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  • Alex Thompson

How to Think of a Brand Name

I don’t need to tell you how important having a good brand name is, do I? But where do you start? Surely the idea doesn’t just pop into your head?

Well, actually, it kind of does.

But you have to put in some work beforehand to warm up your subconscious. And I’m going to give you a step-by-step guide of how to do just that.


Let's dive in.

Step 1: Brainstorm




Write down as many adjectives and nouns as you can think of to do with your product.

For example, if your product is a new children’s outdoor shoe, you might go for adventurous words: daredevil, hero, jeeps, lost city, temples, adventure and fun. You could then write down some qualities the parents would be looking for: durable, rugged, value, exciting, long-lasting, etc.

Some other useful starting points include:

  • Animals that could be associated with your product.

  • Words associated with a location your product is linked to.

  • Your products USP.

  • How the customer feels using the product.

Step 2: Synonym Research



Next, use a thesaurus to write down synonyms for all the words in your brainstorm. Try to avoid using a computer, as this will distract you.

Go crazy with this. List anything that comes into your head as you’re going. Write everything down. Everything.

Remember, you’re conditioning your subconscious. You’re feeding it everything you can so it gives you something useful later.

Step 3: The ‘Look’ of the Name




What do you want the name to look like? For example, these brand names look very different:

Badger-Biz IT

The Humphrey Williams Technology Company

Fl:o IT


Consider how many syllables will work best. If your target audience is children, aim for two-syllable names. If you aren’t sure, check what your competitor’s names look like. Will the product need to adapt to a range? If so, the name will need to be adaptable. For example, going back to our range of shoes, you could have names like: - Forest Trail - Forest Trail Explorer - Forest Trail Extreme

Finally, if your name is going to be three words or longer, save yourself some potential embarrassment and check what its acronym would be.

Step 4: List All Your Ideas



Write down every single idea as it comes to you. We almost want the first 50 to be terrible. Why? Because once a bad idea is written down, it means you’ve gotten rid of it from your head.

Got 100? Don’t stop there. I write down about 200 brand names during this process, but I’d charge three day’s work for a project like this, so don’t get down if it’s taking you a while.

And once you’re finished, sleep on it. Try and give it a couple of days space, if you can. You need some time away from the project to let your subconscious get to work.

When a good idea comes to you out of nowhere, make sure you write it down.

Step 5: Order Your Ideas


Cross out the bad ideas, circle the good, then write down all of your best ideas on a separate bit of paper. Concentrate on this list from now on.

Try and whittle your ideas down to about 25 suggestions. If you can, group them under themed headings. For example, going back to my outdoor shoe, I might have headings such as ‘Animals’, ‘Adventure’ and ‘Alternative’, with ideas such as ‘Viper Trails’, ‘Explore’ and ‘T-Rax’ under each.

Now you have your ‘best of the best’ list, see if you can combine any of the ideas. Finally, do a final edit to cut any out that still don’t sit right.

Step 6: The Final Hurdle




You need to do a quick check for trademarked names, just to make sure your ideas aren’t in use.

You also need to have a quick look at domain names, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook too, to make sure the handles aren’t taken.

If your ideas survive, we move on to the final step.

Step 7: Pitch Your Ideas



To help your client decide which name they like, highlight your favourite five names from your list.

If it’s your own product you’re picking a name for, ask friends and family for their opinion. Better yet, do some market research by sending out an online survey on Facebook or LinkedIn.

And it’s as ‘simple’ as that!

That’s my step-by-step guide to help you think of a brand name.

Just think: you only have to do it once. As long as you didn’t cut any corners, you will have a good list of names to choose from.

If you have any questions, please do get in touch with me and I’ll help you out.

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