@danipuntov / November 06, 2018

A good brand name? Let's talk about Naming!

When you have a branding project in hand with all its common features and details, the choice of naming should be one of the first steps. A brand name is a very important thing to relegate your decision to later. for example. to give birth to a logo. The naming has to do with the DNA of a brand, it is not an affectionate appellative. And the brand is made from the name, from the logo. from the contents and in any communication channel and opportunity to contact the public.

El Naming en marketing. INNN

It's not naming a newborn logo, it's something else

As i said at the beginning, the name of a brand does not arise in response to your logo. The name of a brand comes to materialize in a textual signifier (something pronounceable) what the entity is or wants to be. If we had to establish work phases for a branding project here and now, the naming choice phase would go first just after the mandatory strategic studies that derive from a well-done briefing. At the most, an event of virtuous simultaneity between name and logo could be accepted, as a natural consequence of a certain graphic universe that marks the way for us.

"To mark the entity with a good naming seems to me an act of semantic justice, when it happens, the world is a bit better."

These brand names can be of various kinds. In fact, there are different typologies depending on the variable that is analyzed. Considering its value we could classify the following brand names:

  • Arbitary. They are names invented and do not express anything specifically.
  • Neologisms. Names that are new but based on existing ones.
  • Denotative. With a certain and concrete meaning. They have a descriptive function, whether related to the activity of the company, its founder, its geographical location…
  • Acronyms. They also have a descriptive role as a brand name, but through its initials.
  • Evocative or Connotative. They transmit values beyond their meaning. They suggest something in a conceptual way. 


Brand names that made history

The history of naming is rich in curiosities, impeccable episodes, striking adventures and calamitous misadventures. It is said that the first registered trademark in history was the British brewery Bass & Co Pale Ale, back in 1876. But even, if we do not consider the registration requirement, there are cases or much older trademark. For example, the mythical Japanese company Kongo Gumi founded in 578 or the ingenious anagram Vesuvinum found in Pompeia wine jars. 

Normally a good naming is if it has series of qualities which I will highlight:

  1. Differentiation. The brand name must provide notoriety and improve our positioning with consistency.
  2. Memorability. That is, it is enduring in the minds of consumers. The sonority has a lot to say in this respect.
  3. Expressivity. The naming gives more and more importance to the expressive and emotional power. The name is intended to be able to project brand values.
  4. Context. I refer to the social and geographical context (that is, the name has to adapt well to the markets to which it is intended), and also to the visual context (the typographical signs must work well in sight, both by themselves and in coexistence with a logo if it is the case).

How important is the context. A paradigmatic case of this is found in the Kodak brand and its adaptation to its global context. This word was chosen exclusively for its abstract nature anywhere on the planet. That is to say “Kodak” did not give rise to unwanted interpretation or connotation in any known language. A priority for a company that was present throughout the world. In contrast to Kodak, I remember the case of Mitsubishi and its “Pajero” model (“Montero” for Spanish-speaking markets). 

In the history of marketing, great descriptive names abound, but of all of them I am here with the most famous and contradictory: Coca-Cola. What did this brew describe in its brand name? Well two of its main components: coca leaves and cola nut. However, there is no more mysterious and controversial composition in the world of industrial secrets. The formula of Coca-Cola is a myth of the twentieth century and its naming plays, perhaps accidentally with this debate. This brand does something like constantly describe and remember an enigma. 

If the description is synthesized in acronyms or abbreviations, acronyms can emerge as powerful and coherent as ASICS (Anima Sana In Corpore Sano) or LEGO (from the Danish expression "leg godt": “play well”).

For its part, the acronym IKEA comes from the initials of Ingvar Kamprad (its founder), Elmtaryd (the farm where he grew up) and Agunnaryd (the Swedish village where the farm was located). Thus we understand a little better the policy of namings that IKEA follows for its products: the animal, natural and geographical kingdom or the beautiful Scandinavia as a source of inspiration. 

Attention. Let's listen to the voice of the creators of Google: “The term Google reflects the mission of the company to organize the immense amount of information available on the web and in the world”. And what was the name inspired? In the word googol, a mathematical concept of the 30s that designated a one followed by a hundred zeros, something that reminded in some way to the huge amount of information that exists on the internet. 

Google Naming
A phonetic transcription error turned Googol into Google. | INNN

This is how we create brands in INNN

At INNN we understand brands as entities that unite strategic meanings. Meanings that must provide added value in a differential way for the perception of its public. The name and the visual representation of a brand are two driving forces of these meanings, but not the only ones. Naming does not work on its own. The brand must be able to fulfill the promise that is being proposed in multiple ways to the consumer. In a way, everything is brand and inevitable everything is audited by the public. 

Naming is a priority in a comprehensive branding work. Naming is not the end, rather the beginning. Having said that, a naming phase could follow the following order:

1. Definition of brand values. With the information of the briefing and the analysis of the objectives, the values that the brand has to concentrate are synthesized.

2. Brainstorming. There is nothing like a brainstorm session to explore the strategic possibilities of a new naming. All the creative team involved in the project must participate in these sessions. 

3. Naming proposals argued. Even if only as internal work, the proposals have to be presented and expressed with a sufficient degree of analysis, argumentation and orientation to objectives. 

4. Legal consultation. The brand names, for the purpose of their future registration, are subject to a previous comparison in the trademark locator of the SPTO

Cottolino, naming | INNN
 Cottolino is a multi-brand clothing store for children. The brand name suggests a combination of "cotton" and "lino" (linen), comfort and aesthetics, children's world and personality. | INNN

And where does INNN come from? On the one hand it has to do with the concept (and acronyms) of Innovation oriented to the Business. On the other hand, its morphology suggests a creative allusion to Internet communication, a kind of epitome of the digital world.

Do you want us to help you develop your brand profitably? Tell us your case and we will work so that your brand expresses the values that will make it connect with the public.

Dani Viana

Dani Viana

daniel.viana@innn.es  / 

Experienced editor in both the sector and outside the sector. Dani manages the daily development, updating, and dynamism of contents in some of the most important projects here at INNN. His nickname is Danipedia, since he always has an answer for every question and adds the perfect transversal ingredient of his cultural experience to storytelling processes and copywriting key aspects.

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