Tips for brainstorming better brand names

Choosing the right name is vital when it comes to your brand, products or services. Yet sometimes names are invented with less consideration than someone might take in naming a child. Like a child, your brand will be judged for the rest of its ‘life’ on the name. Strategically speaking it’s one of the most important and defining moments in a start up business, new product or service.

Great, Average or Terrible

There are three kinds of names businesses choose: great, average and terrible. A great name correctly positions your brand in the market and helps you stand out from competitors. Average names don’t really harm a brand but they don’t help either. They’re usually safe but forgettable, leaving the consumer with no clear idea of what the brand represents. A terrible name can actively harm the business; making it confusing for people to understand what you do, or making it appear you stand for something that doesn’t match with their values.

So where should you look for inspiration for your brand name? You can start by brainstorming relevant keywords in these categories: technical (words relating to the job, service, technique), emotional (feelings associated with the product/service), industrial (words related to your industry), and differential (your points of difference). Now take the keywords and see how they can inspire different name types.

Most name types fall into four categories: literal, invented, experimental and evocative.

Literal Names

Literal names are good for when you want people to quickly and easily work out what you do. These are very handy if you’re rebranding due to the market misunderstanding what you offer. The two dangers in literal names are availability and the risk of choosing something that leaves your business in the ‘average’ name category.

Invented and Experimental Names

Invented and experimental names on the other hand are more likely to be available to trademark and register. These names can take the form of a portmanteau or a part of a recognisable word combined with a different prefix or suffix. They may be a foreign word or a completely made up word. These kinds of names can help the business stand out from the competition and convey brand personality. If you’re in a business for the long-term, just try to avoid invented names that are faddish (remember Vegemite 2.0?) or hard to pronounce or spell.

Evocative Names

Evocative names should conjure an emotional feeling that’s related to the experience of using the business, product or service. These are great for brands that want to make an emotional connection with the target market. Evocative names are also helpful for inspiring impulse purchasing. The experts at Viabrand recommend when choosing an evocative name, that you avoid using language and emotions that may have negative connotations for your target market.


Naming a brand well takes time, research, strategy and insight. If you’d like professional naming services for your brand, get in touch on our contact page or (07) 3180 1416.

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