Choosing a brand name for your business: A 5-step guide (2023)

Looking for the perfect brand name for your new startup?

There’s no doubt that choosing the perfect brand name is one of the most exciting and important elements of startup branding… But it’s also one of the hardest.

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Get it right, and you’re a household name, like Airbnb, Uber, or Pepsi.

Butif you get it wrong, youcouldbe the next “Tea Party Bookshop” (YIKES!). Then you may be forced to rebrand or face embarrassment, failure or even aggression.

Building a brand and developing a strong brand identity takes time and involves much more than a slogan and a logo. Before jumping into choosing a brand name, check out this video to get the basics of building a brand identity.

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In this article, we’re going to run through the following 5 steps that will help you come up with some brand name ideas that will work for your business:

  • Creating a brand avatar
  • Creating a brand archetype
  • Generating brand name ideas
  • Checking brand name availability
  • Testing your brand name

Let’s jump in!

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Step 1: Create your brand avatar

Choosing a brand name for your business: A 5-step guide (2)

No- not THAT Avatar!

(Video) How to Choose a Great Business Name | Creating an Amazing Brand

Before you even begin to think about a name for your brand, it’s imperative to identify, as precisely as possible, the characteristics of the ideal customer for your brand’s products or services.

If you don’t know who you’re creating your brand for, then you will never find a compelling name.

Defining your target customer will come up when you’re creating your marketing and business strategies too, so it’s well worth the effort. It’s just that a lot of startups can be tempted to define their brand name right away – before they’ve fleshed out these details.

Sure – come up with a working title. But don’t definitively set your brand name until you’re sure it will appeal to your target audience and reflect your brand values.

The creation of effective brand avatars is, to some extent, an intuitive and creative process, but it’s important to use hard data as well.

Web tools such as Alexa can provide significant demographic information about visitors to competitors’ websites, including, age, gender, and location.

Looking at competitors’ Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts can also provide some useful “soft” intelligence about their customer base and onlinefollowing. From these sources, you should be able to easilyconstruct a clear picture of the customer your brand is targeting.

But this is just the beginning…

Step 2: Create your brand archetype

Having created your brand avatar, it is also necessary to define a brand archetype when coming up with a brand name that will work.

Put simply, the goal is to understand as clearly as possible what your brand will mean or represent, which is an essential prerequisite for deciding upon the best brand name to attract potential customers.

Choosing a brand name for your business: A 5-step guide (3)

The concept of the archetype is derived from Jungian psychology, but there is no need to go deep into that.

For the purpose of picking a brand name, it’s only necessary to understand that the avatar is the personification of your customer while the archetype is the personification of your company, along with its products or services.

How will your brand create an emotional resonance with your customers?

(Video) How to create a great brand name | Jonathan Bell

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Another helpful way to think of this is to ask yourself how your brand will create an emotional resonance with your intended customers. What brand values do you want to communicate? Would a pun or play on words be appropriate for the image you would like to build for your business? Or do you want to bring a sense of luxury to mind?

You want your brand name to indicate something about who you are or what you do.

Look at these two brand name examples for inspiration:

  • Nike: This well-known brand is also the name of the ancient Greek Goddess who personified victory. There’s a whole lot of powerful meaning behind those four letters.
  • Dove: Doves conjure up feminine images of purity and softness. Ideal for a toiletry brand.

There are 12 main brand archetypes, including the Hero, the Innocent, and the Outlaw, to name just a few. Spend some time deciding which one fits your brand the best. Alternatively, you can take the ‘Discover Your Brand Archetype Quiz‘ to make the process even easier.

It’s also a good idea to takesome time with your team to think about the non-verbal meanings and emotional associations you want for your brand. When you’ve decided, make sure to note them down so you can add them to your branding guidelines in future. This will helpensure the different elements of your branding are consistent, cohesive and effective.

If you need some inspiration, this guide includes some great insights on how to create your own brand style guide.

Step 3: Generate brand name ideas

Choosing a brand name for your business: A 5-step guide (5)

The next task is to generate brand name ideas, which both represent your brand archetype and appeal to your brand avatar. There are no hard and fast rules for this, but here are some general principles that can help you out.

Keep your brand name simple

The perfect brand name for your startup will generally be short, simple and easy to say. Ideally, it will be a two-syllable word, as these generally gain more traction with target audiences and are more memorable.

Often a successful startup will develop a range of products, so your brand name shouldn’t be too specific. For example, although Footjoy is probably best known for making quality golf shoes, its name is “Footjoy” not “Footjoy Golf Shoes”, as the company now also sells a wide range of golfing and outdoor gear.

With this in mind, you can start brainstorming brand name ideas.

(Video) How To Change Your Business Address In 5 Minutes (2022)

Use word association to brainstorm brand name ideas

Start with some simple word association games. Write down, say or shout as many words associated with your brand as possible.

You want ideally to have dozens, or even hundreds, of contenders. These can then be narrowed down to just a few which you or your team think are worth testing out. A good place to start is with this in-depth article from Squadhelp, which exhausts all angles of choosing a brand.

If you’re working on your own, friends and family may be able to give you useful feedback.

To kickstart the process, you might try inventing a completely new word or combining two ordinary words to form a new one – Footjoy is an example of this.

If you can’t get the creative juices flowing, consider flipping through an online thesaurus for a few minutes:

  1. Enter a possible name for your startup brand and the thesaurus will generate a list of synonyms and related words.
  2. You can then enter some of these related words to gather even more ideas.
  3. Create a spreadsheet of the results.
  4. Recombine them to create completely new, though often nonsensical, words.

Use online tools to grow your brand name list

Once you’ve got this spreadsheet, try going over to Name Mesh and throw some of the words into its brand name generator.

If that’s not helping, you can also take a look at these 7 popular types of brand namesfor even more thought-provoking ideas.

Consider using foreign language words

For more options, you might also consider using non-English words. Those from the romance languages – like French, Spanish or Italian – are often very effective in naming luxury goods, particularly in markets such as clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, perfume, food, and wine.

But caution is required…Secondary meanings in local slang may convey the opposite of what’s intended, or even cause serious offense. Use Google Translate or do a simple web and social media search to mitigate this risk of this happening.

Step 4: Check the availability of your best brand name ideas

Choosing a brand name for your business: A 5-step guide (6)

Once you have a shortlist of possible brand names, it is important to check that they are not currently in use. Make sure they aren’t already trademarked by another business and that a suitable domain name is available. To do this, you should:

  1. Do a domain name search with one of the main providers, such as GoDaddy. If you plan to use branded links as part of your branding strategy, you can also use Rebrandly’s domain name search, which can be filtered by industry. This is a quick and effective way to check if someone else is using your brand name ideas. But it is wise to also follow this up with a simple Google search.
  2. Look for Facebook pages and Twitter accounts using the same or a similar brand name.
  3. Check that your potential startup names are not trademark protected. Search at the US Patent Officeor use a service such as Namechkto do this.

You can find out more about how to choose a domain name for your brand and how they can be used for branded links in the video below.

Step 5: Test your brand name

Before finally deciding on the perfect brand name for your company, it’s a good idea to test your shortlist. This will let you figure out how appealing and memorable your potential customers find them.

Ifyou have existing customers for other products, you could survey them via Facebook, email, or one of many other online survey tools.

If you are a brand new startup, the testing may form just part of your market research, which may be conducted among family, friends, colleagues and on social media.

(Video) Virtual Assistant Startup Checklist (Step-By-Step Guide) ✨

Whatever the case, make sure you test your chosen brand name thoroughly and objectively. If people are giving you negative responses or think you sell baseball bats when you are supposed to sell golf shoes, you’ll know you’re missing the mark.

Remain skeptical. Pay attention not only to what people say and how they respond – but also their very initial reaction.

Select the perfect brand name
Choosing a brand name for your business: A 5-step guide (7)

Finally, once you’ve properly vetted and tested your brand name, you can start setting up your online presence.

So go out there, capture all the relevant domains, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and anything else necessary to finalize the process. Build your logo around your chosen brand name and start to grow a relevant and trusted brand that’s true to your values.

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Some final thoughts…

Your brand name will only be one part of the long-term development of your brand.Consider the example of Apple, one of the world’s most powerful brands whose name bears no relation to its products at all.

This was a process. There are many options when finding the perfect brand name and, ultimately, this will become a very important piece of your company’s identity.

Brands are more than names and logos. So define your company and what you stand for, and share it with the world.

Have you recently started your own business? Share the process you used to find the perfect brand name with us in the comments below.

→ Download Now: How To Build A Brand [FREE GUIDE]

Further Reading:

  • How to find the perfect domain for your custom link shortener
  • How to build brand trust on social media
  • HTTPS for custom short URLs – Why it’s so important for your brand
  • How to create branded short links

This Article is About:

  • How to pick the perfect brand name
  • Brand name ideas
  • Choosing a brand name
  • Brand name examples

Originally Posted: June 7th, 2016.
Post Updated:January 31st, 2019.




How do you name a brand in 10 steps? ›

How to Name a Brand in 10 Steps
  1. Develop Your Brand Strategy. ...
  2. Research the Market, Competitors, and Consumers. ...
  3. Identify the Message Your Brand Should Communicate. ...
  4. Brainstorm without Judging. ...
  5. Create a Short List. ...
  6. Trademark and Domain Name Availability Search. ...
  7. Create a Shorter Short List. ...
  8. Develop Brand Marketing Mock-ups.
26 Sept 2011

How do I choose a business name? ›

7 Tips for Choosing a Business Name
  1. Follow Your State's Naming Guidelines. ...
  2. Don't Pick a Name That's Too Similar to a Competitor's Name. ...
  3. Choose a Name That People Can Spell and Pronounce. ...
  4. Make Your Name Web-Friendly. ...
  5. Be Memorable But Not Too Unique. ...
  6. Pick a Name that's Consistent With Your Brand. ...
  7. Don't Limit Yourself.

Why you choose your business name? ›

Your business name is often your chance to give an excellent first impression. And it's necessary to have a strong name to make a powerful impact. The right name is a necessary key to branding success. Your customer interacts with a name before anything else.

What is business name example? ›

For example, a company's trade name is Mike's, but their legal business name is Mike's Corporation. A business can opt to have their business name and trade name be the same. A trade name may also be called a doing business as (DBA) name. It's the name the public sees.

What are the 5 A's of personal branding? ›

These are the 5 A's of personal branding:
  • Authenticity.
  • Authority.
  • Aspiration.
  • Affinity.
  • Artisanat.
24 Jul 2022

Which qualities a good brand name should have? ›

A good brand name should have following characteristics:
  • It should be unique/distinctive (for instance- Kodak, Mustang)
  • It should be extendable.
  • It should be easy to pronounce, identified and memorized. ...
  • It should give an idea about product's qualities and benefits (For instance- Swift, Quickfix, Lipguard.)

What are the essentials of a good brand name? ›

The 10 essential qualities of great brand names
  • Engaging & memorable. ...
  • Distinctive, provocative, buzz-inspiring. ...
  • Appropriate for your brand. ...
  • Flexible and enduring. ...
  • Culturally sensitive. ...
  • Available and protectable. ...
  • Concise. ...
  • Easy to spell and pronounce.

What are 3 types of brand names? ›

Brand names fall into three fundamental categories: descriptive, suggestive, and empty vessel. The three categories are like archetypes.

What is a famous brand name? ›

Business news: In pictures
RankBrandValue ($m)
66 more rows
5 Oct 2016

How do you brainstorm a brand name? ›

7 creative business naming brainstorming tips
  1. 7 business naming tips. Ready to come up with a business name for your new venture, but not sure where to start? ...
  2. Perform a word dump. ...
  3. Try alternate spelling. ...
  4. Use a thesaurus. ...
  5. Create a mood board. ...
  6. Play with foreign languages. ...
  7. Take a drive. ...
  8. Hold a focus group.
5 Feb 2018

What are the 7 positioning strategies? ›

The seven basic types of positioning strategies are:
  • Product characteristics or consumer benefits. In using this strategy for positioning, the focus is on quality. ...
  • Pricing. ...
  • Use or application. ...
  • Product process. ...
  • Product class. ...
  • Cultural symbols. ...
  • Competitors (relation to)

What makes a brand successful? ›

Have a distinctive personality that is appropriate for your target audience. Be consistent in its messaging and design, reinforcing the position, promise and personality at each touch point. Demonstrate the value that your company provides for the customer, and how that value is created.

How do you create a branding plan? ›

A 10-Step Brand Development Strategy
  1. Consider your overall business strategy. ...
  2. Identify your target clients. ...
  3. Research your target client group. ...
  4. Develop your brand positioning. ...
  5. Develop your messaging strategy. ...
  6. Develop your name, logo and tagline. ...
  7. Develop your content marketing strategy. ...
  8. Develop your website.
21 Sept 2022

How would you develop a brand name? ›

How to Name a Brand in 10 Steps
  1. Develop Your Brand Strategy. ...
  2. Research the Market, Competitors, and Consumers. ...
  3. Identify the Message Your Brand Should Communicate. ...
  4. Brainstorm without Judging. ...
  5. Create a Short List. ...
  6. Trademark and Domain Name Availability Search. ...
  7. Create a Shorter Short List. ...
  8. Develop Brand Marketing Mock-ups.
26 Sept 2011

What are the things to consider in developing a brand name? ›

Here are 7 things to consider when naming your brand:
  • Is Your Name Memorable? ...
  • Give Some Visual Vigor. ...
  • Foster Positive Brand Connection. ...
  • Clearly Identify. ...
  • Domain Name. ...
  • Similar Names. ...
  • Acronyms.
21 Sept 2017

What is a brand name example? ›

A brand name is the name that you use to identify the family of products or services that you offer or a single line of products or services that you offer. For example, Nike is the brand name used on most products manufactured by Nike, Inc. In this example, the business name and brand name are the same.

What makes a good brand? ›

A good brand has a clear focus, knows their target audience, has a defined mission, knows their competition and USP, can identify their key values, tell their story and have a brand identity reflective of these goals, and does all of this consistently.

What makes a brand successful? ›

Have a distinctive personality that is appropriate for your target audience. Be consistent in its messaging and design, reinforcing the position, promise and personality at each touch point. Demonstrate the value that your company provides for the customer, and how that value is created.

What are elements of a brand? ›

The Six Elements of a Brand
  • Brand voice.
  • Brand identity.
  • Brand promise.
  • Brand values.
  • Brand targeting.
  • Brand positioning.
7 Aug 2020

How do I start a small business brand? ›

The 7 Steps of Brand Development
  1. Outline Your Brand's Purpose. ...
  2. Research Competitor Brands. ...
  3. Decide on Your Target Audience. ...
  4. Determine Your Brand Personality. ...
  5. Develop a Brand Story and Messaging. ...
  6. Create a Visual Identity. ...
  7. Integrate Your Brand Into Your Business.
11 Jan 2021

How do I choose a name? ›

How to pick the perfect baby name
  1. Avoid passing trends.
  2. Remember that classic names don't have to be boring.
  3. Take a look at your family tree.
  4. Honor your culture.
  5. Look up meanings.
  6. Contemplate all possible nicknames.
  7. Consider the importance of the middle name.
  8. Don't forget about the initials.

Why is brand name Important? ›

Branding is important because not only is it what makes a memorable impression on consumers but it allows your customers and clients to know what to expect from your company. It is a way of distinguishing yourself from the competitors and clarifying what it is you offer that makes you the better choice.


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