How to Create a Good Name for Your Business

written by Johannes Ippen. founder of Human Deluxe, @johannesippen

In this video, I walked you through our naming process. We usually work in a workshop format to create a long list of potential brand names for our clients. This can be done either remote or onsite. If you’ve missed this it the last time, make sure you watch the video first:

Once we have the long list of names, how do we make the selection? How do we distinguish between good and bad brand names?

The process is twofold: On the one side, we need too identify good brand names, on the other side we need to exclude all the bad names. So let’s look at the first part: How do you create a good brand name?

What makes a good brand name?

At Human Deluxe, we follow the teachings of Alexandra Watkins, who created the SMILE & SCRATCH principles: Good names make you smile, bad names leave you scratch your head. Of course, these are Acronyms, so let’s look at how to make yourself SMILE with a good name:

The qualities of a good name:

Suggestive: A good name will give you a hint of a positive brand experience. It will suggest the rest of the brand for you. Great examples of this are travel company KAYAK or streaming service Pandora: Once you open the streaming box, it would not stop playing – clever, right?

Meaningful A good name resonates with your target audience. Not only do they feel good, but they already know what to expect. Obvious examples of this are domain provider Namecheap, diet drink Slimfast or even good old Facebook.

Imagery A great name is visually evocative. It creates a picture in your head that people will instantly associate with your brand. Even if a name is abstract, it will be able to give your audience a certain association and idea of what it could look like. Think of brands like: Caterpilar or Citibank – these are great examples.

Legs Like a good hiker, a great name has strong legs. It lends itself to a theme for extra mileage: A name with great legs can shine through to the whole brand, directing the tonality and vocabulary. Personally, I like how twitter worked that in: A single microblogpost is a Tweet, the logo is a bird, even certain icons would be bird-themed, like the birdhouse Home button or the egg avatar.

Emotional A good brand name moves people. does not only work in their mind, it touches their heart. This works for both B2C and B2B companies. Business brands don’t have to be boring. In fact, they can swing up to greater heights if they have an emotional impact, distinguishing themselves from their dull competition. Brands that are brave enough to be emotional do connect with humans like no other. Take Yahoo! or Greenpeace for example – it works.

If you want to figure out if your brand is good, your name for these criterias. At best, a good name ticks all of them. At least, your name should check one or two criterias. At any cost, avoid head scratchers names. In our next article, we will explain what these are and how you identify them. Sign up for our newsletter to get this article earlier than everybody else, as well as the free name checker template.

written by Johannes Ippen. founder of Human Deluxe, @johannesippen