How to Create a Great Brand Name

"What's a good name for my new AC station?"

That's the wrong question.  And it is likely to yield a less than optimal answer.

So what are the right questions to ask when brewing a new brand name?

Here are some.

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  • The advice is spot on Mark. But I’d advise folks to understand that there are no hard and fast rules (beyond legal considerations). What’s most important is the heart, soul, value and meaning that you pour into your name.
    The White House is generic and descriptive. So is Five Guys Burgers and Fries. What attracts attention is integrity of purpose and imaginative vision.
    Yes, choose an expressive, evocative name. But dammit, then live that passion!

  • Joshua Payton

    Good post. My only comment would be that there is a very real distinction to be made between naming (i.e., trademarks that identify the source of a good or service) and branding (building an emotional connection between a company and its customers.) To the extent this post clearly relates to the latter, it’s great.
    As for choosing the right trade name, descriptive names represent a different category of ideas. For example, “The Table Store” describes what the business offers. Suggestive marks tend to be more fanciful, but still have descriptive qualities. This can mean a lot to your business. For example, H&R Block spends a lot of money teaching people what their business does every year. EconoTax, by comparison, doesn’t have this issue insofar as its name is pretty suggestive of what it does. This gives EconoTax a competitive advantage over HRBlock in this one respect.
    So, what I take from your post is that suggestive, arbitrary and fanciful trade names are often more effective at evoking an emotional response, whereas generally descriptive names offer less opportunities to build your brand. Which company’s name resonates more in the mind (and heart): Mobile Broadcast Solutions (an hypothetical SMS based marketing company I’ve just made up off the top of my head) or HipCricket (a real SMS based marketing service with a name that’s fanciful, but hardly arbitrary. In fact, it’s highly suggestive and evokes a strong emotional response.)
    What makes good business sense for your trademark/name may not always make good sense for purposes of building a brand. Balance is key.

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