the attention of your potential clients to and make them curious about your business. It is a made-up name.

=> Write down your preferred name style

There are 3 basic name styles:

One-word Name (e.g. Google)

Compound Name (e.g. Pokémon Go)

Hybrid Name (e.g. Nightime)

=> Write down your preferred name mood

There are 3 basic name moods

Serious (e. g. Thinkony)

Funny (e.g. DuckDuckGo)

Fanciful (e.g. Forever21)

=> Write down the relevant keywords of your business

=> Write down the unique selling proposition (USP) of your business. Let it be a simple but complete sentence

=> Write down the categories of people that make up your target audience

=> Write down the names of your most important competitors

=> Write down the well-known brand names you love and the reason(s) you love them

=> Write down the words that best describe your business (most especially nouns and adjectives) based on the above details you have written down and studied

NOTE: The #1 purpose of your brand name is to work for your brand in terms of customer attraction, driving sales and brand recognition.

Hence, you should pen down words that have something to do with what your business does differently.

Now, let’s explain how to effectively brainstorm name candidates.

Brainstorming for Business Names

First thing to do during the brainstorming process is to check all the words you penned down in your naming brief in a dictionary.

Why do you need to check those words up in a dictionary? It is for 2 reasons:

  1. To know the definitions of those words and see which ones best reflect your business’ Unique Selling Point (USP).
  2. To discover more suitable words, from those definitions, and add them to the ones you checked up in the dictionary.

As you come across more suitable words in the definitions of the 1st set of words checked up in the dictionary, check them up as well.

You can write down as many words as possible and read their dictionary definitions to know which of them suit your business’ uniqueness best.

Then, you have to sift all the words to do away with less suitable words and retain the most suitable ones.

Next, you will have to run the most suitable words through the Thesaurus.

Why? You will need the synonyms of the words.

Write down as many relevant synonyms as possible.

Most of the everyday words have already been used in most descriptive business names.

That’s why synonyms, especially less popular synonyms, are most suitable for usage.

Hence, you should try and pen down synonyms that are not commonly used in everyday writing and conversation.

It is from the relevant and suitable common words and synonyms you have written down that you will create your business name candidates.

How do you turn some of the common words and synonyms into business name candidates?

Combine two common words creatively to form one word (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook)

Combine one common word with one synonym (e.g. YouTube, PayPal)

Combine one common word with one synonym creatively to form a hybrid name (e.g. Thinkony, Riderra)

Use a known but not too common word (e.g. Amazon, Stripe)

Create a made-up word from either common words or synonyms (e.g. Google, Venmo)

Combine just a letter—a vowel—from either a common word or a synonym with a common word (e.g. iPhone, oDesk)

Combine just a letter—a vowel—from a common word or a synonym with a synonym (e.g. eBay, eLance)

The kinds of creative names you can develop from the combinations of commonly used words and synonyms that best describe your business are endless.

Make use of your creativity here, and you will end up with a brand name that everyone would like to identify with.

NOTE: It is advisable you develop as many business name candidates as possible.

As expected, write down your business name candidates as you create them.

Now to the last stage of the name development process.

Testing and Choosing the Winning Business Name

Since you now have many business name candidates, it is time to choose the winning name.

How do you do that? It’s very simple.

Remember the basic qualities of effective business names we listed earlier in this guide? Good.

What you will now do is to test each of the name candidates you have developed against all the basic qualities.

That is, you should find out if each of the name candidates possesses all the basic qualities.

Based on the test, separate the name candidates that possess all the basic qualities from the ones that don’t.

It is from the name candidates that possess all the basic qualities that you will then choose the name that your business will bear.

Now, if you find it difficult to pick from the A-List name candidates, do the following simple but interesting exercises:

  1. Pronounce all the names aloud to your own ears. Which one sounds best?
  2. Say this loud: I’m the CEO of …(mention each of the names.) Which one will be proud and thrilled to be identified with most?
  3. Pretend as if you’re a prospective client of your own business and call each of the names aloud. Which one of them seems to get your attention most?
  4. Use each of the names in a spoken and written sentence. Which one of them sounds most outstanding when you read the sentence aloud?
  5. Get Thinkony Score for each of the A-List name candidates to automatically the most effective one among them.

With the above 5 exercises, you should easily pick the best name out of the best names—especially if you have a business team or partner.

Please, don’t put the A-List name candidates online for people to help you choose the best from them. It is very counter-productive.

With this ultimate guide, you should now be able to effectively name your new business, startup, product, etc.

Do you have questions for us on this article as regards applying it to your own business naming needs, please, ask them in the Comments below and we will answer them.

If you found this article helpful, please, don’t forget to share this article with other entrepreneurs who may need it.

Thanks for reading!


12 thoughts on “Ultimate Guide: How to Create a Brand Name That Will Work for You!”

    1. avatar

      Hi, thanks for finding our blog posts helpful and for looking forward to our future posts.

      We will carry on the excellent work. Thanks for your comment!

  1. Pingback: How to Create a Brand Name That Will Work for You! – Thinkony – News Blog

  2. avatar

    Howdy! I understand this iis kind of off-topic bbut I hadd to ask.
    Doess building a well-established blog like yours take a massive amount work?
    I’m completely new to running a blog however I do write in my journhal every day.
    I’d like to strt a blog soo I will be able to share my own experience and views online.
    Please let me know if you have any kind of suggestions or tips for brand
    new aspiring blog owners. Appreciate it!

    1. avatar

      Actually, it could be a massive amount of work if you:
      1. can’t code;
      2. don’t have the resources to hire a professional web developer;
      3. want a bespoke site that is built from the scratch;
      4. etc.

      However, with a content management software (CMS) like WordPress, the learning curve and the amount of needed work can be minimal.

      WordPress enables less tech-savvy individuals, first-time bloggers and beginner entrepreneurs to build functional, good-looking website. You can do this even if you lack the above-listed three qualities.

      But, you will still need to put in the work of actually building your WordPress site.

      For practical, comprehensive tutorials on how to build your blog/site with WordPress, we suggest you go here.

      Thanks for stopping by and let us know when you finally have your blog up and running.

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