How to Name Your Brand
Choosing your brand name is never easy, but the power a great name can have is immeasurable. Here are four key traits to a powerful brand name, and a brand naming template for you to use!

The Power of a Brand Name


When we hear brand names like IKEA, Gucci, and Head & Shoulders, not only are we labeling the products, but those names instantly evoke in our minds certain characteristics we've associated with those brands. As soon as we hear a brand name, we know its attributes, its products, its prices, and its social status — and therein lies the power of a name.

So What’s in a Name?

A great brand name consists of four key traits: distinctive, authentic, memorable, and enduring. All of these qualities come together to resonate with the target audience and help a brand stand out. A great example is the well-known product, Durex.

  • Distinctive
    Durex is hard to get confused with its competitor, Trojan, or even other brands in its category, so distinction is established right there.
  • Authentic
    Many people may not be aware, but Durex is a combination of durability, reliability, and excellence. Their vision is to encourage individuals to take charge of their sexual health, and their mission is to spread a safer sex message. With that, they’re authentically representing themselves as a reliable and excellent choice when it comes to contraception.
  • Memorable
    Durex is easy to remember and it sounds an awful lot like durable. It’s also easy to find and search for, either online or in-store, because the spelling of Durex is intuitive.
  • Enduring
    In order for a name to be lasting, a brand needs to consider whether the name can withstand future changes like product line expansions. Durex is a great name because, as mentioned above, it’s authentic and rooted in the company's mission and vision. The name will never limit the brand’s strategic evolution as long as those evolutions stick to the vision and mission.


Finally, you want to make sure your brand name is absolutely defensible and legally sound. A good way to check is to look up a name you’ve selected here. Wouldn’t want to put in all the hard work just to find out someone else already has it!

On top of those four key traits, a great brand name has always been an opportunity for brands to make a promise to consumers about what they’ll receive, and it goes beyond the product. Let’s look at some examples.
  • Under Armour
    The name “Under Armour” leads many of us to think of toughness and protection — attributes you would want if you’re playing sports, especially competitively. The brand promises that if you choose Under Armour, their products will protect you and allow you to stay tough to keep playing.
  • Oracle
    Any fan of Greek/Roman mythology (even Percy Jackson!) knows what an oracle is. The oracle gives the seeker advice, guidance, even prophecy — and that’s exactly what this company does through database management.
  • CoPilot
    What’s the saying? Two heads are better than one? Whenever you’re working on something tough, you’d want your right hand man, your second-in-command. This health fitness app promises you just that. Not someone who’ll just tell you what to do, but a mentor who will co-pilot your flight to success.

The Brand Name Matrix

A brand name matrix is what we at Spectacle use when helping clients envision a name. To give some examples, here are where some of the world’s brands fit into the matrix.

A 3-by-3 naming matrix containing examples, with construct type on the y axis and meaning type on the x axis
Naming matrix with examples

This matrix can help you decide what type of meaning and construction your ideal brand name can have. For example, Lyft is a made up word but has a descriptive meaning, as it sounds identical to “lift”. While it may not be great for authenticity and endurability, in an industry that’s become saturated with competition, Lyft is distinctive and memorable, so it gets the job done.

Recap

Remember the four key traits — distinctive, authentic, memorable, enduring — and make sure your brand strategy is determining your brand name, not the other way around.

Use the brand name matrix as a reference when choosing what kind of name you want. Here is a downloadable blank template.


If you are starting or running a company and need help with your branding, don’t hesitate to contact Spectacle. Click here and reach out to start a conversation.

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