If you’ve gotten this far, you’re well on your way to mastering brand names and their characteristics. Bravo!
You may even have a couple of business name ideas floating around your head that you’re really excited about. Write them down and save them for later, because we have one more vital recommendation that will help you generate a longer list of names. Instead of looking for a needle in a haystack, organize the pile in a way that makes it easy for the shiny objects to stand out.
As we mentioned in Chapter 1, you should consider how your competitors name and avoid names that are too similar, so there’s no confusion down the road. Apple is a strong example of a departure from their competitors. It was an attempt to soften the technology brand among its less relatable competitors, like IBM or Hewlett Packard (HP). In any case, examining the competitive landscape will help you identify areas of opportunity within the industry where you can fill gaps.
One of the best ways to expand your list is by creating a project vocabulary. Ultimately, this process will serve as a launching pad for you to lay your ideas down and build upon them.
Here are a couple tricks:
- Your target market. Think about who they are, how they speak, and what words they would use, as it might differ slightly from your own vocabulary
- Think about the industry you operate in and the common words people use
With the help of a thesaurus, begin mapping all of the related synonyms. Essentially, you’re creating a word bank based on your own brand associations. For example, if you’re building a health company, your free associations could include: diet, exercise, sleep, stress, etc. We highly recommend using a tool like OneLook, which allows you to describe a concept and it will instantly spit back a list of related words and phrases, this is a classic example of working smarter not harder. Further, you can click on a word and get a list of rhyming words from Rhyme Zone. If for some reason OneLook fails you, give Power Thesaurus a shot.
But don’t rely on only the obvious. The greater your word map, the more likely you are to find your own Apple among personal computers. Consider unexpected associations like:
- The story of your founders (See: Strava)
- Books or locations that influenced your company
- Movies, song titles, plants, animals or poetic metaphors
Then, take it a step further. Try:
- Translating words into other languages that make sense for your brand
- Adding interesting root words or truncate longer ones
- Mixing and matching or blending words you might not normally see together
- Modifying spellings to change the connotations
If some of these tactics seem strange, it’s intentional. Chances are you won’t get to anything unique by sticking to the norm. It’s important that you’re not afraid to go too far with your free association, and remember to keep the words you’re not particularly fond of, they might surprise you later in the process.
In the end, you may wind up with a project vocabulary of well over 1,000 words. (Don’t be alarmed, this is a good thing!) Once you feel like you’ve explored every option, you’ll be ready to generate a list that speaks to your target audience.
Annelise Schoups is a contributor at Rewind & Capture. With a degree in journalism, experience in public relations, and an education in travel, she is passionate about cultivating knowledge and storytelling.