Studio Ostendo operates in multiple creative fields including photography, design, and education.
As a business owner, naming your company brand can be one of the most important decisions you make. Your brand name is the first impression that people will have of your business, and it will impact how they perceive your brand. A great brand name can be memorable, catchy, and instantly recognizable, while a bad name can be forgettable, confusing, and even detrimental to your brand's success.
In this article, we'll explore the process of naming your company brand, including how to analyze your competition's brand names, how to choose the right type and style of name for your brand, and how to ensure that your brand name is memorable and effective.
A great brand name is essential because it can help to differentiate your brand from competitors, make your brand memorable, and convey the values and personality of your brand. A great brand name can help to create a positive association with your brand, and it can also help to establish credibility and trust with your audience.
On the other hand, a bad brand name can be detrimental to your brand's success. It can make your brand forgettable, confuse your audience, or even offend them. A bad brand name can also make your brand seem unprofessional or untrustworthy.
Before you start brainstorming potential brand names, it's important to analyze your competition's brand names. This will help you to avoid choosing a name that is too similar to other brands in your industry, which could lead to confusion or legal issues.
One approach to analyzing your competition's brand names is to create a name trend analysis table, as described in the introduction. This involves listing the different types and styles of brand names in your industry, and then placing your competitors' names on the table to see where they fit in.
For example, if you were analyzing brand names in the airline industry, you might create a table with the following categories:
You could then list your competitors' names on post-it notes and place them on the table to see where they fit in. This can help you to identify trends in naming conventions within your industry, as well as areas where there is room for differentiation. That might look something like this:
Once you've analyzed your competition's brand names, it's time to start thinking about the type of brand name that will work best for your business. There are several different types of brand names to consider, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Real word names are simply words that already exist in the English language. Examples of real word brand names include Apple, Amazon, and Nike. Real word names can be effective because they are easy to remember and spell, and they often have positive connotations associated with them.
However, real word names can also be limiting in terms of trademark protection. Since these words already exist, it can be difficult to prevent competitors from using similar names.
Constructed names are made up of words that do not exist in the English language. Examples of constructed brand names include Google, Kodak, and Xerox. Constructed names can be effective because they are unique and memorable, and they can be easily trademarked.
However, constructed names can also be difficult to remember or pronounce, and they may not have any positive connotations associated with them.
Invented names are similar to constructed names, but they are created specifically to represent a brand. Examples of invented brand names include Skype, Verizon, and Haagen-Dazs. Invented names can be effective because they are unique and easy to trademark, and they can be designed to have positive connotations associated with them.
However, invented names can also be difficult to remember or pronounce, and they may not have any inherent meaning that helps to communicate what the brand is all about.
Misspelled names are simply existing words that have been intentionally misspelled. Examples of misspelled brand names include Flickr, Tumblr, and Lyft. Misspelled names can be effective because they are unique and easy to trademark, and they can help to create a distinct identity for the brand.
Misspelled names are words that are intentionally misspelled or altered in order to create a unique brand name. Examples of misspelled brand names include Flickr, Tumblr, and Expedia. Misspelled names can be effective because they are unique and memorable, and they can be easily trademarked.
However, misspelled names can also be confusing or difficult to remember, especially if the misspelling is too obscure or complicated. Additionally, misspelled names may not have any positive connotations associated with them, and they can come across as unprofessional or careless if not executed properly.
Acronyms are brand names that are formed by taking the first letter of each word in a phrase or company name. Examples of acronym brand names include IBM, KFC, and NASA. Acronyms can be effective because they are easy to remember and can be easily trademarked.
However, acronyms can also be confusing or difficult to remember if they are not well-known or easily recognizable. Additionally, acronyms may not have any inherent meaning that helps to communicate what the brand is all about, and they may not be as memorable or distinctive as other types of brand names.
Choosing the right style of brand name is just as important as choosing the right type of brand name. There are three main styles to consider: descriptive, evocative, and abstract. Descriptive names are straightforward and simply describe what the brand does or offers, such as American Airlines or General Motors. Evocative names, on the other hand, use words or phrases that evoke certain feelings or emotions, such as Apple or Amazon. These names don't necessarily have a direct connection to the brand, but they create a certain atmosphere or mood around the brand. Abstract names are the most creative and don't necessarily have any direct connection to the brand or its products, such as Nike or Pepsi. These names rely on associations and symbolism to create a unique and memorable brand identity. Ultimately, the style of brand name you choose will depend on your brand's values, target audience, and overall marketing strategy.
Descriptive names are those that describe the products or services that the brand offers. Examples of descriptive brand names include General Electric, American Airlines, and Burger King. These names can be effective because they immediately convey what the brand is all about, making it easy for consumers to understand what they offer.
However, descriptive names can also be limiting in terms of future product or service offerings. If a brand with a descriptive name wants to expand into new markets or product lines, the name may no longer be relevant.
Evocative names are those that evoke a feeling or emotion in the consumer. These names don't necessarily describe the products or services that the brand offers, but they do create an association between the brand and a particular feeling or emotion. Examples of evocative brand names include Amazon, Dove, and Jaguar. These names can be effective because they create a memorable and emotional connection with consumers.
However, evocative names can also be challenging because they don't immediately convey what the brand is all about. Consumers may need more information about the brand before they understand what products or services are being offered.
Abstract names are those that have no inherent meaning, but are memorable and distinctive. Examples of abstract brand names include Apple, Nike, and Pepsi. These names can be effective because they are unique and easy to remember, making it easy for consumers to recall the brand.
However, abstract names can also be challenging because they don't immediately convey what the brand is all about. Consumers may need more information about the brand before they understand what products or services are being offered. Additionally, abstract names may be more difficult to trademark because they don't have any inherent meaning.
When creating a brand, one of the decisions to make is whether or not to include the name of the founder. While some companies choose to do so, others opt for a more generic name. Both approaches have their pros and cons, and the decision ultimately depends on the goals and values of the brand. In this article, we will explore the reasons why it can be a good idea to use the founder's name in a brand, as well as the potential downsides.
Including the founder's name in a brand name can create a personal connection with customers. It humanizes the brand and makes it easier to relate to. When customers know the name of the person behind the brand, they may feel more invested in its success.
If the founder has a good reputation, including their name in the brand name can add credibility to the product or service being offered. Customers may be more likely to trust a brand with a recognizable name than a generic one.
Including a founder's name in the brand name can make it more memorable and distinguishable from competitors, especially if the founder has a strong personal brand. Customers may be more likely to remember a brand that bears the name of someone they admire.
If the founder has a significant impact on the company or industry, including their name in the brand name can help preserve their legacy and ensure their contributions are remembered. This can be especially important for brands that have a long history and want to honor their roots.
Including a founder's name in the brand name can help differentiate the brand from others in the market, especially if the founder has a unique name or backstory. This can be a valuable way to stand out in a crowded market.
If the founder is not well-known or respected in the industry, including their name in the brand name may not add value and may even limit the brand's appeal. Customers may not be familiar with the name and may not feel any particular connection to it.
Including a founder's name in the brand name can be restrictive, as it may limit the company's ability to expand into new markets or product categories without appearing irrelevant. For example, a company called "John Smith Widgets" may have a hard time branching out into other types of products beyond widgets. There's a reason we're not Dean Design—the association with any Dean's Cars, or Dean's Milk has a restricting commodifying tone.
If the founder has a negative reputation or is involved in controversy, including their name in the brand name can have negative associations and harm the brand's image. This can be particularly damaging if the negative associations are with something that is core to the brand's values or mission.
If the company grows beyond its founder, including their name in the brand name may become outdated or irrelevant and limit the brand's scalability. This can be a problem if the company wants to expand and become more diverse or if it wants to attract a wider audience.
Including a founder's name in the brand name can place too much emphasis on the individual rather than the brand itself, which may be a turnoff for some customers who prefer to focus on the product or service being offered. This can be a problem if the company wants to build a brand that is bigger than any one individual.
The decision of whether or not to use the founder's name in a brand ultimately depends on the goals and values of the brand. Consider each point and decide which factors are the most significant for your brand: the direction that it needs to take, how best to communicate its values, who it is intended to speak to.The founder’s name being up front may help or hinder the business long term.
Once you’ve gone through all the hard work of deciding on a brand name, it’s time to trademark it. A brand name is one of the most valuable assets a business can possess, and protecting it through trademark registration is essential for long-term success. Trademark registration provides legal protection against others using a similar or identical name, logo, or slogan, ensuring that the business maintains its unique identity in the marketplace. In these five steps, I'll cover the basics of how to trademark a brand name.
(Of course, with all things legal my best recommendation is hire a knowledgeable attorney to have the best experience).
Before filing a trademark application, it's important to conduct a trademark search to ensure that no one else has already registered a similar or identical mark. A trademark search can be conducted online through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database, or through a trademark attorney. If a similar or identical mark is found, it's important to reassess the brand name and consider alternatives. Not to worry, you’ve just developed a whole board of brand name ideas, so hopefully you have a few to fall back on.
Once a trademark search has been conducted and no conflicts have been found, it's time to file a trademark application. This can be done online through the USPTO website, or through a trademark attorney. The application will require information such as the brand name, a description of the goods or services associated with the mark, and proof of use of the mark in commerce.
Make sure to pay close attention to the details and specifications of a trademark for “goods” vs. “services”. Each category has different requirements for the proof of use of the mark and should be treated carefully.
After the trademark application has been filed, it will be examined by a trademark examiner at the USPTO. Sit back and work on other aspects of your business, like your Brand Strategy. The examiner will review the application to ensure that it meets all of the requirements for registration, which can take some time. If any issues arise during examination, the examiner will issue an Office Action, which is a letter outlining the issues and giving the applicant an opportunity to respond. It's important to work closely with a trademark attorney during this stage to ensure that the application is properly amended and that all issues are addressed.
If the trademark application is approved by the examiner, it will be published in the USPTO's Official Gazette. This gives others an opportunity to oppose the registration of the mark if they believe that it infringes on their own trademark rights. If no opposition is filed, the mark will be registered and a Certificate of Registration will be issued.
Once a trademark has been registered, it's important to maintain it properly to ensure that it remains valid. This includes using the mark in commerce, filing periodic declarations of use with the USPTO, and monitoring for any potential infringers. It's also important to work with a trademark attorney to ensure that the mark is properly enforced and to address any potential infringement issues. (See why I recommended working with an attorney before?)
All told, trademark registration is an important step in protecting a brand name and ensuring long-term success in the marketplace. By conducting a thorough trademark search, filing a trademark application, responding to Office Actions, monitoring for opposition, and properly maintaining the trademark, businesses can safeguard their valuable brand names and establish a strong identity in the marketplace.
Developing a brand name should be an exciting, creative process. Don’t hold too fast to one name type or style and, instead, let your brainstorming session flow naturally. Oftentimes, brands in a marketplace will all have names that in the same categories, which means you can follow suit, or tread into a blue ocean.
If you’re just starting your brand venture or pivoting an old one and need any help or guidance, please put yourself on my calendar. I’d love to hear your brand name ideas and help you through any aspect of the brand development process in order to grow your business as fast and effectively as possible.