A phone with a brain and a pen, perfect for brainstorming brand names or refining existing ones.

At Viabrand we have noticed an exciting trend developing during the Coronavirus crisis: a lot of new brands are emerging.

Like phoenixes from the flames, these new brands are often born amid tragedy. It has been tough to see the challenges to businesses. So, the emergence of these new brands is giving us hope and belief in positive action and people’s ability to evolve in wonderful ways.

If you’re one of those starting a new venture or refining an existing one, you may have been struggling with what to name your brand. Choosing the right name is vital when it comes to any brand, product or service. Yet in the current climate it may be something that is being rushed into, with less consideration than someone might take in naming a child. Like a child, your brand will be judged forever on its name, as it is an important part of the first impression people will have of the business. Strategically speaking it’s one of the brand’s most important and defining moments.

brand names

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. It could make it confusing for people to understand what you do, or make it appear you stand for something that doesn’t match with your 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 (that which makes you different to your competitors). 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.

brand names

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. Viabrand’s Director and Strategist Jho Alzamora says, “If you are going to choose an evocative name, avoid using language and emotions that may have negative associations for your ideal customers.”

Content Strategist Kiesten McCauley adds, “When you settle on a few name ideas, put them to these stress tests to ensure they are available for use. Are they easy to pronounce, easy to Google – spelled how they sound – and importantly, easy to remember? Do the names you like fit the brand personality? If any are a ‘no’, you need to rule them out, no matter how much you like them.”

Jho agrees, “Yes, it can be heartbreaking when you think of a great name and it doesn’t pass the stress test. It happens to us a lot when we are developing names for brands, but it is important for your success, to keep inventing names until you find the right one that passes these tests.”

Naming a brand well takes time, research, strategy and insight. If you’d like professional naming services for your brand, book your FREE 15 minute call session below: