Choosing the name for a child is an important and challenging decision for parents. They spend umpteen hours squabbling and researching to come up with a name that is contemporary, unique and reflects a trait that may positively affect their child. For budding entrepreneurs, their venture is no less than a child, and they face exactly the same dilemma when looking for brand name suggestions for their new product or service.
A brand name is an important asset for any business. The brand name is not just the identity of the company, it also reflects the:
- Brand promise
- Product or service on offer
- Ability of the business to differentiate itself from its competitors
Your brand name will have an impact on whether your business can attract customers and quality employees alike.
If you are looking to christen your new endeavour, you need not spend big bucks hiring copywriters and marketing consultants for brand name suggestions. Just use this list of tips to jumpstart your thinking.
Editor’s note: Once you have your name sorted, put your business online in less than 5 minutes with Online Starter Bundle.
6 ideas for choosing a brand name
Here are a few options to help you choose a brand identity that inspires you and helps create a connection with your target audience.
- Family name.
- Abbreviated names.
- Self-descriptive name.
- Recall or connotation.
- Blended name.
- Appeal to the senses.
Before we jump into brainstorming unique brand name ideas, it is important to understand what a brand name is, what a product name is and how it is different from a business name.
What is a brand name?
Your brand name is your first point of contact with potential customers.
A brand name is an identity/personality you create for your product or service.
In the beginning, a brand name primarily creates intrigue. Whether people see it in a Facebook ad or on a T-shirt, that’s all they know about your business.
As customers experience your product or service, those experiences help shape the brand persona. Based on the image you are able to project, and the experience on offer, a strong brand name can trigger a positive recall for your business.
Brand name vs. business name
Taj Hotels, for example, is one of the oldest and most luxurious five-star hotel chains in India. The business name behind the ‘Taj’ brand is Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL).
Here the business name — IHCL — is different from the brand name.
In this case, the brand name and business name are different, but they don’t necessarily have to be so. Nike, Britannia, Amul and Dettol are some household names in India where the brand name and business name are the same.
A product name, on the other hand, could be a generic term associated with the business, like ‘Hotels’ in the example above. Businesses create specific identities for various products to help differentiate their offerings.
Again using the same example, IHCL has multiple properties in India’s party capital Goa, namely:
- Taj Fort Aguada
- Taj Exotica
- Taj Holiday Village
Your brand name, product name and business could all be the same or different, depending on your business vision, and being mindful of regulatory compliance and trademark norms.
Creating a brand identity
The first step towards creating a brand name is to identify the characteristics of your product or service as honestly and precisely as possible and define your target audience.
You need to ask yourself what you want to convey with your brand name. Exclusivity? Everyday use? A low-cost solution?
Don’t forget to speak the language of your customers:
- If likely buyers are young, you might consider using slang terms they use
- If your target customers speak a particular dialect, consider this in choosing a brand name
Another consideration is how easy the brand name is to spell and remember. Imagine future customers speaking your business name to their friends — will the friend be able to type it into their smartphone correctly after hearing it?
This exercise can help you streamline your choices. It also sets up a path for your future marketing and business strategies.
While there is no correct or sure-shot way of branding your business, here are some tried and tested propositions that could help you ideate unique brand name ideas.
1. Family name
One of the easiest ways to brand a business is by using the name of the founder.
Aditya Birla (conglomerate), Honda (automobiles), Sabyasachi (fashion) and Hiranandani (realty) are some examples of names used as brand names.
The only drawback to this strategy might be one day in the future if you decide to sell the business. The new owner will be faced with the option of changing the name and losing all the brand recognition that has built up over the years or keeping a business name that does not match their surname.
2. Abbreviated names
Another easy hack is to abbreviate either the founder’s name or a long trade name. H&M (apparel), HCL (technology) and ICICI (banking and finance) are some popular examples.
Abbreviated names are easy to remember, but usually do not say much about the business or what goods or services it offers.
3. Self-descriptive name
Using a self-descriptive or generic name may seem unimaginative, but makes it really easy to convey your business proposition.
Say you are looking for agriculture company names suggestions. Consider low literacy levels among people who work in agriculture in India.
Brand names such as Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited and SKM Animal Feed and Food are brand names that convey the business proposition in a direct manner.
4. Recall or connotation
Using a brand name that helps recall an image or feeling makes it easier to connect with the customer. It could be related to anything that you think ties with your business persona:
- A name
- Mythological creature
Reliance Industries looks to convey ‘trust’ as a synonym, while eCommerce giant Amazon suggests the breadth of its products is as expansive as the world’s largest tropical rainforest.
5. Blended names
You could create a brand name by blending different names or words. You could possibly come up with unique sounding words in this way.
Infosys (technology) combine parts of the words ‘information’ and ‘system’. Although it’s not a proper English word, the combination suggests the products and services the business provides.
6. Appeal to the senses
You could also tap into the human psyche by invoking a positive response based on sound, smell or perception. These associations can help convey certain information or perceived traits about your product.
For example, there are restaurant names such as:
- Red Chillies
- Masala Library
On the other hand, you can look at brand names that play on perception. We have beauty products named Lux as a play on luxury, and Forest Essentials that creates a perception of organic ingredients.
Best practices to emulate
Our first piece of advice is to identify a couple of brand name options that hit the sweet spot and let them sit with you for a bit. You will only be able to project a strong brand image when you feel a sense of ownership and pride in it.
If you find your creative juices at a trickle, get your family and friends to chip in brand name suggestions.
Alternatively, you could also employ a focus group or get suggestions from the common public through social media, in exchange for an incentive. This also allows your product to be seen and experienced before you even launch.
Don’t be afraid to break the rules. New words are constantly seeping into our everyday verbiage and there is no reason why you cannot become a lexical innovator. The premium ice-cream brand Häagen-Dazs is just a made-up name!
Check with the GoI registry
With thousands of businesses being floated every day, it is unlikely that you would be able to run with whatever brand name you come up with. Make sure to check with the registry under the Indian Trademarks Act 1999 if the brand name is available to avoid any future complications.
Make sure the matching domain name is available
Having an online presence for any modern business is absolutely crucial. Hence, you must check the availability of the website domain name you want to use for your business with GoDaddy. It’s generally considered a good idea to have a website domain name that matches your business or brand name.
Type the name you want in to see if the matching domain name is available
Do some digging
Additionally, make it a point to ask around and ensure that your brand name is not offensive to anyone.
When using foreign words for a brand name, get it in front of someone who speaks the language natively. You don’t not want to end up like fail tattoos, where you think you got yourself inked with the word ‘peace’ in Mandarin, only to later find out it means ‘soup!’
Brand name suggestions in summary
A brand name is a powerful asset that helps capture the essence of your business, build goodwill and differentiate your goods or services from those of your competitors.
- Your brand name, business name and company name could all be the same or different depending on your vision.
- It is important to have clarity on who your target audience is and what you want to convey with your brand name.
- Don’t be afraid to innovate or use new-age words.
- Make sure to check with the registry under the Indian Trademarks Act 1999 to ensure your brand name is not already being used by any other business.
- Check the availability of the domain name of your business with GoDaddy.
In this age of consumerism, your brand name is worth its weight in gold. Invest in it wisely. Give it the thought and time it deserves.