Great brand names- Luck of the draw or something more?

Well, we’d like to think it’s the latter.

There’s more than one reason why a brand name is important. From igniting curiosity to brand recall, a good brand name plays an important part in every step of the branding process. When used properly, it can be a major player in shaping your brand’s perception.

So, is there a way in which you can figure out if your brand name is the one that you need?  

The answer to that question is definite resounding yes! In fact, there’s more than one way of making sure you have the right brand name!

Take for example, what Alexandra Watkins has to say.

She’s the founder of the company EatMyWords and subscribes to a philosophy which ensures each brand name is relevant and creative. In her book Hello, My Name is Awesome: How to Create Brand Names That Stick“, Watkins outlines a method called the Smile and Scratch test as a yardstick for good brand naming practices.


The Smile method outlines rules that you should follow while naming your brand.

Suggestive: Your brand name is the first thing your potential customer sees and an inventive way of showing who you are can do wonders in garnering attention. Twitter is a great example of this concept.

Meaningful: Though not the most stringent of the 5 attributes, a name that captures what you do creatively can easily pique the interest of your audience. Take Shopper’s Stop, for instance. It’s direct, relevant and fun. With a name like that, there’s no two ways where the curious shopper ends up.

Imagery:  Sometimes words can play an integral part in the presentation of a brand image. The brand Jaguar is a prime example of this. The jungle cat’s association with smoothness and elegance is a perfect metaphor for the product of a high-end automobile manufacturer.

Legs: Extend a theme to your brand. Take Apple, for instance. Since the launch of the iPod, the technology giants have consistently produced products with the lowercase ‘i’ in front of their name. The strategy worked as nowadays any product with the lowercase ‘i’ is immediately linked to the brand.    

Emotional:  Always cater to your audience. As the same word can elicit different responses to people, it’s important to use words and phrases that will draw out the best response from potential customers.


The Scratch guidelines, on the other hand, represent the most common mistakes a company makes when naming their brand:

Spelling-challenged: This is the most common mistake brands make when picking their name. Names that don’t sound like they’re spelt are a complete no-no as it makes life difficult for the customer.

Copycat: There really isn’t any benefit in copying! In the case of brand naming, it could easily lead to a case of mistaken identity. After all, the last thing you’d want is your customer mistaking you for something else entirely!

Restrictive:This may seem inapplicable to some big brands but we assure you, that’s generally not the case. Random words with no connect to your service will often dissuade customers from seeing what you have to offer.

Annoying: Avoid names that seem forced. The more effort a customer has to put into remembering your name, the lesser the chances of having a good brand recall.

Tame: This is a big threat that everybody tries to avoid…and for good reason. Flat and uninspired names just don’t build enough appeal to convert potential leads into fulfilled customers.

Curse of knowledge: Insider information is great but when your job is to keep increasing your clients, it’s the wrong way to go. By maintaining a conversation that’s easily understood, you make sure you have a large engagement which is great for your business.

Hard to pronounce: This is an obvious one, isn’t it? The last thing that you’d want is your customer trying to recommending your company to a friend and then being unable to say your name? Hard names are a bane of brand recall.

There’s no doubting the power of a name. Having a name that is not only understandable, but also excites and intrigues potential clientele eventually results in greater leads; a major goal for all brands. To quote Alexandra:

‘A name should always put a smile on your face, not make you scratch your head.’

We couldn’t agree more.