How To Choose A Unique Brand Name For Your Business, Product Or Service

by 45 Comments

Business Startup FAQs [2]

How Do You Choose A Unique Brand Name?

This is another unusual article under the business mastery series. In a previous article, I listed out 10 Business Startup FAQs that most entrepreneurs often ask when starting out in business. Here are the questions again below.

I have answered question 1 – 3 in the first article, you can read about it here; How should entrepreneurs successfully start up a new business? I will be providing the answer to the fourth question; “How do I choose a name for my business?” in this unusual article.

  1. What kind of business should I go into?
  2. How Should I start; small or big?
  3. How Should I fund my business; use my own money or get external funding?
  4. How do I choose a name for my business?
  5. How do I differentiate my company from other competitions?
  6. What do I need for marketing my new business?
  7. Do I need to have a business plan or not?
  8. Do I need to have an office space or not?
  9. Do I need to hire employees or not?
  10. How do I price my products/services?

 

 How Do I Choose A Brand Name For My Business?

When it comes to choosing a name for your business; here are the 3 essential principles you need to obey.

1. Functionality

2. Memorability

3. Simplicity

Let’s look at each one of these principles more closely.

Functionality

This describes the nature of your business by its name. When you name your business based on the intended function it will carry out, you are naming your business base on functionality.

Functionality works very well for branding, as the name already speaks for itself. You don’t need too much talking to explain what your business is about. The name does it for you.

Examples of functional brand names are;

naijapreneur

Facebook

Soundcity

YouTube

Problogger

Copyblogger

Inc.

Microsoft

International Business Machines [IBM]

Cable News Network [CNN]

Hotmail

WashaWash

Burger King

Garment Care

Chicken Republic

WordPress

Starcomms

General Electric [GE]

United Parcel Services [UPS]

TechCrunch

Rich Dad

MTV Base –Music Tv

Fortune

The major advantage of choosing a functional brand name for your business, product or service is its self-descriptive nature. I like this approach to choosing a brand name because of its ability to save you time trying to explain your business, product or service.

 

The name is the business, the business is the name.

No confusion whatsoever. There’s a clear communication of what you’re into once the customer comes in contact with your business, product or service. It doesn’t matter whether you or any of your people are there to explain to them or not. The brand name does the whole talking. Isn’t that what you want?

Memorability

The central objective of this second approach to choosing a brand name for your business, product or service is stickiness. You want your brand name to stick in people’s mind. You want to be remembered. This is a deliberate and creative combination of words. What is popularly known as coined words.  You want a brand name that will attract attention, stir up the curiosity and interest of your target market.

This can be said to be the opposite of choosing a brand name base on functionality. Because in this case, what you are seeking to achieve is not ‘self-description’ of what your business, product or service is about. But rather, you are seeking to achieve ‘self-imagination’ of what your business, product or service is about.

With functional brand names, you make the task of understanding what your business, product or service does easier for the target market. With memorable brand names, you make the task of understanding what your business, product or service does interesting for the target market.

With functional brand names, you don’t engage the customer’s curiosity because the name says it all. You don’t stir up their interest for what you are selling. But with memorable brand names, you have their attention because they are involved in the process of imagining what in the world your business, product or service is about.

This is where the catch is; you want them thinking. The more time they spend thinking about your brand name, the more sticky your brand name gets in their mind. Your goal is to imprint your brand name in their memory. You want them to easily remember your business, product or service. The more unusual they seem, the more memorable they are.

Examples include;

MADphilips

Google

Sony

Yahoo!

Motorola

Accenture

Kodak

Damog

Twitter

Zappos

Adidas

Mixergy

Vodacom

Chevron

Coca-Cola

Pixar

Generis

Xerox

Pepsi

Squidoo

Kadozky

Verizon

Pinterest

Nokia

Acer

Jegary

Texaco

Wikipedia

The major advantage of choosing a memorable brand name is its uniqueness. Nothing differentiates a business, product or service better than a brand name that’s uniquely yours. When no other company has used your business name before, it helps to really enhance your brand identity. You distinctively stand out from the crowd in your niche or industry. You can weave a compelling story around that uniqueness.

The downside to choosing a memorable brand name is that it requires more talking and that means more marketing. The more unusual the brand name, the more curiosity it stirs and the more communication [marketing] required.

That is; people quickly remember your brand name, but for what? This unanswered question is the gap marketing fills. You need to be consistent in your marketing to give your sticky brand name a meaning. You don’t want people to just remember your memorable brand name without associating it to something meaningful.

Successful brands don’t just carry sticky or memorable names, they also carry specific meanings. Successful brands are living entities. People know what they represent; they know what to expect every time from them. So, besides choosing a memorable brand name, you’ve also got to put a meaning behind it.

In the end, it is not enough to be memorable; your choice of brand name has to convey a meaning. And this doesn’t happen automatically, it is a deliberate and consistent marketing effort.

Simplicity

The third approach to choosing a brand name for your business, product or service is simplicity. After all is said and done, you don’t want to have a brand name that’s difficult to pronounce and spell. You really don’t want people biting off their tongues in an attempt to pronounce your brand name. The more complex it is, the more easily forgettable it becomes.

So whether it is a functional brand name or a memorable one you choose, just make sure it’s both simple to spell and pronounce. Simplicity is the underlying principle that ties up other two approaches of choosing a brand name.

It doesn’t matter which of the two you decide to choose. But it does matter that any brand name you come up with be simple. This is overly important. People don’t remember long or complex brand names. This is one of the reasons you find some brand names as acronyms. It’s because they need to keep it short and simple.

Here’s the simple rule of thumb; if your brand name will make people twist their tongues or squeeze their face, drop it!

Examples are;

Newchild

Apple

Virgin

Amazon

Hp

Dell

Ford

Nike

Fedex

ebay

Shell

Starbucks

BlackBerry

Forbes

Conclusion

If you are just starting out in business or working on a product or service, let your brand name be;

Descriptive                         -              [functional]

Sticky                                    -              [memorable]

Short                                     -              [simple]

Your turn

As entrepreneurs, we are always coming up with ideas that end up as new businesses, products or services. What other principles besides those mentioned in this unusual article do you follow when coming up with brand names?

Share your comments in the section below.

ONE LAST THING!

There are a million and one unusual entrepreneurs out there in your network, this site was built strictly for them. Help spread the word if you have been blessed by this unusual article. Please retweet on Twitter, share on Facebook, Linkedin, google+ and forward via email.

email

Comments

  1. johnavery says:

    there are two ways u stun me in this blog tito one is bringing in ample amount of a content to the simplest of things and next is bringing in ample amount of simple things that many would fail to notice for the content. this article is of the second type, how did u manage to bring these many example!!!

  2. Recently I registered my second company and had to chose the name but instead of previous time I started with checking available domain names. I collected many short and simple names that would make sense or would be easy to spell and memorize and then checked domain names.
    Once I find free domain name I went to register my company, so I can have a email @ my-company-name.com

  3. Great one Tito! Will definitely use these tips for my next project. Thanks a lot!

  4. Mobile Broadband blogger says:

    Having a Unique name from you product will great a mark in the industry, because some of us remember the name of the product not the industry of the product.

  5. I am trying to come up with an idea (its how I found your site) and have no idea what to choose. I have two websites and would like to think of something that wraps around the two. All I could think of was “Jenny’s ‘something’ or other” Very boring…

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Want to be a little bit more specific here about the idea behind the two websites? If you don’t feel comfortable talking about this publicly on the site, shot me an email tito (at) MADphilips dot com

      Ok? And will be sure to help you out on this. Looking forward to your mail or reply!

      • Hi Tito,

        Thank you so much! I don’t mind disclosing my two websites at all, especially if you have suggestions! I used my second site for this comment.

        My two sites are on natural remedies and natural anxiety techniques. Both focus on natural health. There are so many ‘natural remedy’ sites…I would love to think of something, like you said, that is simple and memorable. (I do have a few other sites too, all on natural healing…but these are my main ones. One is on allergies for example.)

        If I had my time over again, I would just have one!

        Once again, thank you for asking and offering your help.

        • Ok Jenny,

          Let’s define the direction to follow here. What do you want now? Here are a few questions to clarify the direction we need to follow;

          1. Do you want a brand name that will simply encapsulate all your solutions on natural health and then have them all on one website with the new brand name?

          2. Or do you want to have a general company name that will house all your different natural health websites? Meaning, you are going to be called so and so company which produces so and so natural health solutions. With each natural health website being these two you mentioned?

          3. Simply speaking, do you want to rename your existing sites or you want to rename your brand as a company?

          Your answers will set the direction of our thoughts and help to clarify what my suggestions would be.

          • Tito…now you know where my head is at…and the questions running around inside it!

            Both the directions you suggested, the cloud company, or setting up a new website, has crossed my mind. Since the last update my sites have dropped, so building a new site has been a consideration these last few weeks.

            I haven’t answered your question at all.

            Are there simple advantages of either?

          • Jenny,

            Now I feel your frustration!

            There are always Pros and Cons of either strategy you choose. But the most rewarding strategy would be to have a cloud company that will be known for providing diverse natural health solutions. That way you can be sure you are BUILDING rather than just DOING business.

            Take my company for example; MADphilips is the name of the company and our business is the development of People, Business and Life. To promote our company online, we couldn’t just have a single website where we would talk about all three main focus of our business. So what did we do?

            We created individual websites to promote the 3 main focus of the company.

            PEOPLE – http://www.UniteNigeria.com
            BUSINESS – http://www.naijapreneur.com
            LIFE – http://www.ilive4change.com

            Each of these websites are like our branded products in the market. It doesn’t mean we can’t have more, but all must revolve around people, business and life.

            The advantage of this branded company approach is that it allows your customers to know what your business stands for. You don’t just have several websites scattered here and there without a parent company that strategically defines the role they all play in the life of the customer.

            Another company following this approach is Copyblogger Media http://www.Copyblogger.com there business is internet or content marketing and they have broken the different aspects of this into different products/services with each individual site.

            TRAFFIC – http://www.scribeseo.com
            DESIGN – http://www.studiopress.com
            CONVERSION – http://www.getpremise.com
            TRAINING – http://www.teachingsells.com
            etc.

            You get the point?

            Create one Company that does several things for the customer. This is how to build a branded business.

  6. I like it! Now to think of a name…and build another website to show my brand! You have got me really excited, whereas before I was just feeling really overwhelmed by it all.

    Thank you so much Tito for taking the time and effort. You have helped me so much…I don’t suppose you have an idea for a name? :)

    (I know I am being cheeky…but you may have thought of one!)

    • Medicines Naturally …you nailed it all ready!

      • LOL…It had crossed my mind. I only have one reservation. When I registered that domain name 4 years ago, I didn’t realize many people saw the word ‘medicine’ as spammy. At the time I was trying to think of a domain name for ‘alternative medicines’.

        Do you really think it could work?

        • For starters Jenny, it doesn’t mean what people think about the word medicine as spammy. A brand name is what you make of it and not what people think. Take my brand name MADphilips for example. Isn’t the word MAD rather offsetting? But over the years, contrary to popular opinion many of my customers now boldly declare it having witnessed the brand in action.

          You can choose to call your company whatever you like as long as it resonates with you and you can defend it any day any time. It is what you make of it that will eventually stick in the mind of your target customers.

          That said, if you still don’t feel comfortable with this name, there’s no problem. I am not going to promise you any name for now, but keep thinking and I will see what we can come up with. Bear in mind, it is very likely I will still ask you some more questions for clarity!

          • Thank you again Tito! They were my thoughts too…but I always wondered about “the committee of they” and if my thoughts, would not be “right” for the masses.

            Now, onwards and upwards!

          • So Jenny, what’s it gonna be now?

            Sticking with it or still thinking of a new brand name?

            Oh and one more question, are your natural medicines for specific sicknesses? If yes, what are those sicknesses that your natural medicines can cure? And what are your plans for the future, to stick to these ones or keep expanding it more sicknesses that can be naturally cured?

            Clarity breeds uniqueness + usefulness = BRAND.

            You feel me?

  7. Tito, I love your questions!

    I like your idea of using ‘Medicines Naturally’ now you have me wondering again :)

    The natural medicines I discuss are both good old fashioned home remedies and some herbal remedies (homeopathic medicines) that I suggest as a solution (and promote as an affiliate.) I cover many topics, including alternative therapies. (Basically alternative medicines and therapies.)

    Four years ago I dreamed of building an authority site, so it has hundreds of pages. Now I have too many sites and no brand. (Other sites include anxiety, allergies, ADHD and a few others.) My other sites are all on topic, just my ‘medicinesnaturally’ domain covers many health issues – and still expanding – with natural remedies as a solution.

    ‘Clarity breeds uniqueness + usefulness’ – do you mean as in offering a clear solution to a problem for my visitors?

    You are being so helpful! Thank you.

    • Alright Jenny, we are making progress right? Now got two steps behind us…

      1. A branded company strategy
      2. A branded name – Medicines Naturally

      ———————————————————

      3. Now to brand definition: Medicines Naturally is WHAT? – this is how you define your uniqueness as a branded company. You describe the features of your business. What do you do? What is your business? What value do you provide to your target customers?

      Hint: we are a natural health information company/site that provides timely resources (tips, research findings, product reviews, etc) on alternative medicines and therapies.

      - Tell us HOW you do this
      - Tell us WHY you do this
      - Tell us WHO needs this
      - Tell us WHERE to find this (your various natural health sites)

      Get the idea?

      4. Then you move to Brand promise: WHY read Medicines Naturally? – this is how you define your usefulness as a branded company. Why should the customer care about the information/resources you provide? What are the obvious benefits they get from consuming your work? What problem are you helping them solve? What change are you helping them achieve in their life? What difference do you exist as a company to make?

      Chew on these!

  8. There are many tools out there that can help choose a name, e.g. http://www.imakebrands.com

  9. Nice with real name examples to explain what you mean. I’d like to add another step: 4. Verify the name in all languages at the markets you’re going to sell the product in. Try tools like http://www.globalnaming.com to verify that your name does not contain any bad words or even slang words with negative meaning.

    • Mark,
      Thanks a lot for this additional info. It’s good that you mentioned it. In this age of globalization, you don’t want your brand name meaning something bad in another language.

  10. it’s really hard to think of a good brand name that could easily be notice by the consumer…I am a student searching for a good brand name for my project but it makes my mind crumpled to every idea i make ‘coz it’s boring. I want something different and unique. :’(

  11. Don’t forget you need to be able to get the exact match .com name. If you can’t get the matching domain you have to find another company name.

    Also the beauty of Memorable company names is that you may be able to trademark the name easier.

    Thanks for the great post.

  12. Got to get the exact match domain name. If you get anything else you’ll just be sending potential customers to the wrong site or worse, your competitors. Simple, short and memorable are all really important but you have to get the domain name as well.

    Really interesting series of posts, thanks.

  13. These are some really great and important points. I would just suggest a few things, A) use a search engine to see if anyone is using the name, you may want to avoid the name is a few people are using it and B) check the United States Patent and Trademark Office to see if the name has been registered (USPTO.gov).

    Really great info for people starting a business, thanks.

  14. Great conversation taking place here. I had difficult time choosing a right name (brand name) for my company and products. I spend nearly $2100 to get a perfect name but it was sort of waste of money. Then I came across this page on fiverr. http://fiverr.com/webby05/come-up-with-professional-brand-names-for-your-business-product-website-show-brand-etc

    I was skeptical I didn’t order but I contact him directly and he gave names that truly matched my product. Check it out.

  15. Love the article. I am looking for an up scale brand name for leather jackets. I already have a few websites such as Leather Madness……..

    Now I am going to go with something gtruely unique, simple and functional.

    Thanks fort he great article, lots of help!!

  16. Excellent article, Tito, with information following. I suggest NOT doing a domain search until you are actually ready to purchase, else someone steals your name and then is willing to sell it back to you…at a price.

    • Hello Patricia,

      Thanks for the beautiful comment, I agree about the domain name thing. It’s easy for people to buy domain names once they notice that its been searched previously. Great insight, thanks!

  17. You and I both know all too well the answer to that question.

    ) jobs are now become competitive enough for the
    candidates that many of them even dont try to appear
    for the them. Although the CLAT exam is not entirely consisting of mathematical and logical questions, it still has the potential to screen
    the best ranked students.

  18. Hello, I’m Gianni Vanzo, I’m Italian and I live in Bangkok. I’m manager of Vanzo Italy Co., Ltd. Our company import from Italy beauty creams 100% made in Italy.

    We are looking for potential Importers and Sellers throughout World (small investment to get the exclusive in another Country).

    Please don’t exitate to contact me in my mail: vanzomanager@gmail.com

    our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/vanzocoltd

  19. I am about to start a franchise business in Property development and Maintenance, i would like to know if apart from the investment that i have to pay, i need to have a lot of money on the side to kick off the business?

  20. Memorability + Simplicity , i think these 2 are the keys for a successful company name.Your examples fit these 2 criteria and the article really helps anyone that wants to start a new business.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] who want to make meaning and money, by building legacies alongside businesses. She also creates brand names, product names and book titles, with words that paint a thousand pictures.She is the author of You [...]

  2. [...] How To Choose A Unique Brand Name For Your Business, Product Or Service  — 12,803 [...]

  3. [...] of the concept. I have written about this before; a brand is so much more than a logo, color or the brand name [...]

  4. [...] your services and aspects through your company name. Tito Philips, Jnr, a writer for Naijaprenuersays, “[W]hat you are seeking to achieve is not ‘self-description’ of what your business, product [...]

  5. [...] previous post, I talked about the second most read and most searched for topic on naijapreneur –branding. In today’s unusual article, I will be talking about the first most read and most searched for [...]

  6. natureblognetwork.com

    How To Choose A Unique Brand Name For Your Business, Product Or Service | naijapreneur

Speak Your Mind

*

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.

More in Business Mastery, Marketing, Thought Bank
Unusual Entrepreneur Interview With Mark Schaefer Of BusinessesGrow.com

Mark W. Schaefer is a globally-recognized blogger, educator, business consultant, and author who blogs at {grow} — one of the...

Close