What’s in a name you might ask… well, quite a lot actually. It defines who you are as a brand, gives users the ability to recognise you and differentiate you from the competition or knock offs and it also allows you to bring out a bit of your character right from the get go.
Just like the principle pillars of your company, a name is a firm belief in something. It can also be a commemorative tribute or an important message. Quite honestly, it could also be there to generate a bit of fun and hype in a stagnant industry. Choosing the right name for your brand will set the tone of voice for your business. Let’s take a look at some of the coolest brand name developments in our recent history:
Case Study 1: Coca-Cola
We all know the brand, we all recognise the branding, we all remember the distinctive flavour and iconic adverts that shaped our childhood and even gave Christmas some added cheer. Coca-Cola is probably the most loved and well-known beverage in the world, even those who claim not to love Coca-Cola love the sweet soda!
Invented in 1885 by John Pemberton, a pharmacist from Atlanta Georgia, Coca-Cola was a backyard experiment that skyrocketed into a multi-billion empire. But where does the name actually come from?
In the 1880s extractions from the coca leaf where thought of as safe for consumption in small amounts, also used in medicine; and when we say coca leaf extraction; we’re referring to the now known drug of cocaine. This is where the first half of the iconic name stems from. The second half of this superbrand’s name is derived from a caffeine heavy nut, the kola nut. The clever alliteration of C-C is what we know and love today. This is an example of clever name branding.
Case Study 2: Apple
The story of Macintosh Apple was also noted in the history books for safe keepings and all as mellow and quirky as its inventor Steve Jobs. A rather simple story to tell, and sometimes even one that purely baffles those who hear it. Jobs, being the cool dude that he was exploring the benefits of fruitarianism – a diet that restricts its followers to eat only fruit as their sole intake of calories.
After visiting an apple orchard, he suddenly became hung up on the simplicity and jovial tune the word ‘apple’ carried. So without too much in-depth thought, he decided to call his future creations ‘Apple Computers’. But much like the creation of the Apple logo itself, there’s a whole lot of speculation and wonder with facts not getting cleared as fully factual, even by the creators themselves at times.
The sure known fact is that Apple is by far one of the most popular names in the world, with fanaticism and pure obsession surrounding anything Apple. From MacBooks to iMacs, Apple Tv to iPods, iPhones to iPads, Apple Watches to AirPods, there’s no saying what will come next from the simple, yet beautifully packaged ‘Apple Computer’.
Case Study 3: Google
Google? Literally everyone knows Google, maybe not what it is and how it works but everyone’s heard the name ‘Google’ come up in conversation. We’ve even turned it into a verb – to google something is definitely something even our granny’s have heard us say! But Google’s history is quite odd – built on rebranding and even simple mistakes, the name Google has seen quite a few changes and upgrades.
With its initial name being ‘BackRub’, based on the ideas that the program analyzed backlinks to qualify the value and input of a website. It worked for a while but eventually began to take up too much bandwidth on Stanford David Koller’s servers. In 1997, Page, Google’s creator thought that ‘BackRub’ just wasn’t good enough, and together with his team decided to change the name to ‘Googol’ – a number count. A googol is the digit 1 followed by 100 zeros – a fitting name for what was to become the world’s biggest and best search engine.
But as Sean Anderson, another Google mastermind checked for domain availability, he accidentally typed ‘google.com’ into the search bar – a coined word that creator Page was even happier with than the original. And from 1997 till this very day, Google kept its name and is known to be the driving force of all digital content.
How to Pick a Great Brand Name
The only thing that these three names have in common is that they are memorable. While Coca-Cola is based on factual features of the drink, Apple Computers and the rest of their innovative technology have absolutely nothing to do with the fruit. The word Google itself is a made up word and yet we still have each of these brand names imprinted in our minds.
The naming process of your brand shouldn’t be a quick decision that happens overnight, it takes time, planning, rethinking, remodeling and a whole lot of creativity and patience. Inspiration is the biggest contributing factor while storytelling is the absolute purpose and scope of a brand name. Each of the above brands have great stories connected to their brand name, it’s part of the reason we remember them and why they have such loyal followers.
Here are some examples of how you can come up with the best brand name to make great first impressions and lasting impression at that:
- Brainstorm in a creative and inspiring environment with supportive colleagues
- Don’t be over complicated, keep your messaging clear and concise
- Be as unique as your brand, there’s always something that will make you stand out
- Be clever but not too clever – some people won’t get it
- Ensure that your brand name translates well to a logo, tagline and slogan
With the inspiration of Coca-Cola, Apple and Google to fuel your branding choices, plus all these pointers on where to point your creative thinking, start thinking about your brand name with a clear and structured mindset – and if you need a helping hand, give 4Sight a call, we’re great at hitting that drawing board and whipping up some fun and exciting name ideas for our clients!