Have you ever had to choose a name for a pet? How about a child? It’s an absolute minefield. You love it now, but will you feel the same in six months? Does it suit them? Could it mean something obscene in a foreign language? Does it sound too much like something else? Bad news – you’ll have most of the same issues when you choose a brand name. And while it’s pretty inconsequential whether anyone likes your tortoise named Alan, you need a brand name that your customers will remember – 80% of male and 76% of female customers prefer to purchase products from brands they recognise.

Whether you’re embarking on a brand-new venture or giving an established brand a fresh identity, comprehending the various categories of brand names and their respective benefits is a great first step.

Naming your brand after the founder

It’s not just a vanity project – many of the world’s most recognisable brands are named after the people who created them. This approach has plusses and minuses – it largely depends on the founder’s reputation, the brand’s goals, and the target audience.

Advantages:

  • Using the founder’s name can create a uniquely personal connection between the brand and its customers, making it more relatable.
  • If the founder is well-known and respected in their field, their name can lend trust and credibility to the brand.
  • Naming a brand after its founder can be a way to honour a legacy and vision while creating a sense of continuity and tradition.
  • It provides a ready-made story for the brand’s history and origin, which can be a compelling narrative for marketing and branding.

Disadvantages:

  • If the founder’s name is particularly unique, it may limit the brand’s potential for growth or expansion into new markets. It can be difficult to dissociate the brand from the individual. If the founder has a common name, it may be challenging for customers to differentiate the brand from others with similar names.
  • If the brand is named after the founder, it can raise questions about its future when the founder retires or is no longer involved. Planning for leadership transitions becomes crucial.
  • If the founder’s image or reputation suffers, it can negatively impact the brand.

Examples:

Ford: Founded by Henry Ford

Disney: Named after Walt Disney and his brother Roy O. Disney

McDonald’s: Named after Richard and Maurice McDonald, the original founders of the fast-food chain

Ben & Jerry’s: A nod to co-founders  Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield

Using a descriptive brand name

Descriptive brand names describe a company’s product, service, or purpose. This works really well for new or niche businesses that need to educate customers on their offerings.

Advantages

  • Descriptive names immediately convey what your business does or offers.
  • They’re great for online visibility as they often contain keywords relevant to your industry, which can boost your SEO efforts.
  • They tend to be straightforward and easy to remember.

Disadvantages

  • Descriptive names may be generic and lack distinctiveness, making it harder for your brand to stand out.
  • A descriptive name could become too narrow in focus if your business expands.
  • It can be harder to trademark descriptive names as they often describe common features of your industry.

Examples

  • American Express
  • Toys “R” Us
  • Pizza Hut
  • Pets at Home

Compound brand names

Compound names result from the fusion of two or more distinct words or parts of words to form a unique term. This combination of different linguistic components allows brands to craft novel names that aren’t already established as common terms – excellent for trademark purposes.

Advantages

  • Compound names can be distinctive and unique, making it easier for your brand to stand out.
  • They often provide flexibility and room for creativity, allowing you to expand without being tied to a specific industry.
  • Since compound names are often unique combinations, they may be easier to trademark and protect legally.

Disadvantages

  • While compound names can be unique, they should still convey some relevance to your business or industry.
  • Putting two words together can produce a tongue twister. Ensure that the name is easy to pronounce and spell.
  • The compound name should still align with your brand’s story, values, and mission.

Examples

  • Facebook: Combines “face” and “book” to suggest a network for connecting with people.
  • YouTube: Merges “you” and “tube” to emphasise user-generated video content.
  • Snapchat: Fuses “snap” and “chat” to highlight the ephemeral nature of its messaging.

After exploring the pros, cons, and examples of some of the most common brand name types, hopefully you have some ideas bubbling away. We’ve been helping to build brands for over 20 years and would love to help you on your journey.


Do you need help naming your brand?

If you would like to discuss your branding, logo or identity project, call us on 01295 266644 or complete the form.

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