What’s in a name? How to name a brand

When deciding how to name a brand for our clients, it’s helpful (and often amusing) to imagine what it would be like to meet that brand for the first time at a party. Have you ever been introduced to someone and instantly forgotten their name? Or worse still, not been able to pronounce it in the first place?

We’ve all been there. Speaking from experience, after such an awkward start it’s unlikely your first meeting will result in a lifelong friendship. So, how can brands ensure consumers will remember their name for years to come?

Start with the goal in mind.

The need for a brand name usually suggests a new product or service is entering the market, with the occasional brand overhaul and relaunch thrown in. Either way, the goal of a new brand name is to stand out, capturing attention that can then be converted into market share. To that end, it helps to draw clear lines between your brand name, your offering or values.

Be different. But not too different.

Differentiation is a balancing act; ensuring a name is different enough from competitors’, without being so obscure it fails to resonate with consumers. For a great example of this in action, discover what became of Gaelic-named ‘Buth Bheag Candle Company’, as Denvir redeveloped and relaunched the brand for global markets.

Plan to withstand the test of time.

Once consumers become familiar with your brand offering and values, its name will serve as a recall for everything your brand stands for. However, there are new people born every second, growing up to become independent, active consumers. Each new generation will continue to discover your brand, and its name will continue to do the job it did on the first day you launched. Avoiding ‘trending’ concepts and passing fads will help ensure your name stands the test of time.

Know your brand strategy.

A fully developed marketing strategy is a crucial tool for achieving everything we have mentioned so far. After all, how can a brand name convey your offering, differentiate from competitors, and resonate with consumers, without first defining your offering, the rivals in your market, and who your target audience is.

At Denvir, we conduct full brand strategy workshops before even starting to think about how to name a brand. Even then, we would seek to gather consumer feedback on several naming options before choosing the one which best resonates with the target audience.

By kicking-off each project with an extensive brand strategy workshop, we not only ensure the right name is chosen, but that every aspect of the brand identity can be developed from an informed position. This allows us to reduce the risk of entering competitive new markets and ensure the most successful brand launch possible for all out clients.

There’s always an exception.

The trouble with trying to explain how to name a brand is that there are always examples that go against the grain.


Knock-off brands are nothing new, but the emergence of ‘’budget’’ supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl has taken it to new heights. We’re now seeing a lot of brands that seemingly make no effort to differentiate from their competitors. However, the “brands” in these stores are not true brands. You will not find them in any other supermarket, and since Aldi and Lidl don’t (usually) stock big-name brands, there is no need to differentiate.

Instead, they play off the popularity of these major brands by using copycat names and packaging to say “here is your like-for-like replacement brand” in an environment where the ‘real-deal’ is not available. Not a viable strategy for brands in the wider market.

Obscure names.

If there was ever a name that had to be made-up nonsense, it’s Google. There is no way that it could possibly suggest anything to do with the service it offers, right? Wrong. The name Google actually (tenuously) adheres to all our advice above. Inspired by ‘googol’ (the word for the number 1 followed by 100 zeros), the name is a nod to the huge volume of data the founders wanted to make searchable!

It’s obscure, but it worked at launch because the search engine market really didn’t exist yet. Almost everyone was funnelled into Google from the get-go. We don’t ‘search’ for information online, we ‘Google’ it. Their brand made the industry, so the founders could call it whatever they wanted. This isn’t a luxury many brands enjoy.

Unless you’re the next Google, it would probably be a good idea to let us help you through the process of naming your brand. And if you are the next Google, feel free to contact us at info@denvirmaketing.com. We’d love to help you build and launch your brand!