The Ultimate Guide to Naming Your Brand – What Not to Do and How to Get it Right

Blog, Branding & Design

Naming your brand can be challenging, and a poorly chosen name can lead to disaster. The right name can communicate your brand’s values and help you stand out in a crowded market, while a bad name can confuse your customers and even harm your brand.

That’s why it’s important to avoid common mistakes when choosing a name for your brand. In this article, we’ll highlight what most businesses do wrong when trying to find the perfect name and provide you with a list of common naming mistakes and examples of what makes a name bad.

Common Mistakes in Finding the Perfect Brand Name

It’s important to take the time to consider the implications of your chosen name carefully. So, let’s dive into the most common mistakes to avoid when finding the perfect brand name.

1. Overthinking the Name
They want to find a name that perfectly represents their brand, but they spend too much time trying to find the perfect name and not enough time developing their brand.

2. Relying on Trends
Another mistake businesses make is relying on trends when choosing a name. They think that a trendy name will help their brand stand out, but the truth is that trendiness is often short-lived and can quickly make a brand seem outdated.

3. Ignoring the Competition
When choosing a name, it’s important to consider the competition. Businesses often choose a name that sounds similar to other brands in their industry, which can lead to confusion and make it difficult for customers to distinguish one brand from another.

4. Neglecting to Check for Trademarks
Before choosing a name, it’s essential to check for trademarks. Using a name that’s already trademarked can lead to legal problems and damage your brand.

 

List of Common Naming Mistakes and Examples

1. Using Punctuation or Numbers in the Name
Using punctuation or numbers in a name can make it difficult for customers to remember and can make your brand seem unprofessional. For example, “1-800-Flowers” may be memorable, but it’s not the most professional-sounding name.

2. Choosing a Name That’s Too Similar to Another Brand
Choosing a name that’s too similar to another brand can lead to confusion and damage to your brand. For example, if there’s already a popular brand called “Apple,” choosing a name like “Aple” could lead to confusion and hurt your brand.

3. Choosing a Name That’s Too Similar to a Common Word
Choosing a name that’s too similar to a common word can lead to confusion and make your brand seem unprofessional. For example, if your brand is called “Bite,” customers may associate it with the verb “to bite” rather than your brand.

 

Common Examples of What Makes a Name Bad

1. Unpronounceable or Hard to Remember
Choosing a name that’s difficult to pronounce or remember can make it difficult for customers to connect with your brand. For example, if your brand is called “Xzylkzy,” customers are unlikely to remember it, and it won’t help your brand stand out.

2. Off-Putting or Offensive
Choosing a name that’s off-putting or offensive can damage your brand and alienate potential customers. For example, if your brand is called “RacistRags,” customers are unlikely to take your brand seriously, and it will likely harm your reputation.

3. Negative Connotations
A name that makes people think of something bad can turn away potential customers and hurt the reputation of your brand.

4. Limited Appeal
A name that only appeals to a small group may stop your brand from growing and keep people from buying from you.

5. Cultural Insensitivity
A name that is offensive to certain groups or doesn’t consider their culture can hurt your brand’s reputation and turn away potential customers.

6.Trademark Infringement
Choosing a name already trademarked by another company can lead to legal issues and harm your brand’s reputation.

Translation Mistakes in Other Languages

When expanding your brand globally, it’s important to consider how your brand name will translate into other languages. Translation mistakes can lead to embarrassing or offensive mistakes and harm your brand’s reputation. Some common examples of translation mistakes include:

1. Double Meanings: A name with a different meaning in another language can lead to confusion or negative connotations. For example, the brand name “Nike” means “impossible” in some languages, which can confuse customers.

2. Cultural Differences: A name that may be appropriate in one culture may not be in another. For example, the brand name “Pepsi” means “pepsi-cola” in the United States, but in China, it translates to “pay per sip,” which can be off-putting for customers.

3. Spelling Mistakes: Incorrectly translating a brand name into another language can lead to spelling mistakes and harm your brand’s reputation. For example, the brand name “Ford” was translated into Spanish as “FoRd,” which led to confusion among Spanish-speaking customers.

4. Lack of Context: A name that may be appropriate in one context may not be in another. For example, the brand name “Amazon” is well-known and recognizable in the United States, but in some countries, it may translate to “a large river” or “a type of bird”.

Avoid These Mistakes When Naming Your Brand

When naming your brand, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can harm your brand’s reputation and limit its success. Here are some key tips to keep in mind as you navigate the process:

1. Avoid Common Names: Choosing a name that is too common can make it difficult for customers to differentiate your brand from others and harm your brand recognition. For example, “Smith” is a common surname, and using it as a brand name would be too generic and easily forgotten.

2. Remove Brand Clutter for Deep Connection and Clear Communication: By removing unnecessary words or elements from your brand name, you can create a deep connection with your target audience and communicate your brand’s values more clearly. For example, a brand name like “Happy Home Cleaning Services” can be simplified to “Happy Home” for a clearer and more memorable name.

3. Avoid Trademark Conflict: Before finalizing your brand name, it’s important to conduct a trademark search to ensure that your chosen name is not already trademarked by another company. This can save you time and money in the long run and prevent legal issues.

4. Choose a Matching Domain Name: In today’s digital age, having a matching domain name is crucial for your brand’s online presence. Choose a domain name that is easy to remember and type and that accurately represents your brand.

5. Use Audience Testing: Before finalizing your brand name, it’s important to test it with your target audience to see if it resonates with them. This can help you identify any potential issues and make adjustments before launching your brand.

6. Establish Your Tone: Your brand name should accurately reflect the tone and personality of your brand. For example, a brand name like “FunTime Entertainment” conveys a playful and fun tone, while a brand name like “Elegant Events” conveys sophistication and elegance. Failing to establish your tone can result in a brand name that is too generic or off-putting to your target audience.

10 Common Naming Mistakes

1. Choosing a Name that is Too Generic: Choosing a name that is too common or unoriginal can make it difficult for customers to differentiate your brand from others and harm your brand recognition.

2. Choosing a Name that is Hard to Pronounce or Spell: Choosing a name that is difficult to pronounce or spell can make it difficult for customers to remember and find your brand, leading to lost sales and reduced brand recognition.

3. Using a Name that is Too Long: A name that is too long or complicated can be difficult for customers to remember and harm your brand recognition.

4. Ignoring Trademark Issues: Before finalizing your brand name, it’s important to conduct a trademark search to ensure that your chosen name is not already trademarked by another company.

5. Failing to Consider the Domain Name: In today’s digital age, having a matching domain name is crucial for your brand’s online presence. Choose a domain name that is easy to remember and type and that accurately represents your brand.

6. Choosing a Name with Negative Connotations: Choosing a name that has negative connotations in another language or culture can harm your brand’s reputation and limit its success.

7. Using Metaphors or Visual Imagery that is Confusing: Metaphors and visual imagery can be powerful tools for branding, but choosing images and metaphors that accurately represent your brand and are easily understood by your target audience. You can check out the Squadhelp naming contest to help you with creativity in naming your brand.

8. Using Words with Multiple Meanings: Choosing a name that has multiple meanings can lead to confusion and harm your brand’s reputation.

9. Using Words with Negative Connotations: Choosing a name that has negative connotations in the language or culture of your target audience can harm your brand’s reputation and limit its success.

10. Failing to Consider Localization Issues: When expanding your brand globally, it’s important to consider how your brand name will translate into other languages and cultures and to work with native speakers and professional translators to ensure accuracy.

Conclusion

In conclusion, naming your brand is a critical decision that can have a lasting impact on its success.

By avoiding common mistakes such as choosing a name that is too generic, ignoring trademark issues, or using a name with negative connotations, you can create a memorable and effective brand name that connects with your target audience and sets your brand up for success.

Remember to consider the domain name, audience testing, and localization issues, and work with professionals to ensure the success of your brand name. With careful consideration and attention to detail, you can create a brand name that accurately represents your brand and supports its growth and success for years to come.

Grant Polachek

Grant Polachek is the head of branding at Squadhelp.com, 3X Inc 5000 company and the world’s #1 business naming platform, where I’ve completed more than 1000 brand naming projects for everyone from early-stage startups to leading enterprises such as Pepsi, Dell, DuPont, Hilton, Pillips, Dr. Pepper, Nestle, Marmon, and more. .

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