Naming a brand

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

27 September 2018

Naming a Brand

When rebranding or launching a new brand we’re often tasked with naming that brand for products and services. We spend lots of energy picking the right name. You would think naming a brand would be an enormous hurdle.

Oddly, the name itself is not the main challenge. Today, the challenge is naming a brand with an available URL. Can’t function today without a URL.

If an available URL is the greatest challenge, what is the second most important consideration? Truthfully. None.

We spend more thought and brain cells composing the right brand theme then we do in picking a name. The brand theme needs to distill the brand equity into a few simple and meaningful ways. The actual brand name is simply a peg in the memory to locate the meaning.

Naming a brand is part of branding

Too often, we (clients) expect too much of a brand name or logo. More than it delivers. Unlike most rebranding companies, Stealing Share creates logos that reflect the brand’s position. NEVER the category. We ask the logo to reflect the brand theme— not the corporate identity. Look at our case studies. You see exactly what I mean.

Yesterday in the airport, this idea of naming a brand hit me over the head.

“The brand theme needs to distill the brand equity into a few simple and meaningful ways. The actual brand name is simply a peg in the memory to locate the meaning.”

A meeting on brand naming

This is a hypothetical example. The strategic firm gathers all the equity partners together. Client, agency, and brand management.

The prelude includes a thousand charts and graphs of the market research. Venn diagrams out the ass. Every nuance and meaning described and analyzed.

The competitive landscape explained. Every position available and taken graphed. This is a presentation worthy of an Oscar. The recommended position is available, viable and meaningful.

All the pieces are in place. This is a slam dunk.

Here is where it all goes to hell

A little background on my crude example. This is a quick service restaurant looking to open restaurants in airports. It also plans to open stand-alone restaurants.

Even though it is fast food and quick service, it positions itself with self-serve kiosks. It fancies itself as being more upscale than the traditional Mexican, pizza, burger and bagel shop. It wants to build on a pseudo French connection.

Everybody loves the concepts. We sketch out the floor plan and the brand theme. It is in fact, different and better than the competitive set.

We get a standing ovation at the end of the presentation (remember this is a fantasy example and I am self-indulging).

The decisive moment

Ready? The name we are recommending is…

Au Bon Pain.

The room is silent.

Naming a Brand“You want to adopt a name for a restaurant that has PAIN in its name?”


And, I am just getting going. My next venture in naming a brand is with a rental group. We are going to recommend another name that implies PAIN. The company? HERTZ.

See more posts in the following related categories: brand naming


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