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Brand Naming: It’s Kind of
a Big Deal

Coming up with the perfect name for your company, brand, or product is pretty important. Perhaps you’ve heard the story of Chevy Nova: an urban legend from the ‘70s tells that the car was an epic failure in Latin American markets because “no va,” roughly translated in Spanish, means “doesn’t go.” In fact, the Nova sold pretty well in some Spanish-speaking countries; the translation is loosely contrived; and the whole story is completely fabricated. However, it does highlight one important point. A lot could go wrong if you miss the mark with your brand name.

Make a Positive Impression

This is Rule #1. Whether you’re using existing words and phrases, or you’re inventing new contractions out of thin air, be sure that the result conjures only positive imagery. This means more than just avoiding words that are explicitly negative. You should also avoid words that even hint at a negative concept. If multiple people tell you that the name of your online banking site sounds like a digestive condition, you should consider going in another direction. You’re looking for something that evokes trust, confidence, and expertise, not heartburn.

Work in Your Space

You’re looking for a name that captures who you are as an organization, or that represents your brand in a clear and relatable way. Investigate some of the key ideas and phrases used in your field or industry. Take a look at what your top competitors are doing. Work toward a brand name that makes sense in this space, but that also differentiates you from other thought leaders in your sector. Think about ways that you can innovate while still offering prospective clients something familiar to hold on to. Seek a name that triggers a feeling as much as it captures the literal function of your brand or organization.

Whether it comes to you overnight in a dream, or it demands months of brainstorming, collaboration, and focus-grouping, your goal is to create a brand name that captures your company’s identity in a single breath. No pressure.