There are an estimated three hundred million companies in the world today that’s three hundred million brands with some brands as big as Apple and Coca-Cola others as small as a one-person business.
With so many brands in the world today it’s getting harder to create and find a unique name so how do you create a great brand name how can you play and win the name game you start with these three steps.
Select The Type Of Name That You Want
First, select what type of name you want there are seven different categories of names and pretty much every brand in the world falls within one of the seven categories.
Eponymous names like Disney and Burberry work by embodying the vision and beliefs of their founders these names are OK if you’re feeling lazy or just have a big ego Adidas is more unique it’s derived from the company’s founder and Tesla wasn’t created by Nikola Tesla he died in 1943 but the name is an homage to Tesla’s electrical engineering achievements.
Descriptive names like American Airlines and the Home Depot work by telling exactly what the company does these names can be a mouthful and a much harder to own and protect
acronyms like G.M. B.P. are just shorthand versions of descriptive names so Narconon is more strategic. Kentucky Fried Chicken switch to K.F.C. because fried chicken didn’t sound too healthy and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank changed to H.S.B.C. to help the bank expand globally.
Real Words like UBER and Slack are ripped right out of a dictionary and suggest attributes or benefits.
UBER literally means an outstanding example so it works well for a company with big broad bold ambitions beyond ride-hailing. Real words might seem like good ideas but in a world of three hundred million companies, it’s getting harder to find a name and harder to find any real words left in the dictionary.
Composite names like Facebook and Ray Ban are created by gluing two words together these names have a kind of one-two punch and can be really memorable because it’s so hard to find real words companies like clean Kleenex and Pinterest have invented names by changing adding or removing letters for impact. Invented names can be highly unique but if you’re not careful they can start to sound like pharmaceutical drugs or worse the name of a sofa from Ikea.
Associates of names work by reflecting imagery meaning back to their brand the Amazon in South America is the world’s largest river, therefore, the Earth’s biggest selection of books clothes, content and so on.
Sirius is the brightest star, therefore, the radio channels where you can hear the brightest stars of music and entertainment and Red Bull associates to drink with Bowl light qualities such as power and confidence.
Some brands are derived from non English languages like Samson which means three stars in Korean, Lego is an abbreviation of the two Danish words “leg godt” meaning “play well” in Danish, Zappos comes from the Spanish word “Zapatos” for shoes and Hulu I bet you didn’t know that Hulu actually comes from a Chinese proverb “hulu” is a bowl used to store precious things.
Finally the seven type abstract names like Rolex and Kodak that these names have no intrinsic meaning but instead rely on the power of phonetics to create really powerful brand names
Decide What You Want The Name To Say
Once you’ve decided what type of naming you want, you need to decide what you want the name to say, of course, it’s tempting to create names that talk about who created them or what you do or where you operate but the best brand names don’t describe they stand for a big idea the ones that translate into emotional appeal.
Nike is about winning, Go Pros about heroism, Apple is about simplicity and usability and Google comes from the term “googol” which is 1 with 100 zeros after it the term was invented by Milton Sirotta the nephew of mathematician Edward Kasner who had asked his nephew what he thought such a large number should be called. Such a number, Milton apparently replied after a short thought, could only be called something as silly as a “googol.”
Later, another mathematician devised the term googolplex for 10 to the power of googol – that is, 1 followed by 10 to the power of 100 zeros. Frank Pilhofer has determined that, given Moore’s Law (which is that computer processor power doubles about every 1 to 2 years), it would make no sense to try to print out a googolplex for another 524 years – since all earlier attempts to print a googolplex out would be overtaken by the faster processor.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, named their search engine after the term googol. In 1997, Larry was brainstorming names with other Stanford graduate students, including Sean Anderson, and looking at available domain names. Anderson miskeyed googol as “google” and found it available. Larry liked it and the name “Google” stuck. Google’s corporate headquarters is called the GooglePlex, an affectionately tongue-in-cheek reference to the origins of the company name.
That really big number helps support Google’s really big original vision to organize the world’s information so if you think about your new brand think carefully and ask yourself what your big idea.
Check That The Name is Available
The first step is to check the name isn’t already taken you might have to create hundreds of names perhaps thousands before you find one that’s even available and of course don’t forget to check the name means doesn’t mean anything negative in other languages or countries the last thing you want is an embarrassing naming fail like this brand of toilet paper from Sweden.
Finally a few words about alphabet the parent company of Google and now one of the world’s most valuable companies much has been said and written about the business strategy but i’ll give an insight into the name. Do you think Alphabet is a great name? …you bet! first of all the name is an idea as we all know an alphabet is a set of letters that forms the basis of all language and communication second the name provides a playful link back to the company’s underneath “G” for Google, “C” for calico, “N” for Nest “X” and so on Third the name encourages Wall Street investors buy this stock and you making an “alpha bet” one that will outperform others. last of all the name is a real dictionary word which is a rare find these days.
There is only one issue with alphabet car company B.M.W. own the URL alphabet.com But you know here’s the thing only the .com doesn’t matter as much these days now that we find stuff through google search and we connect with brands. Through social media and smartphone apps so alphabet the company forgot about alphabet.com and instead found a shorter more unique web address abc.xyz
Further Reading: A Great Business Name Is Worth Its Weight In Gold
Also published on Medium.