How to create a brand name: A comprehensive guide

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Marcelo Smith

Brand Designer

Marcelo Smith is a brand designer, content creator, and founder of Fun Studio, a brand design agency that helps businesses build powerful brands that stand out and connect with their audience.

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Table of Contents

A woman holding a pen and notebook thinking of a brand name.
A woman holding a pen and notebook thinking of a brand name.

Table of Contents

Did you know that 77% of consumers make purchases based on brand names they recognize? Imagine the impact that could have on your business! Your brand name is the first impression you make, setting the tone for your entire brand identity. It’s the word (or words) that will be associated with your products, services, and values for years to come.

However, choosing the perfect brand name can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It needs to be catchy, memorable, and reflect everything you stand for. It also has to be unique enough to avoid confusion and legally available for trademarking.

This comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge and steps you need to navigate the exciting, yet sometimes challenging, process of creating a brand name that’s both memorable and impactful.

Understanding Your Brand

understanding brand
Image via Canva stock photo

Before diving headfirst into brainstorming names, it’s crucial to solidify your brand’s core identity. Think of it as building a house—you wouldn’t start with the roof, would you? A strong foundation is essential for a successful brand, and your brand name is a cornerstone of that foundation.

Here’s a breakdown of the key steps to take:

Define Your Brand's Values and Mission

What are the core principles that guide your business? What positive impact do you want to make on your customers and the world? Is it innovation, sustainability, exceptional customer service, or something else entirely?

Clearly define your values and mission statement; these will be your guiding light throughout the naming process.

Identify Your Target Audience and Their Needs

Who are you trying to reach with your brand? Understanding your ideal customer’s demographics, needs, and aspirations is vital. What problems do they face? What are their values?

By knowing your target audience inside-out, you can choose a name that resonates with them and effectively communicates how your brand can solve their problems.

Choosing a Brand Name Style

Image via Shuttershock

Once you have a firm grasp on your brand identity, you can explore different naming styles to find the perfect fit. Here are some popular approaches:

Descriptive

These names are clear and to the point, leaving no doubt about the products or services offered. Examples include “Clean Slate Cleaning” or “Tech wiz Repair.” While effective, descriptive names can lack creativity and may be crowded in competitive markets.

Evocative

These names use suggestions and imagery to create a feeling or association with your brand. Think “Soar Marketing,” which evokes a sense of growth and achievement. Evocative names can be more memorable and stand out from the crowd, but they may require additional marketing effort to establish a clear brand identity.

Invented/Abstract

This approach involves creating entirely new words or uniquely using existing words. Think of giants like “Kodak” or “Xerox.” Invented names can be highly memorable and unique, but they may also take longer for customers to grasp the brand’s purpose.

Founder's Name

This classic approach uses the name of the founder or a key figure in the brand’s creation. Examples include “Ford” or “Ben & Jerry’s.” Founder’s names can build trust and instant brand recognition, but they may not always scale well or effectively communicate the brand’s offerings.

Brainstorming Brand Names

Choosing the perfect brand name is like finding a hidden gem – it requires a bit of digging and a whole lot of creativity.

Here’s a comprehensive toolkit to spark your imagination and generate a treasure trove of potential names for your brand:

brainstorming
Image via Freepik.com

1. Word Association

This classic brainstorming technique delves into your subconscious, pulling out a wealth of potential names. Here’s how to unlock its power:
  • Know Your Brand: Start by defining your brand’s core values, mission statement, and the key benefits you offer to your target audience. Write these down to serve as a guiding light.
  • Mind Map Magic: Create a visual map or list. For each brand element (values, target audience needs), brainstorm any words that come to mind. Don’t limit yourself to the obvious – synonyms, antonyms, and metaphorical connections are all fair game!
  • Expand Your Horizons: The more words you generate, the better. Don’t be afraid to get a little quirky or explore unexpected avenues. You might discover a hidden gem that perfectly captures your brand essence.

Example:
  • Brand: Fitness App for Busy Professionals
  • Words: Time-efficient, convenient, healthy, energy, quick, results, on-the-go, motivated, fit, lifestyle

2. Rhyme and Alliteration

Names with rhyme or alliteration have a natural rhythm and flow that makes them easier to remember and stand out. Consider these approaches:
  • Rhyming: Think names like “Peak Performance” or “Swift Sleep.” Rhyming creates a sense of fun and memorability.
  • Alliteration: Consider names like “Dynamic Fitness” or “Streamlined Style.” Alliteration offers a strong, impactful feel.

3. Online Tools

The internet is brimming with online brand name generators waiting to ignite your creativity. These tools offer a variety of features:
  • Keyword Combinations: Enter keywords related to your brand and the tool will generate name combinations based on them.
  • Domain Name Availability: Some tools check for domain name availability in real-time, ensuring your chosen name translates into a seamless online presence.
  • Style Exploration: Many tools let you choose the desired naming style (descriptive, evocative, etc.) and generate names that fit that category.

Popular Online Brand Name Generators


Bonus Tip: Keep a notebook or digital document handy to capture your brainstormed name ideas as they come to you. Don’t be afraid to jot down even seemingly random words—sometimes the most unexpected ideas lead to the perfect brand name! After all, the hidden gem might be just one brainstorm away.

How AI Can Help When Brainstorming Names?

AI can be a powerful tool to assist you in brainstorming brand names. Here are some key ways it can help:

chat ai
Image via Canva stock photo

Generate a wider range of ideas

AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data, including existing brand names, industry trends, and consumer preferences. This allows them to generate a wider variety of names than you might come up with on your own, potentially sparking unexpected and creative options.

Identify unique and available names

AI can check for trademark availability in real-time, saving you time and frustration. Additionally, it can suggest names that are unique and unlikely to be confused with existing brands.

Explore different naming styles

Whether you’re looking for a descriptive, evocative, or invented name, AI tools can suggest options that fit your desired style. This can be particularly helpful if you’re unsure which direction to take.

Provide insights and analysis

Some AI-powered brainstorming tools can offer data-driven insights into your generated name ideas. This might include information on readability, memorability, and potential cultural connotations in different languages.

Here are some examples of how AI can be used in brainstorming brand names:

  • You can enter keywords related to your brand and target audience into an AI name generator. The tool will then use these keywords to suggest a variety of names.
  • You can specify the desired length and style of your name (e.g., short, descriptive, alliteration).
  • You can upload a list of your own brainstormed names and have the AI analyze them for factors like memorability and uniqueness.

However, it’s important to remember that AI is a tool, not a replacement for human creativity. The best approach is to use AI to spark ideas and then refine them based on your own brand identity and target audience.

Refining Your Brand Name Choices

After all your brainstorming efforts, you’ve likely generated a list of potential brand names. Now comes the crucial step of refining your choices and selecting the one that truly shines. To ensure you pick a winner,  utilize the following “Brand Name Checklist“:

checklist
Image via Freepik.com

The Brand Name Checklist

This checklist will help you objectively evaluate each name and ensure it possesses the key qualities for brand name success:
  • Memorable: This is a non-negotiable. Your brand name should be easy to recall and pronounce. Aim for a name that sticks in people’s minds after just one or two encounters.
  • Meaningful: Does the name connect with your brand’s values and resonate with your target audience? The ideal name should not only sound good but also evoke the right emotions and associations.
  • Unique: Standing out from the crowd is crucial. Conduct a thorough trademark search to ensure your chosen name isn’t already claimed. Remember, a unique name doesn’t have to be completely invented – a clever combination of existing words can also work wonders.
  • Usable: Consider how the name will function across different platforms. Can you secure a matching website domain and social media handles? Will it look good on packaging and marketing materials?
  • Future-proof: Avoid trendy names that might become outdated quickly. Choose a name that has staying power and can grow with your brand as it evolves.

Here’s how to utilize the checklist:
  • Stack Ranking: Rate each name on a scale of 1-5 for each criterion on the checklist.
  • Cut the Fat: Eliminate any names that score poorly in multiple categories.
  • Group Discussion: Gather trusted individuals for feedback on your remaining top contenders.
  • Gut Feeling: Ultimately, the name should resonate with you. Trust your intuition and choose the one that feels most right for your brand.

By following these steps and referencing the Brand Name Checklist, you’ll be able to refine your list and confidently select a brand name that is both strategic and inspiring.

Testing and Finalizing Your Brand Name

You’ve narrowed down your options to a select few – fantastic! Now it’s time to gather external feedback and ensure your chosen name resonates with the real world before making it official. Here are the final steps to take:

Gathering Feedback

  • Trusted Individuals: Share your top contenders with a trusted group of individuals, such as friends, family, colleagues, or potential customers. Ask for their honest opinions on memorability, meaning, and overall brand fit.
  • Online Surveys/Polls: Consider conducting online surveys or polls to gauge a wider audience’s reception to your shortlisted names. This can be a great way to gather feedback from potential customers and gain valuable insights.

Final Checks

Trademark and Domain Name Availability: Before you get too attached to your final choice, conduct a final trademark search to ensure the name is legally available. Additionally, check for domain name availability – you want to secure a web address that matches your brand name for a seamless online presence. Once you’ve gathered feedback and completed your final checks, it’s time to make the ultimate decision. Consider all the information you’ve collected: internal feedback, survey results, trademark availability, and your own gut feeling. Choose the name that stands out as the most memorable, meaningful, and representative of your brand’s essence.

Conclusion: The Power is in Your Name

Crafting a strong brand name is an essential step in building a successful and recognizable business. This guide has equipped you with the knowledge and tools you need to navigate the exciting process of creating a name that is both memorable and meaningful. Here’s a quick recap of the key takeaways:
  • Solidify your brand identity: Understanding your brand’s core values and target audience is the foundation for a powerful name.
  • Brainstorm creatively: Utilize word association, explore rhyme and alliteration, and leverage online tools to generate a wealth of name ideas.
  • Refine with purpose: Apply the Brand Name Checklist (memorable, meaningful, unique, usable, future-proof) to narrow down your options.
  • Gather feedback: Get honest opinions from trusted individuals and conduct online surveys to gauge audience reception.
  • Trust your gut: Ultimately, choose the name that resonates most strongly with you and best represents your brand essence.
Remember, the perfect brand name might not strike you like lightning. Give your top contenders some time to grow on you, and trust your gut feeling when making the final decision.

Ready to take your brand to the next level?

At Fun Studio, we’re a brand design agency on a mission to make your brand soar. We specialize in crafting unique brand identities that turn potential buyers into loyal customers. Our collaborative approach ensures your brand shines through, and our streamlined process makes working with us a breeze, no matter your location.

Let’s connect today! Contact Fun Studio to learn more about how we can elevate your business and help you create the best brand for your business.

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