PUSH 101: What should a brand name include?

When it comes to creating your brand name, it can be tricky knowing where to start. It’s not something you want to have to change at a later point, so it’s important you get it right from the beginning. Too generic or too complicated, and you could put potential customers off. So, what is the balance?

McDonalds logo

Now, I don’t even need to tell you the brand above because they’ve built up such a large profile for themselves that they are a household name worldwide. Even if you’re not lovin’ it you still know the brand from their logo alone. That’s how you can tell their branding speaks for itself and is really strong. I’ve looked into what a good brand should consist of, and I’m here to share my findings. It can be difficult to find something that’s unique and will represent your brand in the best way. Hopefully this will help.

🗺 Include the name of the founder

When it comes to huge businesses, many of them started with a simple brand idea. They were named after the person who kickstarted it all. It’s simple and yet really effective. If you want your name to be remembered and your company to grow as a household name, make it relatable. Having it as a personal name adds a level of realness to it. People will identify with it because they know it’s stemmed from an individual with big ideas.

Over time, you tend to see people shortening these names. For example Ford, a hugely popular car brand worldwide, originally was named after its founder. Henry Ford. Once known as the Henry Ford Company, it has been shortened down throughout the years. Ford is simple and catchy. It’s likely that people themselves began abbreviating it, and eventually it stuck. However, this is something that might naturally happen throughout your brand’s growth. My advice is if you want something that isn’t already a business name, then you should go with your own name. It’s possible there’s already something out there called the same thing, but the likelihood seems pretty slim.

🧠 Be inspired behind the meaning

If you see something with a meaning, borrow from that. When something inspires you, act on it. It’s ok to borrow words and phrases if the meaning is important to you. Of course, by this I don’t mean steal another company’s identity, but many brands have come about from a quote or saying. In fact, many people often take the meaning of a particular word and then translate that word into another language as it adds another level perhaps?

When I talk about this, I am drawn back to Nike. After all, where does this brand’s name come from? It is in fact the Greek God of victory. So, the huge brand that again is a household name, was in fact a God’s name first. However, most people will know it as the sports brand rather than its original meaning. I’m not telling you to go and find someone inspirational or someone from the past and pick their name as your brand, but sometimes it does work. I’d argue it only works when their name has meaning, however. You need to make sure if you’re going to do something like this, that you’re not being offensive. Remember, not every product will work with every idea.

🍬 Short but sweet

Less is more, you’ve heard all the various ways of saying this I’m sure. But when it comes down to picking your brand name, keep it short. Let’s be honest, having a brand name that consists of 5 words, that are all pretty long would just be confusing. If you’re lucky enough that your brand takes off quickly, it might not be an issue. However, going back to what I said previously about Ford, notice how bigger companies tend to shorten their brand name over time because it’s easier to remember.

You have to think, if you were to hear a one word brand name and then hear a 5 word brand name, which one would you be more likely to remember? It’s probably going to be the shorter one. Our brains have enough to remember from day to day life. Overfilling it with a new brand probably isn’t going to stick. You’ll find yourself racking your brains trying to remember what the name of that company was. Short and simple is probably one of the better ways to get your brand name remembered. After all, that’s what we’re striving for isn’t it?

🤔 Describe what it is

Let’s throw some well-known companies into the mix here. Poundland or in America it’s Dollar General. KFC a.k.a. Kentucky Fried Chicken that was shortened. Pizza Hut. You get where I’m coming from. They all describe exactly what they are. It’s simple to understand. This is great when it comes to being discovered because people don’t have to look into your company to get what you’re about. For example, I’m from the UK, however I know exactly what Dollar General is and if I was looking for a bargain when visiting The States, that’s probably where I would head. Simply because, the clue is in the name.

These days social media is paramount, so having something descriptive that speaks for itself is really handy. People are far more likely to check out your brand if they know what to expect. If I’m shopping for bubble bath, am I more likely to head to the Instagram account called Bubble Bath Buddy or Sweet Scents? Of course, it’s the first one. Not because the second one doesn’t sound appealing, but how would I know what they’re selling? The first one is obvious right from the start, so I know by going there I’ll find exactly what I’m looking for. Let me point out, these names were plucked from my wildly unimaginative brain so they might not be the best ok…

🎨 Create something new

Have you ever sat there and tried to come up with a new word? Believe me, it’s harder than you think. I’ve tried, and it just comes out as noise. However, if you actually put some time and thought into it, you might come up with something great. Maybe there’s two of you working on this brand, you could try and merge your names together to make something different and unique. My advice here would be to say it out loud to yourself many times before going public with it. Also get friends, family and possibly even strangers to read it aloud, because how you see and pronounce a word could be very different for other people.

Try anagrams of your favourite words, perhaps. Jot down some letters on a piece of paper and play around with the order. See if anything strikes you from it. You’d be surprised how many companies have been formed off basic gibberish. Google for example, what’s that all about? I can’t fault it though because look how well it’s done. It’s simple and easy to say. If you want your brand to be a worldwide name that’s something to consider. How does it translate? Or, can other cultures say it easily when your language isn’t their first language?

Hopefully this has helped spark some ideas for you or even allowed you to think of how you’re going to come up with your brand name. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s right for you and your brand identity most importantly. People are adaptable, and they should be able to get on board with whatever you decide. The most important thing is you’ve fully considered it from every angle because yes you can change your name, however once people know you by one name, it’s very difficult to get them to change. Facebook to Meta situation, right?

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