A great company name can position you as a true leader in your industry, build brand awareness, and help people remember your offerings.
Your potential customers might not know anything about your company yet, and a brilliant brand name can be the sparkplug that creates a bold first impression and instant connection. A strong name is the basic differentiator for your brand that can set you apart from your true competition.
If you’re in the position to create a new business or re-name a current business, you have several different types of brand names to choose from. This can be a fun and easy process, but it definitely takes a bit of time and commitment.
To help spark your creativity as you choose a name for your brand, here are four unique types of company names that might work for you.
You don’t have to be a genius to understand that Burger King sells burgers – it’s right there in the name. This is an example of a descriptive brand name which can help position your company, but descriptive names can also be limiting.
What if you eventually want to change your offerings, grow your company, or add new products… but you’re stuck with a company name that describes something you used to sell?
Dunkin’ used to be Dunkin Donuts. After they added other items to their menu, they realized their descriptive name was limiting them from growing their brand.
Unlike Burger King, which still focuses on burgers, Dunkin’ Donuts wanted to focus mainly on coffee and beverages, and they even reduced the number of donut flavors available in their stores – so they dropped the “Donuts” from their name entirely.
The Dunkin’ rebrand seems simple at first because the company just needed to remove one word. But think about how much money they must have spent on that one word: they needed to replace every single one of their billboards, menus, social media templates, car wraps, advertisements, store signs, employee uniforms, branded cups and mugs, napkins, donut boxes, business cards, stationary, and more.
Absolutely everything had their old logo on it, and the costs of a rebrand can add up quickly – even if you only change one word of a company’s name.
Another tip when choosing a descriptive name is to avoid using your location in your business name. You may want to move or scale your business to other locations in the future – anything is possible. If you can think ahead and ensure that you won’t outgrow your brand name, you will save your business money and stress in the future.
The name of your business should reflect the personality of your brand. For ideas on how to identify the unique traits of your brand, take our fun and short brand personality quiz here:
2. Creating a New Word
Sony. Kodak. Google. These are all made-up words, and they work as powerful brand names because they don’t have anything that limits them.
All these companies have a history of why and how they got their name, but at the end of the day these words can mean anything and everything. It’s up to the companies to create the meanings of their own names, and if they can persuade people to perceive their brands in a cool way, the sky is the limit.
If your business is just starting out, creating a new word for your company name could be harder to position at first because not many people know who you are yet. However, with the right brand strategy you can still pull it off, and your brand can sound like a big and independent company that doesn’t even need to explain what it offers.
When I created the name of my business, Aventive Studio, I knew I wanted my company’s name to start with the letter A – and from there, I wanted to create a new word that captured the essence of my brand. Through the process of developing my own brand strategy, I pictured words like creaTIVE, inVENTIVE, and innovaTIVE that would all resonate with my target and reflect my brand attributes.
When it was all said and done, Aventive made the most sense for the name of my creative branding studio.
The most well-known brands of our time use clever names for their companies. Amazon is named after the world’s longest river. Nike shares its name with the Greek goddess of victory.
Pandora Radio became an early leader in ad-supported online music streaming, and it opened “Pandora’s box” of listening to music on demand. Lyft is conjured from the phrase “give me a lift,” which makes customers think of carpools, but the added “y” makes the company sound quirky, young, and innovative – three of Lyft’s brand attributes.
A clever brand name is timeless and can become iconic. Because these brand names all appeal to the subconscious part of our minds, we associate each company with certain attributes before we logically know what the companies do.
If you’re considering choosing a clever name for your company, brainstorm a list of places, phrases, landmarks, or mythological characters that share overarching traits with your company’s mission.
When it comes to a clever name, make sure you don’t get too clever – you don’t want to pick a brand name that means absolutely nothing to your target audience. Avoid using slang or trendy pop culture references that will fade in a couple of years.
4. Personal Name
Wendy’s is named after the daughter of its founder. Oscar Mayer is named after the founder of the company. Oprah Magazine is self-explanatory and recognizable.
The option of using your personal name in your brand name is especially appealing for those whose names are already popular. For example, Gary Vaynerchuk is famous and has a well-known personal brand — so it makes sense that he named his primary company VaynerMedia.
One of the pitfalls of this approach is that your company will always be linked with your name, even if you want to move on to other endeavors. Companies with names like Kylie Cosmetics will always be solely linked to one celebrity, and they are at risk of losing popularity if public opinion fades or PR scandals emerge.
With this in mind, many celebrities avoid using their own name for their companies. Kate Hudson’s Fabletics brand, Jessica Alba’s Honest Co, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop are three examples of companies that created stand-alone names despite their famous founders. These companies are prepared to appeal to a wider audience and grow in the future, with or without the celebrity face of the company.
If you plan to grow a personal brand that is tightly intertwined with the branding of your company, you can consider using your name in the company’s name. But for most new companies, the most effective strategy is to choose a clever, descriptive, or creative brand name that resonates with your target market instead.
Choosing a name for your business is an exciting and monumental decision. If you haven’t landed on the perfect brand name yet, we highly recommend that you develop your company’s brand strategy before moving forward. By working on your brand positioning first, you can ensure that your new name sets your company up for success.
At Aventive Studio, we can help you analyze the names of your competitors and dig into the origins, meanings, and brand attributes of their names. Contact us to learn more about using brand positioning, brand strategy, and competitor analysis to create the perfect name for your company.