When creating a business or a brand, the name should never be your first step. While you may have some ideas in mind, it is important you take the time to lay out the foundation of your brand first.

Once you have your foundation, it’s time to start the naming process. You are going to want to be strategic about this. Start by writing down the ideas you already have, then set them aside. Put yourself in the mind of your customers and let’s get to brainstorming.

Consider Content Strategy:

Before picking names, you need to identify the different types of information you could communicate with your brand name. Your brand name will be your customers first introduction to who you are, what you do, and what problem you solve for them. Your name needs to be something they identify with and that calls out to your purpose. To get started, answer the following questions:

• What industry are you joining?

• What verbs are associated with that industry? List at least five. (For example, if I said teach art to the question above, I may now list paint, drawn, doodle, etc.

• What nouns are associated with that industry? List at least five.

• Who is your target market?

• List at least three nouns AND three adjectives that could be used to describe your target market.

• What makes your brand unique?

• What is the most interesting thing about your brand?

• What is your brand’s goal—to help your target audience DO what?

• If you could only tell members of your target market one thing, which would determine whether or not they follow you, what would you tell them (in one sentence)?

Once you have those answers, write them in a place where you can reference it for ideas during this next brainstorming session.

Brainstorm brand ‘Ps & Qs’:

The Ps and Qs stand for people, places, products, pact, quaint, quant, quirks, and quibs. These are all different types of naming conventions. I’ll break these down further later.

This is by far the best way to come up with a lot of names that not only mean something to you, but will communicate your goals with your audience. I would recommend coming up with 3-5 names under each of these Ps and Qs.

• People: name your brand after a person (e.g. Disney, Kellogg’s, L’Oreal)

• Places: think of a place that is meaningful to you (e.g. American Express, Amazon, Mountain Dew)

• Products: You can attach your product to a place name, or let your product live on its own (e.g. British Airways, Dunkin’ Donuts, Sunglasses Hut)

• Pact: Pact is short for compact. This is when you give your brand initials to be known by. (e.g. Nabisco – National Biscuit Company, Fed-Ex – Federal Express, MTV – Music Television)

• Quaint: Look to the past, rather than being first on the scene. Mythology is a great place to start (e.g. Mazda, Oracle, Pandora)

• Quant: Don’t be afraid to include numbers! (e.g. Heinze 57, Playstation 4, 7-11)

• Quirks: It’s ok to be odd or off the wall. It helps people remember you. (e.g. Google, Smucker’s, Haagen-Dazs)

• Quips: Who doesn’t love a good pun? Humor has its place, and it might just be in your brand name. (e.g. Wok This Way, Sew What, Planet of the Tapes)

Other Resources

If you are still stuck, hop on over to Namelix, type in words from your brainstorm, and they can help you generate the perfect name for your brand.

Once you have a list of names that feel good to you and align with your brand goals (I recommend 15-20 to start), don’t forget to check for available copywrites, social media handles, and URLs. You will want these to all be the same and as close to your brand name as possible. Consistency is key here.

This is where you may run into a few hiccups. When naming Local Pine Design, I went through 45 different options before finding three that had availability online. From there I chose the name that best represents what I do and the message that I wanted to share with my audience.

Got a great idea from this brainstorm? We would love to hear it!! Drop it in the comments.