The Brand Name Game: Were Romeo (and Shakespeare) Wrong?

Mar 25, 2015
by Dr. Saadia Asif

Over 400 years ago, Romeo stood beneath Juliet’s balcony to proclaim

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

Ever try asking a brand expert that question? “What’s In a Name”? The answer will most likely be a resounding “Everything”. We live in a branded world, where names have power and having the right name in the right market, is the first step towards success.

So as you think about rebranding your company or perhaps starting one, you embark on a journey to find the perfect name, why not take a few moments to think about what that means. Do a sanity check to see if your brand name makes sense, not just to you but to your potential customers and stakeholders as well

While you think about it, here are a few tips to see you through the first few steps in finding a brand name that works.

Your Brand Name Should Be

Expressive: Evoking a response e.g. Amazon suggests breadth, Doodle suggests artistry, TheOne suggests exclusivity and more.

Evocative: Understood by the audience not just you, a good reason to avoid naming your company after yourself, Sam Spade Associates may mean something to you, but who else gets that.

Visual: Creating a visual image in the mind, a great example is a small coffee startup in Toronto called “Sparkplug Coffee” that creates images of scooters, motorbikes and that extra spark that coffee offers.

Your Brand Name Shouldn’t Be

Spelling Challenged: The English language is tough enough without adding your own brand of creativity to it. There are plenty of examples out there and some of them are quite well known, but remember, just because everyone else is jumping off a cliff, doesn’t mean you have to.

Cheap Imitations: The use of the word “cheap” here is deliberate. Using the “i” just makes you a wannabe, not a brand. Adding the word “Cloud” doesn’t make you current with the latest technology.

Restrictive: Just because you are starting your business selling widgets, doesn’t mean that you will only ever sell them. Give yourself some leeway to expand. It’s hard to be called the “The Dollar Store” when hardly anything you sell actually costs a dollar.

Pronounceable: If Siri can’t recognize your brand name when you pronounce it, it’s a good bet that most people will not be able to either. Avoid the curse of constantly correcting or spelling out your brand name to others. I’m looking at you Umpqua, Huawei, Qriocity and so many more.

In the end, Shakespeare may have been right about the question but we as brand experts continue to debate the answer.

In the end, Shakespeare may have been right about the question but we as brand experts continue to debate the answer.

If you’re looking for some more fun insights into the wonderful world of brand names, give “Hello My Name Is Awesome” by Alexandra Watkins a read or for a quick version of it, check out “The Secrets Of Creating Great Brand Names” on at

In search of something a little more personalized and specific, why not meet us for a coffee or simply ask us a question through our Contact and Questions pages.

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