Brand Identity: What’s in a Name?

When you’re new, first impressions could make the difference between success and failure.

Your first introduction to the world and chance to make an impact is through your name. It is also your chance to tell your brand story.

Names say a lot about a company’s approach and style. Let’s look at some examples.

1. Chanel derives its name from its founder Gabrielle Coco Chanel, a Parisian fashion designer. That set the tone for the company. French luxury oozes from the whole brand image.
2. Then you can take the example of Microsoft and Apple. There is something very interesting here that sets them apart from each other.


Microsoft derives its name from ‘Microcomputer’ and ‘Software’. Apple on the other hand was named that because Steve Jobs had just returned from an apple farm and liked apples in general.

Today, Microsoft is seen as the leader in the world of tech and software, whereas Apple’s appeal is more in the aesthetic of the brand and the user experience it offers. This distinction between the two companies was marked from their names.

Besides Microsoft, other computer companies are called Intel and IBM, equally technical sounding. However, Apple was selected because (according to Walter Isaacons in his biography of Steve Jobs) it is ‘fun, spirited, and not intimidating’.

The name has contributed greatly to the kind of audience Apple attracts and that which Microsoft does. Therefore, contrary to what Shakespeare might have written, when you are launching a business, the name will set the tone for your brand.


Just to give you a complete view on what you need to keep in mind when deciding your name, given below are some points:

1. Gives you your identity– it becomes your introduction and your first impression on a potential customer so choose it accordingly.

2.Sets the mood- just as we discussed in the Microsoft/Apple example, your name sets the tone of your brand. This is your first tool to appeal to your target audience. So speak their language.

3. What people will use to find you– since that is what will be going in search boxes (hopefully) and being passed around by word of mouth, you have to think of something that is easy to remember. This is why brands will form acronyms and mainly use those, for example IBM. Surely, at least 80% of the people who recognize IBM as a brand, don’t actually know what the I, B, and M stand for. But does that even matter? Your name only needs to be easy to remember.

Having a hard time picking a name?

These are some basic categories of names. If you don’t know where to start, pick a category and then work within that. Hopefully, it will help you narrow down your options:

1. Descriptive for e.g AimFit as the name of a gym or fitness center.

2. Derived from Founder’s name for e.g. Chanel, Ralph Lauren etc.

3. Acronyms for e.g. IBM, IKEA etc.

4. Unrelated to the service and metaphorical for e.g. Amazon, Nike etc.

5. Fabricated/made up words for e.g. Uber

6. Puns for e.g. Whatsapp

These are some of the main categories of names that most will usually fall under. Pick the one that appeals to you the most and then start from there.

After reading all this, we hope you will check what your name stands for and if you are happy with what it means for your brand. It is a long term commitment so make it wisely.
In the next section we are discussing what not to do when naming your brand/product so if you are interested, give it a read.

When you’re new, first impressions could make the difference between success and failure. Your first introduction to the world and …

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