What’s In A Brand Name – And How Do You Build One?

Have you ever referred to something by a brand name rather than the actual product itself? For example, I often say I need a Kleenex when really what I need is a tissue. The brand name Kleenex, however, has such an impression in the tissue market that consumers often refer to the product as the brand itself. Another example are Uggs, which is a popular Australian boot company. I have heard people say they need to “put on their Uggs” when really they are just putting on their Ugg look a like boots from a brand most people do not recognize.

When preparing to distribute a product and bring it to the marketplace, one of the most challenging tasks can be to find a name that best represents what it is you are selling. Your goal should be to find a name that will rest comfortably with consumers so that it is not too difficult to remember and ideally catchy enough to never forget. The brand name you ultimately choose will be impacted by your marketing tactics, logo, and any messages you attach to it – and this isn’t even including the product itself that it represents. Loyalty to brands can often be more powerful than product performance or style, so make sure to that you consider this aspect, as well, when thinking about what you should name your product to best position it as a brand. Just think about Nike and Adidas. Consumer research may show that Nike has a better performing soccer shoe, but if you have worn Adidas all your life, you may buy Adidas even if research shows Nike performs better.

Once you have a few brand names you would like to consider for your product, talk to people to find out what they think about it before you bring it to the marketplace. Ask yourself and ask others the following questions:

1. Is the name easy to say? You don’t want anything that twists your tongue or can’t be easily pronounced.

2. Is the name too long? Many of my clients have four words in their brand name alone. I reccomend one or two words with a third word only if you feel necessary. Even then I suggest that the third word is used to describe the product, such as jewelry or yoga. For example, Swami Baby Yoga. The word “yoga” identifies the product type that Swami Baby represents.

3. Will it offend anyone? In January 2008, Beaners Coffee changed their name to Biggby Coffee. Based in Michigan and with over 77 franchises, Beaners Coffee had no idea that when they choose their name that the word beaners was considered offensive to Hispanic customers. After receiving a lot of hype about it, they officially changed their name. This was a costly change, so take the time in advance to do your homework.

4. Is the name available to use? Each state has registered businesses, so make sure you take a look to see if anyone else is using the name you want to use. I would also consider looking at this from a national scale in case you want to distribute your brand on a larger scale and even internationally depending on your growth plans. Look up your local and national Trade Mark Registers to get started with this search.

5. Is there a web domain name available to match this brand name? While it does not have to an exact match, it should be complimentary to the brand name so that consumers can easliy find you online.

Let these 5 questions helps jumpstart your brand name search and remember to consider all other details specific to your industry, competition, and product / service needs.


  • Denise
    July 7, 2009

    This is an awesome website. Thank you for the insightful information. This is key for a new entrepreneur such as myself. There is so much to learn and so few want to share their knowledge. Again thanks for the quality info.

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