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How to Come Up With a Brand Name [+Where 3 of Our Favorites Came From]

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How to Come Up With a Brand Name [+Where 3 of Our Favorites Came From]


Coming up with a brand name is one of the most important steps in starting a business. A well-thought-out name can propel your company forward, and the wrong name can become a marketing nightmare. Where would Amazon be today if it stuck with its original name, Cadabra?

Oftentimes, founders think they know what makes a good brand name. But choosing a vague reference or visionary ideal (like Cadabra) for a name can confuse customers.

Naming a brand isn’t as simple as creating a made-up word or picking a name that looks great on paper.

Fortunately, setting up a brand naming process can ensure your name is relevant, memorable, and meaningful. It helps you select a name that catches people’s attention and is easy to remember, which makes marketing, sales, and brand awareness that much simpler.

To help your business become a household name, we’ll explore how to come up with a brand name, cover brand naming guidelines, outline a brand naming process, and share examples of how popular companies decided on their brand names.

What Makes a Good Brand Name

A good brand name is a blend of creativity and strategy. It highlights your company’s mission, vision, and values while showing off personality and creativity.

Josh Reeves, the CEO of Gusto, put it best when describing how his team came up with the company’s name. “Choosing your name…will power everything else forward – the visual design, the way you message it to the team, the way you talk about it with customers. So if you’re going to sink your time and energy into anything, it should be this.”

Strong brand names tend to fall under one (or more) of these categories:

  • Descriptive: Brand names that tell potential buyers exactly what you do or make. Examples: Dude Wipes, The Weather Channel, Booking.com, and PayPal.
  • Evocative: These names use metaphor and suggestion to express a company’s creativity, hint at its values, and tell a brand story. Examples: Nike, Amazon, Virgin, Uber, and Patagonia.
  • Blends: Names that combine two words to make a new word are popular today, and they can be considered descriptive and evocative. Examples: Photoshop, WhatsApp, Headspace, Airtable, and YouTube.
  • Invented: Made-up names are a good way to differentiate your company and show your unique brand identity. But you’ll have to do more work to tell the story of your company and educate customers on your offering. Examples: Google, Pixar, Garmin, Slack, and Zoom.
  • Acryonymic: Good brand names are short and memorable, so it may make sense to use an acronym if you want a long name. Keep in mind that meaning is often removed with an acronym, so it’s not the best option for storytelling. Examples: VRBO, BMW, IKEA, UPS, and IBM.

Brand Naming Guidelines

Boundaries are necessary when picking a company name. Without a structure or limits, you can end up with wacky names that have nothing to do with your brand. These brand name guidelines can help you stay on track throughout the process so you wind up with a name that fits your business.

Easy to pronounce and spell.

Even famous brands run into issues with mispronunciation. But you don’t want stakeholders, potential customers, or employees scouring the internet to understand your company’s name. Keep it simple to say and spell, so it doesn’t distract people from your products or services.

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Memorable

I don’t know about you, but I never run to the store for “facial tissues.” Brands like Kleenex, Chapstick, and Band-Aid are such noteworthy names, people use them as generic terms. So when you come up with a brand name, choose one that sticks in people’s minds to help raise your awareness above competitors.

band-aid: an example of a strong brand name

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Meaningful

Brand names that hint at company stories make it easier for customers to connect your values to the brand. Think of the investing platform, Robinhood. The fictional story is about a bandit who steals from the rich to give to the poor, which aligns with the company’s ethos of “Investing for Everyone.”

Robinhood, an example of a meaningful brand name

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Strong Visual Identity

Words have power, but it takes about 10 seconds of looking at a logo for someone to form an impression about your brand. Beyond the other elements, your brand name must look great on paper and online. Experiment with text logos and graphics to see if the name is too long or difficult to design around.

How to Name a Brand

Now that you have name inspiration and guidelines to follow, it’s time to explore the details of how to name a brand. This approach is most effective when paired with your brand positioning strategy, so take time to do that work before jumping into the naming process.

1. Outline your brand goals and identity.

Defining your identity and goals solidifies what sets you apart from the competition and how you plan to position your company. You can pull this information from your positioning statement. If you don’t have one yet, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why does your company exist? This is your vision.
  • What does your company do? This is your mission.
  • How do you do what you do? This refers to your values. Fun fact, 89% of shoppers are loyal to brands that share their values.
  • What brand identity do you want to create? This is your brand personality.
  • What do you want to accomplish with the brand name? Maybe you want customers to immediately understand your offering, or maybe you want to highlight your innovative spirit.

Once you answer these questions, it’s time to look outward.

2. Consider your customers and competitors.

No brand succeeds in a silo, so it’s essential to pick a name that resonates with your audience and within your industry. That’s because people often identify themselves with the brands they buy. This is good news for companies, as customers with an emotional relationship with a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value.

When coming up with a brand name, consider customer reviews and surveys. This feedback can show how people perceive your brand, which is helpful when brainstorming names. If customers talk about how fun it is to work with your team and use your product, it wouldn’t make sense to adopt a serious brand name or persona.

Another crucial consideration is your industry. What are the naming norms? What are your competitors doing? Based on your brand positioning, you have to decide whether to follow the industry formula or choose an unconventional name that makes your brand stand out.

3. Brainstorm and discovery.

Yes, it’s time to break out the whiteboard. But before you jump in, put together a team for ideas and approvals. You need to define who is involved in the decision-making process. If you’re a solopreneur, you can ask a few trusted peers or colleagues to take part.

Fill up your board with whatever ideas come to mind, and if you get stuck, think about:

  • The adjectives that describe your service, product, or brand
  • How customers feel about your brand, or how you want them to feel
  • Words that you want to associate with your business

As you ideate, reflect on what you think makes a good brand name and consider any major concerns you have about naming. Feeling stuck? Try Shopify’s business name generator tool.

4. Refine your ideas.

You probably have a long list of brand names — and that’s a good thing. It’s easier to chop than to create. Start culling down your list by considering the following factors for each name:

  • Does it fit your brand personality?
  • Does it have emotional resonance?
  • Does it have meaning or connect to your company story?
  • How does it look on paper and on a screen?
  • Are there any trademarks for it?
  • Are the domain name and social media handles available?
  • Does it stand out from the competition?
  • Is it short, memorable, and easy to spell and pronounce?

Create a shortlist of 10-15 names for the next step. If you have less than this, that’s okay — just aim for three to five options.

5. Get feedback.

There’s nothing like asking your team, customers, stakeholders, or peers for feedback. You’ll quickly learn if a name contender is difficult to pronounce or rubs people the wrong way. If possible, ask a diverse group of people for their opinions individually so you don’t run into groupthink issues.

Once you’ve collected feedback, it’s wise to see how the final options translate across languages. Consider where your company will operate and where you hope to expand. Wix learned this lesson the hard way, but the humor-oriented brand handled it well.

Before making a final decision, take a look at how a few popular companies came up with their brand names.

How Three Companies Came Up With Brand Names

From spelling errors to company-wide brainstorms, there are plenty of stories that highlight the creativity and complexity of the brand naming process. Check out how these three brands decided on a name.

Gusto

Originally named ZenPayroll, Gusto rebranded three years after its launch. The company had thousands of customers and a team that questioned if a new name was essential. Josh Reeves, CEO, and co-founder said the original name was chosen out of convenience. But the founders knew it was temporary.

To expand beyond payroll service into health insurance, ZenPayroll needed a new name and logo. The team wanted to combine their values at the time — peace of mind, calm, warm, trusting, and vibrant — with their vision for the future. “We wanted to capture our emphasis on the people doing the work,” said Reeves.

The result? Gusto, which means enjoyment or vigor in doing something; zest. Here’s the evolution of Gusto, from the original brand to today’s identity.

zenpayroll, the original brand name for Gusto

Gusto's logo shortly after rebranding

Gusto's current logo

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Warby Parker

“Coming up with the name ‘Warby Parker’ was one of the hardest things we did as a founding team,” said Neil Blumenthal, the company’s co-founder, and co-CEO. As the story goes, the team came up with over 2,000 ideas over the course of six months before choosing the final brand name.

Their inspiration? A Jack Kerouac exhibition at the New York Public Library that contained a journal with two interesting characters: Warby Pepper and Zagg Parker. The founders had all been inspired by Kerouac and the beat generation ethos of taking the road less traveled. Soon after, the rebellious Warby Parker brand was born.

how to name a brand - Warby Parker example

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HubSpot

As fellow graduate students, HubSpot co-founders Brian and Dharmesh noticed that consumers had gotten really good at ignoring interruptive ads and bids for their attention. They started HubSpot on the idea of “inbound,” the notion that people would rather be helped than harassed by marketers and salespeople.

According to the book, “Marketing Lesson from the Grateful Dead” by Brian Halligan and David Meerman Scott, the name HubSpot sprung from the vision to create a hub-based ecosystem that united software, education, and community to help businesses grow better. That idea, “combined with the double-entendre for Boston (nicknamed The Hub [of the Universe])…made it a good choice.”

What’s Next?

With a powerful brand name, you’re ready to design the visuals that bring it to life. Learn how to make a unique brand identity that draws in customers, successfully launch a product, and create a brand that keeps people coming back.

brand consistency





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Advocate | DigitalMarketer

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Advocate | DigitalMarketer

Happy customers love to share their experience, but sometimes they need some encouragement to do so. The cool thing is, once they do, they become even more loyal to your brand.

So, at this stage of the Customer Value Journey, ask people to share their positive experience with your brand by writing a review or sharing a social media post.

Once you get to stage seven, the Customer Value Journey is going to get a whole lot easier for you. This stage is all about learning your customer’s experience, and building up your testimonial database. 

The most important part of this step is asking these four questions. 

What Was Your Life Like Before Finding Our Solutions? What Challenges Were You Facing That Caused You to Consider Us? 

These questions are great not only because it gives you some really good stories, but because it gives you some insight on how you can provide similar prospects with that AHA moment. Understanding the average day of your clients is important in reflecting on your Customer Value Journey, and helps you understand what really set you apart from your competitors.

What Key Features Had the Biggest and/or Fastest Impact?

Not only is this going to get you to really specific stories, you will understand the specific things you provided that gave the biggest impact. The answers to these questions will not only give you great insight and testimonials, it will provide you with ideas for new lead magnets. This part is a new Entry Point Offer goldmine! 

What Has Been the Impact or Results in Your Life or Business Since Using Our Product or Service? 

This is a fairly broad question, and that’s why we put it after the others. You will have already gotten all of the specifics out of the way with #1 & #2. But when you ask this question, this is where you get the most valuable stories. You can use this part as testimonials, as an order form, as a sales page, this part is testimonial gold. 

If You Were Asked to Justify this Purchase to Your Boss or a Friend, What Would You Say? 

This is our favorite question by far. If you had to go back in time and justify this purchase, what would you say? I promise you what we’re going to find is a lot of great ideas for the jobs that your product or service has done. You’ll get a lot of great ideas for your core message canvas. This question is about backfilling all of the assets that you may not have. Here you’re going directly to the customer who are already happy, and using their justifications to help you sell to new customers. 

Hopefully you now understand just how valuable the Advocate stage could be, as well as the key questions you need to ask to get your customers talking. Here’s how it works for our example companies.

When it comes to fashion we all love to show off our outfits. So a good example for Hazel & Hems would be to have customers write reviews for a discount code or points towards their next purchase. 

Better yet, follow up with the customers to ask them to share and tag themselves wearing the items in a social media post and providing them with something valuable as a reward.

For Cyrus & Clark Media, hopping on zoom meetings or a streaming service for live talks about them and their business could generate valuable awareness for them, and a live case study for the agency. They can use the questions Ryan provided during this lesson to conduct the interview.



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Drive Conversions and Generate Engagement With Instacart Promotions

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Drive Conversions and Generate Engagement With Instacart Promotions

Through deals and coupons, Instacart has saved consumers more than $700 million in 2022. As we dive into 2023, the leading grocery technology company in North America has big plans to help consumers save even more while also helping CPGs generate sales. Instacart recently announced an advertising solution that helps both sellers and consumers called Instacart Promotions. This exciting feature is designed to help drive conversions, boost sales, and generate overall engagement on the app.

Interested in this feature and how it can help your business on Instacart? Read on as we dive into everything you need to know about this ad solution including benefits, how to get started, and more.

 

What are Instacart Promotions?

 

Instacart Promotions is an advertising feature that’s now available to all brand partners, including emerging brands, within their open beta program. Promotions give CPGs the opportunity to offer new deal structures, promotions, and incentives with Instacart Ad campaigns. With this feature in place, consumers will have access to more promotions, coupons, and deals that are tailored to them within the Instacart Marketplace.

“With the launch of our new Instacart Promotions, all of our brand partners now have the ability to set up coupons and promotions that can drive meaningful business results while also passing on more savings opportunities to consumers. We’re proud to continue expanding our portfolio with additional self-service capabilities, ad formats that drive results, and measurement that brands need to understand the true impact of their campaigns on Instacart.”

 

– Ali Miller, VP of Ads Product at Instacart

 

Source: Instacart

 

How Do Instacart Promotions Work?

 

Promotions, now available in Ads Manager, gives consumers the ability to discover more promotions and savings opportunities within the Instacart app. These promotions now show up directly on product item cards before checkout for easy accessibility. Promotions allow advertisers to customize their campaigns to sync with their goals and objectives whether that be driving sales, building baskets, or boosting trials.

Instacart shared a recent example of a brand successfully utilizing Promotions… 

Athletic Brewing, General Mills, Sola Company, and Wells Enterprises (maker of Halo Top) are strengthening campaign performance by pairing Instacart Promotions with ad formats such as Sponsored Product and Display. Instacart Promotions include two new flexible and customizable structures: Coupons (“buy X units, save $Y”) and Stock Up & Save (“Spend $X, Save $Y”). 

According to Instacart, in the coming months, the company “will work to further enhance the new offering with new deal structures such as Free Gifts and Buy One, Get One (“BOGO”). The new deal structures will help brand partners run “Free Sample” programs that can win new customers and serve personalized discounts for different customer segments, such as “new to brand” and “new to category.”  

 

Example of Instacart Promotions

Source: Instacart

 

Instacart Promotions Benefits

 

Deliver Value and Savings to Consumers

 

With Instacart Promotions, you have the opportunity to deliver value and savings that will have consumers coming back for more. With this savings feature, your brand can stand out among the competition and offer a variety of deals to shoppers ie: “Buy X units, Save $Y”.

 

Hot tip: Ensure you are selecting products for your promotion that are well-stocked and widely available.  

 

Tailor Your Campaigns to Specific Objectives

 

With a variety of savings options available, your brand can structure deals to fit specific business goals and objectives. 

 

Hot tip: If you’re looking to drive visibility and awareness, try pairing promotions with Sponsored Product campaigns. 

 

Access Real-Time Performance Insights 

 

The Promotions beta program is live and can be accessed within Instacart Ads Manager. Within Ads Manager, advertisers can access real-time insights to maximize performance and adjust campaigns as needed.

 

Hot tip: Make sure your budget matches your discount and objectives.

 

“As an advertiser, Instacart’s unique offering to self-manage promotions is so exciting! Historically, making adjustments to offer values and other promotion parameters was a more manual process, but now we’ll be able to easily make optimizations in real-time based on redemption performance.”

Emily Choate

Emily Choate, Senior Specialist, Marketplace Search at Tinuiti

 

Interested in Instacart Promotions?

 

With Instacart Promotions, you have the opportunity to reach new customers, build bigger baskets, and drive sales. Interested in testing out the beta program or looking to get started with advertising on the app? Drop us a line – we’d love to help elevate your CPG brand on Instacart.

 

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(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!

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(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!



It’s important to us that you, our valued customers and partners, can identify with the tools you use daily.  

In that pursuit, Optimizely set out to simplify the way we talk about our product suite. That starts, first and foremost, with the words we use to refer to the technology.  

So, we’ve taken a hard look at everything in our portfolio, and are thrilled to introduce new names we believe are more practical, more consistent, and better representative of the technology we all know and love.  

You may have seen some of these names initially at Opticon 2022 as well as on our website. In the spirit of transparency, the team here at Optimizely wanted to make sure you had full visibility into the complete list of new names, as well as understand the context (and rationale) behind the changes. 

So, without further ado… 

Which names changed?  

Some, but not all. For your ongoing reference, below is a complete list of Optimizely products, with previous terminology you may be familiar with in the first column, and (if applicable) the new name in the second column.  

Used to be… 

Is now (or is still)… 

Meaning… 

DXP 

Optimizely Digital Experience Platform 

A fully-composable solution designed to support the orchestration, monetization, and experimentation of any type of digital experience — all from a single, open and extensible platform. 

Content Cloud 

Optimizely Content Management System 

A best-in-class system for building dynamic websites and helping digital teams deliver rich, secure and personalized experiences. 

Welcome 

Optimizely Content Marketing Platform 

An industry-leading and user-friendly platform helping marketing teams plan campaigns, collaborate on tasks, and author content. 

DAM 

Optimizely Digital Asset Management 

A modern storage tool helping teams of any size manage, track, and repurpose marketing and brand assets (with support for all file types). 

Content Recs 

Optimizely Content Recommendations 

AI-powered and real-time recommendations to serve the unique interests of each visitor and personalize every experience. 

B2B Commerce 

Optimizely Configured Commerce 

A templatized and easy-to-deploy platform designed to help manufacturers and distributors drive efficiency, increase revenue and create easy buying experiences that retain customers. 

Commerce Cloud 

Optimizely Customized Commerce 

A complete platform for digital commerce and content management to build dynamic experiences that accelerate revenue and keep customers coming back for more. 

PIM 

Optimizely Product Information Management 

A dedicated tool to help you set up your product inventory and manage catalogs of any size or scale. 

Product Recs 

Optimizely Product Recommendations 

Machine-learning algorithms optimized for commerce to deliver personalized product recommendations in real-time. 

Web 

Optimizely Web Experimentation 

An industry-leading experimentation tool allowing you to run A/B and multi-variant tests on any channel or device with an internet connection. 

Full Stack 

Optimizely Feature Experimentation 

A comprehensive experimentation platform allowing you to manage features, deploy safer tests, and roll out new releases – all in one place. 

Personalization 

Optimizely Personalization 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to create/segment audiences based on past behavior and deliver more relevant experiences. 

Program Management 

Optimizely Program Management 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to manage the end-to-end lifecycle of an experiment. 

ODP 

Optimizely Data Platform 

A centralized hub to harmonize data across your digital experience tools, providing one-click integrations, AI-assisted guidance for campaigns, and unified customer profiles. 

 

So, why the change?  

 It boils down to three guiding principles:  

  1. Uniformity: Create a naming convention that can be applied across the board, for all products, to drive consistency 
  2. Simplicity: Use terms that are both practical and concise, ensuring the names are something that everyone can understand and identify with  
  3. Completeness: Develop a framework that showcases the full and complimentary nature of all the products and solutions within the Optimizely suite 

 As the Optimizely portfolio comes together as a complete, unified platform, it’s important that our names reflect this, as well as support our 3 key solutions (i.e. orchestrate amazing content experiences, monetize every digital experience, and experiment across all touchpoints).  

Other questions? We’ve got you covered. 

Q: Why have you made these product name changes? 

    • We wanted to simplify how we talk about our portfolio. The renaming applies a naming convention that is both practical and concise.  

 

Q: Do the new product name changes affect the products I own? 

    • No, there is no impact to product functionality or capabilities.  

 

Q: Do the new product name changes affect who is my Customer Success Manager or Account Manager?  

    • No, there are no changes to your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager. 

 

Q: Do the new product name changes affect the ownership of the company?  

    • No, ownership of the company has not changed. We have only made changes to the Product Names. 

 

Q: Have any contact details changed that I need to be aware of?  

    • Only contact details for former Welcome customers has changed. These are the new contact details you should be aware of: Optimizely, Inc.| 119 5th Ave | 7th Floor | New York, NY 10003 USA. Phone: +1 603 594 0249 | www.optimizely.com 

 

Q: Where can I send any follow up questions I might have?  

    • If you have any questions about the Product Names, please contact your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager.  


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