Apart from the obvious – that it sounds good, a great brand name plays a vital role in brand communication. While a logo gets heavily fussed over, primarily because it is visual and you can nag a designer to get it right, a brand name however, is often settled upon and with little more reasoning except ‘I like it’ making it very arbitrary and really, executed in the wrong way.

1 ) A brand name is rooted in something

Great brand names don’t emerge out of thin air. Brand names should be derived from a deep understanding of what it is that you are all about- the brand values that drive your communication. If you have understanding what you stand for then the brand name is the easiest way to encapsulate that understanding.

Many times I see brand names created from a place where the value served is for the business owner. Things like the name of a favourite cat, or the initials of the partners of the company, or even a favourite fruit. All these things are great for you as business owner and undoubtedly of great significance to you, but to your consumers the relevance and the want to get excited about it just doesn’t click.

Think that your brand name will be the most used word or set of words associated with your business. If that word helps in the communication battle and understanding of what it is that you’re about and how you can help them, then you are en route to a winner. A great name wins you so much territory in your prospects’ mind. So ensurethat it is coming from a place that makes sense to the consumer.

2) It plays at an emotional level

Great brand names then work best when they pull at the emotional heart strings of your prospects. By that I mean they paint a picture in their mind. If you are lucky your brand name will make someone smile, and go “I get it, that’s clever” or just leave an impression. You can only do those things if you have strategically looked at your brand and defined it well.

We are more heavily influenced by our emotions than we are conscious of. That’s why brand is so powerful, it facilitates the illusions and tricks for desirability to be planted into our minds and hearts. A great brand name will create interest, it will unpack what it is that you do but in a playful or engaging way.

Take the brand name Innocent. Without even thinking about it you are creating in your mind an association of purity, something that won’t harm you, that is natural not artificial. Now if you associate that name with a product you are selling which connects with those automatic connotations you are on to a winner.

Great brand names build those associations in your mind. They match the brand definition and the attributes of the business. So when you hear the name, the impression you want to create is already in place from connections that you have formed from common knowledge and experiences.

3) It works visually

A final consideration to look at with a great brand name is that it works well visually. A logo as I mentioned, is something that gets fussed about a lot. If you have a great brand name your logo can be simple and typographic, the best brand identities out there follow these principles, just walk down the high street or look at fashion brands who are well ahead of the curve.

What I particularly look for in a brand name, while not always true in every scenario, but in most, is a short punchy name as that translates visually very well. It becomes powerful through its brevity and also visually impactful as it doesn’t occupy much space to get the message across. This then allows for your name to be more visible on the top of a website or on the front cover of a brochure, as longer the word the more stretched it appears, short words fill up space better.

If possible, and it is often very hard to pull this off, but iteration of a letter, or a mirroring in the letters or words used often becomes a playful tool in the future that you can exploit. That is the cherry on the cake and very few brand names are able to achieve that.

Final point

Don’t rule out a brand name if you can’t buy the dot com. I often see great brand names discarded because of a fear and inability to purchase the exact dot com of the name. I say sacrifice the domain over a great name. Keep the brand name and find a trick to make the dot com work, for example Innocent the smoothie company don’t own innocent.com, what they do have is innocentdrinks.com and that works well enough.