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There’s no magical formula for creating a name that will launch your business to astronomical success. But NameStormers has spent 30 years honing and polishing our seven-step name development process, which means we’ve learned a few dos and don’ts. These days, we’re experts on the anatomy of a good name.

The first commandment of naming is to make it memorable. Your target cannot build preference for a brand that it struggles to recall, and that’s truer than ever in today’s whiplash-causing media landscape.

But memorability can feel like an elusive quality to attain. Fortunately, we have a few easy-to-follow tips to bring to your next brainstorming session.

Great Names Don’t Explain — They Insinuate

One of the easiest naming mistakes to make is using your name to explain the essence of your company or product. Explanatory names are too literal; they’re boring and not memorable.

A name doesn’t need to carry the weight of your brand identity on its own, so free it of that expectation from the start. Don’t stuff it full of information and expect it to have that effortless, catchy feel that great names possess. It should merely hint at what you have to offer, and everything else can be conveyed through your design, ad campaigns, tagline, and mission and values statement.

Example: Xanterra 

Park and resort management company Xanterra was previously called Amfac Parks & Resorts. Its name change was driven by a desire for a reputation overhaul, but also by a desire to come across as more modern and innovative. “Xan” conveys adventurousness, while “terra” (meaning earth) conveys vastness. The original company name was straightforward and descriptive, while the new name is suggestive and emotive.

Great Names Are Brief 

There are few exceptions to this rule: memorable names are brief. A company or product name should be no longer than 15 characters. Keep in mind not only the written length of the word, but also whether it sounds clunky when you say it aloud. Is there a pleasing cadence to it? Be mindful of words with more than three of four syllables, especially if you’re using more than one word.

Example: Puron

This environmentally friendly refrigerant needed a name that conveyed cleanliness, but it also needed to be concise to compete with Freon®, the product it hoped to replace.

Great Names Lend Themselves to a Comprehensive Naming Architecture 

Every brand needs to tell a story, and a single product or service can’t tell that story on its own. Products and services need to have a clear relationship with one another. One of the easiest ways to establish this relationship is to have a theme, however subtle, and a road map for naming new products and services that are added to the portfolio.

Examples: Cherubs

NatureSweet grape tomatoes needed a name that was short, fun, and distinctive. Cherubs was the perfect solution — it lent itself to the playful, celestial theme that NatureSweet then continued with its additional tomato varieties, including Glorys, Constellation, Twilights, Comets, and D’VINES.

Great Names Have Personality 

An incredible name isn’t shy. It commits. If you try to play it safe with your name by pleasing everybody, the result will be watered down. Great names aren’t outright offensive, but they don’t avoid controversy for fear of ruffling a few feathers. You may only get one chance to make an impression, one interaction with a prospective customer to lock them in.

Example: Angry Orchard

The word “orchard” on its own sounds somewhat poetic and romantic, but when it’s paired with “angry” you really get the feel of a hard cider. It brings to mind a punch of tartness without losing the suggestion of natural and fresh. The tone is a bit rebellious, yet sweet and palatable — which is exactly what a hard cider is.

Why Work with NameStormers? 

You could brainstorm your company or product name on your own, or you could put our expertise to work for you. While creating stellar name candidates is our bread and butter, our company naming process doesn’t start or end with that.

It starts with getting to know your company and what you’re looking to achieve. After we NameStorm candidates, we perform trademark screenings using tools that trademark lawyers use. We also do optional linguistic screening and check for domain and social media availability. Once we weed out the risky names, we pitch the names to you. If you don’t feel great about moving forward with any of the name candidates, we jump straight back to brainstorming and go through the process again for no additional fee.

As you can see, our process focuses not on merely getting the job done, but on ensuring that our clients leave excited to put one of our suggestions to use.

Contact us today to get started!


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One Comment

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