7 Popular Types of Brand Names
Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or an aspiring brand name, you’ve probably spent countless hours thinking about your company name. And if you’re like most entrepreneurs, it may not be the best name you can come up with.
After all, there are over 800,000 registered trademarks and countless unregistered trademarks in the U.S. alone. That means that, even if you don’t register your name, plenty of other businesses have the same name as yours.
Brand names are an essential part of your business. You may think they are just an expense but a significant investment. When you choose a name for your business, you give it a personality and a voice. It is a symbol of your company.
Brands have a history, and the history of brands can become very valuable to a company. Some companies have become very famous for their products. If you have a famous brand, it could mean big money in the future.
What makes a Brand Name?
A name is the only thing that distinguishes one company from another. In the U.S., we have hundreds of thousands of products with brand names, often costing hundreds more than non-branded items. Why are brand names so expensive?
In the U.S., manufacturers must pay for the use of a brand name if the product is sold in the U.S. The brand name is applied to the packaging or label and appears on the product. It also appears on retail store shelves, billboards, catalogues, and online, and it’s used in advertisements and promotions.
The brand name is the main reason consumers pay a premium for certain products, but the costs are passed onto the consumer. If a generic alternative were available, it would cost less.
There are two types of brand names: registered trademarks and service marks. Trademarks are logos, words, letters, and colours that identify a specific product. Service marks are logos and words that indicate the source of a product or service.
Service marks are easier to get than trademarks. Trademark registration requires legal proof that the mark is distinctive and unique to the company. Service marks are easier to obtain if they aren’t the product or company’s name, such as “Best” or “Cheap.”
Why do companies pay to register a trademark?
When a company decides to use a trademark, they apply it to its product or services and register it with the federal government. They must pay the government to do this. When the government receives a trademark application, it is responsible for checking if the mark is unique and distinctive.
Once a trademark is approved, the trademark is then registered with the federal government. This means that the trademark owner is the only person who can use that particular mark on their products.
Do Registered Brands Cost More?
Companies often charge more for registered brands than they do for non-registered brands. That’s because the trademark owner has to pay the government to apply for the trademark, and then they have to pay to register the trademark.
Because the trademark holder is the only person who can use that mark, the trademark is more valuable. The higher price of a trademark also encourages companies to seek out the best, most exclusive trademarks.
If a company wants to sell the same product to the public, it can’t use the trademark. They must use the service mark, the only thing that distinguishes their company from another.
The Types of Brand Names
1 – Descriptive Brand Names
Descriptive brand names are unique to a product. If you go out and buy a particular brand of toothpaste, you might notice a unique colour or shape on the top of the tube. But that’s just the first step in identifying your product.
There are hundreds of brands of toothpaste available on the market. But the names on the front of the packaging often hint at what’s inside. For instance, you might see Crest, Sensodyne, or Scope on the front of the packaging. This suggests that the toothpaste inside contains the ingredients listed on the packaging, like fluoride, calcium, and silica.
When buying brand-name products, you need to look at the entire package to ensure you get precisely what you want. You should read the ingredients on the label, check the expiration date, and ensure the colour, shape, and texture are as advertised.
Why are descriptive brand names important?
Descriptive brand names are critical for people shopping online, where they’re often limited to reading the name on the box. While this can be helpful when it comes to identifying a specific brand, there are a lot of misleading brand names on the market.
A popular trick marketers use is creating descriptive brand names that sound similar to familiar words. For example, the brand name for Tide laundry detergent was initially marketed as “Liquid Sunshine” but is now more commonly called “Tide.”
We can also create descriptive brand names based on the packaging itself. For instance, the brand name for the bottle of baby shampoo inside a shower gel is “Shower to Shine” because the baby shampoo is designed to clean and shine the child’s hair.
Generally, it’s best to stick with brand names that include the company name, like “Dr Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap.”
Why Should I Choose a Descriptive Brand Name?
You should always check the ingredients if you’re buying a brand-name product. You don’t want to buy a product that’s filled with artificial colours or preservatives or one that’s been artificially sweetened.
Descriptive brand names allow you to compare and contrast different products. For example, you can choose a brand that offers natural products or a specific type of soap for your kitchen.
Examples of Descriptive Brand Names
- Sports Illustrated
- Cartoon Network
- American Airlines
- Pizza Hut
- General Electric
2 – Evocative Brand Names
A brand name is evocative because it carries a particular personality or story. Many famous brands like Nike and Adidas have evocative names that create a connection with consumers, which leads to brand loyalty. Brands with evocative names are more memorable and are thus more effective marketing tools.
Evocative brand names can come from various sources, including celebrities, historical figures, or other natural or fictional characters. Famous figures can be associated with a brand through products they’ve endorsed or products they’ve used themselves, like Oprah Winfrey and Pepsi. These are called “corporate icons” because the figure is associated with a company.
In addition, brands that include a name are called “full-service brands”. This means they have a product, a place to visit, a phone number, and a website. For example, Starbucks, Target, and Walmart are full-service brands.
An evocative brand name is more likely remembered than a non-evocative brand name. Research suggests that a brand name evokes memory faster, is easier to remember, and is less likely to be forgotten than a non-evocative name.
A brand name is evocative when it:
- It has a special meaning
- It has a symbolic quality
- Is memorable
- Is recognisable
- Is distinctive
- It is easy to pronounce
- It is emotional or humorous
- It is short and simple
- Has a strong personality or image
Brands that include an evocative brand name are more memorable, which means they are more effective marketing tools.
Which Brands Have Evocative Brand Names?
Brands with evocative brand names include:
3 – Invented Brand Names
Invented brand names are the products of companies that have created a new trademarked name for their product.
They often intend to stand out in the marketplace by using an unusual word, phrase, or image. Invented brand names typically don’t add anything applicable to the product but are meant to convey a sense of luxury or uniqueness.
Invented brand names tend to be popular among young people and trend-seekers. However, inventing a brand name is not as simple as it sounds. It requires significant investment in time and money and involves a process that may take months to complete.
Invented brand names are often used to describe items available for decades, such as Nike’s Air Jordans sneakers, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, or Coca-Cola beverages. This name-branding strategy usually comes at the expense of quality and customer service.
How to Spot an Invented Brand Name?
Invented brand names have a specific look and feel that sets them apart from everyday words. They tend to be:
A word or name that’s three letters or fewer is likely to be an invented brand name. These names are often used in marketing, advertising, and sales.
Invented brand names tend to be shorter than the average trademark, suggesting a lack of respect for the trademark.
An invented brand name is likely to be an unusual combination of two or more words, images, or phrases. It may also contain a special symbol, such as a heart or star. Invented brand names are more likely to be used for non-corporate products.
An invented brand name may be the only trademark in its category. If you’re looking for a distinctive brand name, it’s best to use a trademark rather than create one yourself.
What Are Some Examples of Invented Brand Names?
4 – Lexical Brand Names
For years, marketers have used “brand names” – generic words or phrases used to describe products or services – as part of their advertising campaigns. These brand names are used to draw attention to a product’s attributes or benefits, and they can also help boost brand recognition.
On the other hand, Lexical brand names are names associated with the meaning and purpose of a product or service. These brand names are usually short, simple, and easy to remember, and they can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Lexical brand names can be highly effective for helping people visualise and understand a product’s or service’s benefits while connecting the brand name to positive emotions like trust and safety. In addition, they’re an effective way to connect with customers on a deeper level because they’re personal, memorable, and relevant.
Lexical brand names are commonly used by Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike, and they can be effective for a variety of uses, including:
- Creating brand awareness
- Increasing brand recognition
- Marketing to Millennials
- Increasing customer satisfaction
- Building trust
- Connecting emotionally
- Connecting with customers
- Creating positive associations
- Improving conversion
The following are some examples of lexical brand names:
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- Burger King
5 – Acronym Brand Names
An acronym brand name is a shortened version of a company’s full name. Some examples include “IBM,” “HP,” and “BBC.”
Why Use an Acronym Brand Name?
Acronym brand names are effective branding tools that enable companies to save space and convey a powerful message to consumers. Because the brand is short and easy to remember, it’s great for advertising and marketing. For example, “Nerf” is a famous acronym brand (Non-Expandable Recreational Foam), and it’s also become a verb!
What Are the Benefits of Using an Acronym Brand Name?
- Short and memorable. Acronyms are shorter than the name of the business, which saves space in advertisements and other marketing materials.
- Easy to understand. Most acronyms are familiar to the public. For example, people may associate Apple with the popular smartphone.
- Easy to spell and remember. Many acronyms are spelt in a way that resembles their full name. “HP” is pronounced “H-P”, and “BBC” is pronounced, “BeeBeeSee.”
- Efficient. It can be hard to remember the name of a large business or brand with many products. An acronym indicates what the business is about without using the full name.
How to Use an Acronym Brand Name
- Choose the acronym brand name that is most appropriate for your business.
- Make sure the acronym brand name is well-known and recognisable.
- Create a brand that will last longer than a single product.
- Consider how the acronym brand name is pronounced and how it should be spelt.
- Find a trademark that covers the acronym brand name and the related products.
6 – Geographical Brand Names
A Geographical Brand Name is a name associated with a particular region or country. These names have long been popular in the apparel industry and are now becoming more common in the luxury industry.
In the apparel industry, Geographical Brand Names are often associated with regions of origin or cultures where the company’s products are produced. For example, Nike’s famous swoosh logo originated in Oregon and was created to promote the U.S.A. as a global powerhouse.
In the luxury industry, Geographical Brand Names are more likely to be associated with a specific location of the company’s headquarters and other regional offices. For example, Cartier was founded in France in 1847 and is still headquartered today.
Geographical Brand Names have become more common in the luxury industry as companies attempt to distinguish themselves from competitors. They are often used in connection with the region where the products are produced or the company’s headquarters.
For example, in the United States, it is widespread to see Geographical Brand Names used to identify an area of the country. Examples include “New York City,” “Boston,” and “San Francisco.”
In Europe, it is common to see Geographical Brand Names that are not explicitly associated with a region. Instead, they are often just general brand names, such as “Swiss” or “Italian.”
How Do I Find a Geographical Brand Name?
Luxury brands that are part of a larger global company often use a Geographical Brand Name in connection with their flagship stores and other international locations. Some luxury brands are often synonymous with a particular region, making it easy to recognise and associate the region with the brand.
Some brands do not use Geographical Brand Names and instead opt to be known simply as “luxury,” “handmade,” or another descriptor that is not associated with a specific region.
Are There Any Benefits to Using Geographical Brand Names?
As previously stated, Geographical Brand Names are becoming more common in the luxury industry. They often promote a company’s commitment to a particular region and distinguish the brand from its competitors.
Using Geographical Brand Names is a way to make consumers feel like they are purchasing a product made in a particular place. For example, a European brand known for high-quality handbags might choose to use “Made in Switzerland” on its products to convey that the bags are manufactured by a skilled artisan in a region renowned for its craftsmanship.
Another benefit of using Geographical Brand Names is that it can help a company differentiate itself from competitors in the same region. For example, “Made in Paris” would be an excellent branding tool if a company wants to be perceived as a French luxury brand.
Why Are Some Brands Known By Geographical Brand Names?
As mentioned, some brands are synonymous with a particular country or region. In contrast, others are known by a Geographical Brand Name that is not necessarily associated with the region of origin. This is the case for brands owned or controlled by a more prominent global company.
When a brand is owned or controlled by a large corporation, the parent company may want to be identified with a Geographical Brand Name that makes it easy for consumers to distinguish the brand from its competitors. This is especially true when the company owns multiple brands.
One example is Burberry, a British-based fashion house that sells luxury leather goods, including handbags and wallets. The Burberry brand is owned by LVMH, a multinational conglomerate that owns brands such as Dior, Céline, Givenchy, Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, and Louis Vuitton.
The Burberry brand is well-known and has become synonymous with the British Isles. However, LVMH also owns the more casual and affordable brands Dior and Céline, which are not as widely recognised. Therefore, LVMH chose to use “Dior” or “Céline” as Geographical Brand Names to distinguish the two brands.
Other examples include:
- New York Times.
- British Airways.
- American Airlines.
- Arizona Tile.
- California Pizza Kitchen.
- Kentucky Fried Chicken.
- Florida’s Natural.
7 – Founder Brand Names
There are three types of founders’ brand names; a brand name in which the founder or founders own a significant part of the company; a brand name in which the founders are employees of the company; and a brand name in which the founders are the sole owners of the company.
Brands are often associated with celebrities. For example, the Kardashian brand was created by Kris Jenner, and the Trump brand was developed by Donald Trump and his daughter, Ivanka.
Other celebrities, however, use brands without being directly involved in the brand’s development. These celebrities often use brands that are already established or widely used.
When using brands, celebrities should be careful to avoid being exploited. They should always get permission to use a brand and ensure their use of the brand is consistent with its image.
What are Examples of Founder Brand Names?
- Dyson (1991) – James Dyson
- J. P. Morgan (1871) – John Pierpont Morgan
- Morgan Stanley (1935) – Henry Sturgis Morgan (grandson of J.P. Morgan) and Harold Stanley
- Kellogg’s (1906) – Will Keith Kellogg
- The Hoover Company (1908) – William Henry Hoover
- Hewlett Packard (1939) – Bill Hewlett and David Packard
- Ryanair (1984) – Tony Ryan
- Price Club (1976, acquired by Costco) – Sol Price
How Is the Use of Founder Brand Names Beneficial?
In today’s world, companies are often built around their founders’ passions and talents. They might choose a brand name consistent with the founders’ mission or values.
Using a brand name that the founder owns can help recruit new talent. If a potential employee knows the founder, it’s easier to believe that the founder has a genuine interest in the company.
Using a founder brand name also helps to keep the founder’s personal and professional identity separate from the company. As the company grows, the founder can continue to be involved in the company’s activities while maintaining a separate identity and reputation.
A well-known example is the fashion brand Louis Vuitton, which was founded by a French entrepreneur named Louis Vuitton in 1854. Louis was the nephew of a wealthy merchant and had the desire to design beautiful bags that would be made of the finest materials. He began selling bags to the public, and the business proliferated.
His son, Eugène, took over the business after Louis’ death in 1883, and the company was renamed, Louis Vuitton.
How to Choose the Best Brand Name
Many struggles with knowing which brand name is the best choice. Many have heard of the brand’s name but are unsure if they should buy it. So how do you know if the brand name is right for you? Below are some essential tips to help you pick the best brand name for your business.
What should you look for?
When searching for a business name, there are many important things to consider:
1 – Should you use your name as a brand name?
Some companies choose to use their names as brand names. For example, Nike, Inc. would be the brand name for the athletic shoes sold. Using your name as a brand name is generally a bad idea unless you are the only company in your industry. Why? Because it will create confusion since people will assume you own a company named after you.
2 – Should you use a word in your business name that is difficult to pronounce?
A word that is difficult to pronounce may not be the right choice. If you plan on selling your products internationally, or your customers may not understand your business name, you may want to avoid words that are difficult to say.
3 – Will you use the brand name on packaging and marketing materials?
If you plan to use the name promotionally, you must decide whether to use the brand or another name. When you buy a name for your business, you’ll usually pay a registration fee, which means you cannot use the name unless you register it. After registering the name, you’ll need to pay a yearly fee to maintain the registration.
4 – Is your brand name unique?
Some brands are trendy and well-known in a particular area. That popularity can mean that a brand is difficult to come by. If that’s the case, you may consider changing your brand name.
5 – Is your brand name readily associated with your product or service?
Some brand names are similar to other companies offering similar products or services. For example, the brand name “Nike” refers to athletic shoes, so it’s challenging to sell them under that name. The best name is one that is associated with your product or service.
6 – Does the name you’re considering sound professional?
Your brand name should sound professional, and it should be easy to understand. Many people choose a brand name that is easy to read or spell. But if your brand name is hard to spell or the lettering is too small, it won’t look or feel professional.
7 – Will your brand name reflect your brand image?
You may already know the kind of person your business represents. So when selecting a brand name, you’ll want to ensure it reflects that image. For example, if you’re a pet care service, you may want a name that includes a dog or cat. If you’re a business selling organic foods, you may want a name emphasising those terms.
8 – Does the name match the size of your business?
Businesses in the same industry or that share a similar service tend to have similar brand names. However, a prominent brand name can overwhelm your business if you’re a small business. You may want to consider choosing a short, simple, and memorable brand name.
9 – Is your brand name short but easily remembered?
If your brand name is long or difficult to remember, then it’s likely that your customers will struggle with remembering it. A short, memorable brand name may be more straightforward for your customers to remember.
10 – Will your brand name help you market your business?
A catchy brand name that is easy to remember can make it easier for customers to find you. And finding the right customers is key to your success.
What makes a brand name different from other types of names?
For starters, the company has an established name that people recognise. You’ll also find that most brand names are associated with something specific. For example, Coca-Cola is often associated with drinking, while General Mills is known for cereals.
But what makes a good brand name?
A few factors make a brand name suitable, but the most important one is memorable. This is why it’s essential to make sure you come up with a name that is easy to spell, pronounce, and remember.
The other factor is that your brand name must be distinctive. This means that it needs to convey the right message.
And finally, your brand name must be unique. Most companies have a trademark on their brand name, meaning it’s illegal to use another company’s brand name without permission.
I hope you enjoyed this list of the seven popular types of brand names. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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