5 ways to name a brand

There is no right or wrong way to name a company or a brand.
There are plenty of successful brands with terrible names (Google!!!) and plenty of brands with great names and no success.
The 5 points below describe 5 different approaches. In very basic terms, the higher up the list the more ‘ownable’, but also the more budget-hungry.
1. Use a meaningless word: Rolex, eBay, Reebok, Xerox, Google, Ikea.
This tends to be a better approach when you have a significant amount of budget. Your job will be to infer a meaning on to that word in the mind of your customer, and that can be expensive (depending on the industry/ category/ competition).
2. Use existing words that are no way relevant: Apple, Starbuck, Caterpillar.
Similar to the above. This can be costly, and you have to fight with the original meaning of the word in people’s heads. It can work, but in the age of SEO can be difficult.
3. Use names. Saatchi and Saatchi, John Lewis, Ralph Lauren, Tesla, Tommy Bahamas.
This is often done with the founder’s names, which tends to work best if the founder already has credibility in the sector. Tesla works as a ‘tribute’, as the company is all about Tesla’s specialist field. Tommy Bahamas works, as it gives a feel of who their audience is.
4. Use something a bit vague, but relevant. Pooch & Mutt, Ray Ban, Ellas kitchen, Camelbak, Facebook, Land Rover.
These don’t say precisely what the companies do, but they give an idea, meaning that you need to spend less of your time/money explaining. You wouldn’t know what a Camelbak was without seeing it, but just seeing it once, you make the connection and remember it, next time you see one you’ll remember it’s called a Camelbak. Next time you see the word Camelbak you’ll remember what it is. If the Camelbak was called an ‘Ikea’, you wouldn’t remember what it was.
5. Use something quite specific. PayPal, Sports direct, Phones 4U.
These kinds of names are the easiest for customers to understand quickly. However, they are also the easiest for competitors to copy and the hardest to get real ownership of.

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