8 Types of Brand Names & How To Brainstorm Your Own

Insights / Branding

Words can be a pain sometimes. Trust me, a copywriter.

It’s no surprise that coming up with a name for your new brand / business can cause headaches unlike any other. Maybe you’ve been staring at the dictionary for days, paired on the side with a browser history flooded with searches for definitions and synonyms.  

If you’d like a guide on the steps to take in brainstorming your own brand name from scratch, you can refer to this article here for the walkthrough of the process. In this article, we’re going to focus more on the different types of brand names and see how we can draw inspiration from them!

What Should I Look For In A Brand Name?

The general rule of thumb that most brands adhere to is to have a brand name that is easy to spell and to pronounce. Aside from the creative aspect, having a simpler name makes it easier for audiences to remember, as compared to something that’s difficult to read and spell. Your brand’s name should also serve to convey meaning. It should somehow represent / reflect the nature of your brand, its mission & vision, as well as its values and what customers want from it.

8 Types of Names

There are countless possibilities when it comes to playing up words, so much so that it may get a little overwhelming. Hence, we’ve simplified 8 different types of brand naming conventions that can help jog our creativity!

1. Made From Scratch

Are you in an emerging market? Do you want to set yourself apart from your competitors? Inventing a brand new word to identify your new brand would certainly help in doing that! Going with this method will require lots of creativity and idea exploration, but if done correctly, it can put your brand in the history books. Think about words like “Google” or “trampoline” which are now a part of mundane everyday conversations. Yup, those are / were brand names! 

You can try this out for yourself by first compiling existing words that relate to your brand. Then, play around with the spelling, sounds and structure of the words to see what you end up with.

2. Mix & Match

Names in this category could also be considered as being made up, as mixing & matching essentially combines 2 or more existing words into one (also called a “portmanteau”). Some famous examples of this would be Instagram or GrabFood. Again, this process begins with compiling a bunch of words that relate to or represent your brand and then putting different combinations of those words together.

3. Figuratively Speaking

Here’s where you’re allowed to be a little more in-depth with the meaning and essence behind your brand. A figurative or metaphorical brand name would often be a connotation of the true value of the brand to the customers. For instance, an online dating app with the name “Tinder” would imply to consumers that using it would lead them to spark a fiery connection and relationship with someone else. 

This form of brand naming would make room for a more evocative association in your consumers’ minds, as they would be reminded of the meaning behind your name every time they come across it. In utilizing this, it is critical to ensure that your brand’s values come across as intended in order to achieve full effectiveness. Additionally, it’s a simple and cool way to showcase your brand’s creativity!

4. A.B.B.R.E.V.I.A.T.E.D.

Abbreviated brand names are simply that - abbreviated! Essentially, it's when a short phrase is condensed down into just the words’ initials (first letters). Some examples of this would be the LG, which stands for “Life’s Good”, and the ever-famous KFC, whose acronym spells out “Kentucky Fried Chicken”. 

However, it is important to consider that you might lose out on being able to communicate with consumers what your business is about on a first impression basis. Hence, it would be advisable to choose your abbreviated “word” wisely and not have a random jumble of alphabets thrown together. Take inspiration from the fictional organization of S.H.I.E.L.D. from Marvel’s comic and cinematic universe. The acronym stands for "Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division" but the shortened form of the phrase also effectively communicates its purpose of protecting society from paranormal and superhuman threats.

5. Straight To The Point

Sometimes, the best way to communicate something is to get straight to the point, and that can apply to brand names as well. If you think this type of naming would suit your brand or industry, think about what your top-priority message to consumers is. Does your brand offer the best deals on specified goods? “Best Buy” instantly triggers that association for consumers. Are you offering burgers that are built to perfection? “myBurgerLab” lets consumers know that right off the bat. 

The key to this would be transparency! Find your brand’s honest specialty and capitalize on that by letting consumers know through your brand name. Once you’ve discovered what that is, strike a balance and carefully select powerful words that show how you’re able to perform as a leader in your industry.

6. Your Name. My Name. Anybody’s Name!

Gucci, Cartier, Hermes. You know them as brands, but these big names actually originated from the families who founded them. If you think your name or family name has a nice ring to it, then it could be a possible option for your brand, but do consider whether or not the name is able to capture the essence or persona that your brand is trying to put forth. Be sure to ask for third party feedback though, as there might be slight bias involved where your own family name is concerned!

7. Foreign Language (Or What Sounds Like It)

Language is a beautiful thing and there are so many of them to draw ideas and references from. Häagen-Dazs, an ice cream company founded in New York, is a prime example of this working out relatively well. The Danish-sounding name doesn’t mean anything in particular, but was conjured out of nothing by Reuben Mattus to convey the perception of providing quality dairy products from Denmark.

However, I would advise treading carefully on this path so as not to offend any particular nationality. Stay on brand with what you offer as a brand, and if using a foreign language to further magnify the essence of your brand seems appropriate, then by all means!

8. As Random As Can Be

We can all probably think of a brand’s name that has absolutely nothing to do with the products or services they sell (i.e. you don’t see Steve Jobs clad in a dungaree trying to sell apples), and that might sometimes work! This type of name has no (obvious) meaning behind it and does not have any fixed method of ideation. It may come off as nonsensical, but if it floats, kudos to you!

There are so many possibilities for you to explore when coming up with a name for your brand, so don’t be afraid to test the waters! But if you think you’ll need additional help with that, engage with a branding agency and kickstart your brand pronto!

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