What’s in a Brand Name?

A word or set of words by which a service, product, person, idea, animal, place or thing is known, addressed, or referred to; tag, label, leader, moniker, title, style, epithet, reputation, character, identity, expert, leading light, authority, standing, stature, luminary, prestige, expert, megastar, guru, distinction, cachet, kudos, renown, bigwig, VIP, big shot, popularity, entitle, notability, designation, honourific, celebrity, big name, repute, superstar, appellation, term, esteem, denomination.

When it comes to brands, the name is one of the most important elements of its proposition. A name is often the first act of public branding and helps establish the tone for a product, service, or company.

It acts as the primary foundation for a brand. It’s a recall and recognition device, it communicates desired attributes or specific benefits and, through time and consistent use, it becomes a valuable asset and piece of intellectual property.

Name Guidelines:

The basic tenets for decision making on a name are to set clear and consistent objectives and criteria for the selection and to be unwavering in bench marking potential names by those criteria.

The criteria for final selection should never be one of ‘like/dislike’ among-st the management team, but of a name that fulfills the following objective and market-driven criteria:

  • Fit with the brand proposition
  • Relevant for all target audiences
  • Distinctive, unique and memorable
  • Future-proofed for the life of the brand
  • Linguistically acceptable and appropriate
  • Easy to spell and pronounce
  • Registrant and protect-able as a trademark and URL
  • Approval by the requisite regulatory authorities

Ultimately, a brand is about adding value. The development and selection of a name should be considered in the same terms. Being a familiar name takes you miles closer to closing a sale. It needs to be memorable to become familiar. People like to buy from companies they’ve heard of. They make decisions, rational and irrational, based on emotional connections.


  • Don’t treat your naming process as an afterthought
  • Don’t forget naming is as strategic as it is creative
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of a good creative brief
  • Don’t confuse the need for information with the need for differentiation
  • Don’t overlook complex trademark issues
  • Don’t ignore global implications through linguistic translations or cultural disasters
  • Don’t choose names subjectively
  • Don’t use names that are no longer relevant
  • Don’t use superlatives — they often become over used, abused and dated