11 steps to choosing your perfect brand name

A recent article in The Marketer highlighted the steps that can be taken when trying to choose a brand name. What emerged was an 11-step process to be conducted in a group brainstorming session or workshop, using idea generation and elimination to arrive at a brand name everyone loves.

The 11-step process to naming your brand was as follows:

  1. Assemble a diverse team – ensure a wide variety of people are present, who are willing to put forward different and creative ideas
  2. Discuss product positioning and target market – ensure that all ideas are aligned with a central value proposition or brand promise
  3. Agree criteria by which the brand name will be chosen – take into account the industry and market, for example, professional sounding names for b2b brands
  4. Describe what it does – write down short explanations that describe what the product offering does, and decide on the explanation that best describes the product
  5. Describe product features and what makes it different – write down a list of unique product features that will distinguish your brand
  6. Describe the main benefits of using the product – ask yourself what will the customer gain from using this product?
  7. Start to generate names – generate names based on the lists above, taking into account product features and the main benefits
  8. Generate random words – many brand names are not related to products at all so making a list of random words can always reveal potential brand names
  9. Decide on a shortlist – using the names and random words generated, decide on the best names and put these into a shortlist
  10. Make sure the names selected are available – check trademark and domain name availability
  11. Mull it over – make sure you leave enough time to think about the brand name chosen, as your initial thoughts may change with time

This is a great list, but we would add one further step at the end of the process: do your research! The world of marketing is full of examples of brand names that have failed because companies neglected to, for example, think about how the name translated into other languages or didn’t consider all the connotations associated with the chosen name. Whether this takes the shape of ‘formal’, structured brand research or is a more informal ‘straw poll’, it’s at the very least enlightening – and often absolutely crucial – to get a second, third and fourth opinion before you go too far down the road with an inappropriate brand name.

To read more about brand names, why not take a look at our white paper ‘What’s In A Name?’. Or, alternatively, check out our infographic on effective brand names.

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