Naming your business: what goes into building a brand from scratch?

By Jake Johnston

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In theory, coming up with a business name should be a simple task, but in reality, it’s a much more complex process. Many businesses end up going down a rabbit hole of looking at different names and then settling for one that works just okay. But, a name is the very first impression of your business, it needs to be better than just okay! 

Throughout our years of experience in brand design and brand strategy, we’ve gained a comprehensive understanding of what exactly goes into naming a business and have a process that can help businesses feel confident about their naming choice. 

In the ever-evolving world of business and marketing, a brand's name is often its first point of contact with potential customers. A well-chosen name can be the cornerstone of a successful brand, catching customers’ attention and instantly conveying values and personality.

When naming your business or brand, there are many elements and avenues for you to consider. You want your name to effectively communicate the essence of your brand so that you can build a lasting impact on your target audience. You’ll also want to accurately demonstrate your brand’s values and core messaging. 

Some of the household business names that we’ve become accustomed to may seem simple in terms of how they’ve been named, however, this isn’t usually the case. Behind every great brand name lies a meticulously crafted process.

Frequently our clients approach us with a comprehensive business concept, but often face uncertainty when it comes to selecting an appropriate name. Given the many factors to consider, it’s crucial to adopt a systematic approach. 

So, you’re probably thinking, what makes a good brand name? 

Here are some things to consider before naming your brand…

Why is a brand name important? 

Fundamentally, the name of your brand is the first thing that sets you apart from your competition, so there’s a lot of groundwork that should go into this. 

The importance of a name

Your brand's name is more than just words; it's that initial encounter that has the power to captivate and intrigue your audience. A great name has the potential to etch your brand into your customers' minds, so you build up a positive reputation and they come back time and time again.

In a world surrounded by competition, a distinctive and memorable name becomes your beacon, guiding you through the crowd and into the spotlight. It's your opportunity to set yourself apart.

And while it's doing all that, a well-crafted business name is silently conveying the essence of your brand, its values, and its products or services. It's a key factor that helps potential customers instantly grasp what your business is all about and why they should care.

What to consider with your business name

We have compiled a list of all the characteristics your brand name should have. In some aspects, one or two of these might be considered a priority to your business, but there should be a nod to each of these within the final name.

Be meaningful

Your brand name should be meaningful to your customers and communicate the core of what you do or offer.

Be distinctive

You need to set yourself apart from your competition. Names that stand out are generally more memorable and this should be a major consideration when naming your business. 

Be accessible

Your name should be easy to say, spell and find. If your name is difficult to spell, it reduces the chances of being found and can confuse your target audience. This can be detrimental - especially to potential customers, as they may look for the same product or service elsewhere.

Be unique

You don’t want your brand or business to get confused with others. If there are similar businesses with the same name then it’s time to think of a new one.

Be future-proof

Any ambitious business should keep an eye on the future! The process of coming up with a name should consider how your brand name could be adapted and extended as your business grows and develops. In other words, don’t just choose a name because it’s trendy at the moment. Your brand name needs to be able to move with the times.

Be visual

A big part of your brand name selection process should be how it can be visually represented through design. Does your name match the visual aspects you are planning to use? Can it be transferred from different channels to your marketing collateral? These are just some of the questions you should be considering.

All in all, a name should represent your company's values and qualities. Businesses that do this successfully end up creating a brand that’s memorable and victorious. Take a look at the process we took when naming the digital consultancy brand Samepage as an example.

The science and psychology behind a brand name 

Names that are easily pronounced and memorable have the ability to embed themselves in our minds, but the psychology of brand naming goes much deeper than memorability. Alongside this, different cultures interpret sounds and words differently, making thorough research imperative for both local and global brands. 

Names can be emotional triggers. You should choose a name that instantly evokes feelings linked to your brand and its mission. Understanding your audience's emotional triggers can be the secret to choosing a name that truly resonates with them.

Moreover, there's the power of perceived value. A well-crafted name can create an aura of exclusivity and quality, as seen with luxury brands such as Gucci and Rolex. It's a testament to how a name alone can elevate a product or service in the eyes of its consumers. And let's not forget trust and credibility - two vital components in any brand's journey. 

A name that exudes professionalism and reliability can instil confidence in both existing and potential customers. And after all, confidence sets the standard for lasting relationships. In the world of brand naming, the science and psychology behind it are like the unseen architects of perception and connection, shaping the very essence of a brand's identity.

Types of business and brand names 

Understanding what sets you apart from your competitors and what makes you unique is important, but you also need to understand the different types of brand names and the methodology behind these. 

Founder brand names

These types of names represent a personal human connection with the consumer, the use of real names personifies the brand and creates a sense of trust with the consumer. Think Ben and Jerry’s or Ford.

Geographical brand names

This type of naming allows a brand to merge with its location or culture, making it easily identifiable and memorable. Brands with this type of name are the likes of British Airways and American Airlines.

Descriptive brand names

These names provide clarity about the kind of business you are and what you provide for your customers or clients. They are easily memorised and offer differentiation benefits; think Facebook or Dropbox.

Evocative brand names

An evocative name is the opposite of a descriptive one. It uses metaphors to evoke a feeling or association towards the brand. Evocative names are good for creating certain feelings from the consumers towards the brand as well as being easily recognisable. Examples include the likes of Apple or Lush. 

Invented brand names

This is one of the most challenging naming methods to get right but can be very effective if used correctly. These names often come from words being combined or purposefully misspelt to create a new meaning. Well-known brands such as Google and Pixar fall into this category.

Lexical brand names

This type of naming uses wordplay and tends to contain puns or purposeful misspellings. Due to this, they’re often used within certain industries such as the food industry, where playfulness is valued. Think Krispy Kreme or Hubba Bubba.

Acronymic brand names 

These types of names are popular amongst large worldwide businesses, yet they can be challenging to recall as their meaning isn’t always apparent to people. Famous examples include BMW and UPS.

Choosing the correct naming style is a fundamental part of the naming process. Each of these naming types has its own set of meanings and connotations for the customer. It is therefore important that you understand how each of these can be effective before choosing a name.

The process of naming a brand 

At JUMP, we have a specific process when naming your business, as it’s a journey that requires a structured approach. It all begins with research, diving deep into your brand's core values, identifying your target audience, and iterating on your unique selling points. Thorough market research is the first vital step in the process of naming a business.

Next comes the creative phase: brainstorming. Here, wordplay, metaphors, and symbolism are great tools for crafting a name that resonates with your brand and its target audience. At JUMP, our team does thorough research to ensure that your final brand name is suitable for your industry while coinciding with what your business stands for.

Finally, the last leg of this naming expedition is feedback and refinement. This includes taking feedback from you, and adapting and refining your name until it becomes the perfect fit for your brand.

How an agency can support you in naming your business and beyond

While numerous online tools can help you create a brand name, it’s advisable to collaborate with an agency (like JUMP) that's experienced in branding. This is particularly important when you consider that your name will be one of the initial elements your audience encounters.

We can help create a brand name and identity that’s a great fit for exactly what you want to provide for your customers. After your brand name is decided, an important step is to create and understand your brand identity, which we can help with also! 

Having accumulated over 16 years of experience, we’ve successfully built brands from the ground up across a wide range of industries. Our extensive expertise has provided us with an exceptional understanding of the components required to craft a memorable brand that leaves a lasting impression. Check out our brand guidelines blog which covers just some of the processes we follow when creating your brand. 

Naming your brand is just the tip of the iceberg for us! We also pair this with an array of services that'll work hand in hand to bring your newly named brand to life. 

From developing a bespoke logo to building an ultra-responsive website - we can do it all.

Get in touch today and find out how JUMP can help bring your business to life.

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