How important is a brand name?

Those of you who paid attention in school English lessons might remember a rather important question in a very well-known play. “What’s in a name?”, asked Juliet of Romeo in the 1597 Shakespeare play.

Revisiting Shakespeare got me thinking about brand names. While Juliet says that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’, does the same apply for brand names?


The science of names

When we learn new words, the human brain doesn’t just learn a sequence of sounds that relate to a certain meaning. We create associations which impact how we feel about the word. As brand names are words too, this gives organisations an opportunity to associate positive, implicit associations with the brand, product or services.

A brand name is often a potential customer’s first touchpoint with a brand. For example, it may be the first thing they see in the search engine results pages, or hear when being recommended by a friend. This is where the science begins, and the associations begin to be formed, so it’s important your brand name makes the right first impression.


How does it work in practice?

Typically brand names fall into one of the following categories:

  • Founder’s name(s) (e.g. RizkMcCay)
  • Words describing the product or service (e.g. East Midlands Trains)
  • Words describing the experience the product or service offers (e.g. Pampers)
  • Made up or unrelated word (e.g. Google or Orange)

Before selecting a name, brainstorm as many potentials as you can. Think about any connotations the words may have associated with them already and how these could influence how people perceive your brand.

When deciding on a name, it is important to choose a name that is unique. Steer away from similar words or sentiments of your competitors, not only to avoid confusion, but any legal issues around trademarks too.

Another factor, which is often forgotten, is that it is important to pick a name which has a relevant domain available. With the growth of digital, having an online presence that is easy to find is imperative, and including your brand name in URLs is one factor to consider here.

While there are many aspects to a brand’s success, name plays a big part. In this instance, Juliet’s sentiment is not applicable and careful attention should be paid to make sure your brand name makes your brand as sweet as possible.


For help with branding, give us a call and we can discuss your challenges over tea and biscuits.

Posted by: Catherine Appleby

Date: 27 March 2018

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