Brand Name: How To Come Up With Business Name Ideas

Last Updated Sep 15, 2020 @ 9:34 am

Naming your business is both science and art…while there’s no exact methodology that guarantees a winning brand name, there are several ways to go about it. 

In this article, we’ll share with you our list of effective and proven ways for choosing a solid business brand name that both you and your customers will love.

What is a Brand Name?

It refers to the name chosen by a company, corporation, organization, manufacturer, or founder to a certain product or service.

A brand name differentiates a product or service from its competition (similar niche, same line of product, etc.,) and also acts as a means for authentication that verifies if that certain product or service is legit (and not fake or counterfeit/imitation).

World-renowned Businesses & Brand Names

The name Coca-Cola was based on the two main ingredients used to make it: coca leaf extract and the caffeine from the kola nut (the “K” was changed to “C” in Cola).

IKEA is an acronym taken from the founder’s initials (Ingvar Kamprad), the family farm where he was born (Elmtaryd), and his hometown (Agunnaryd).

San Miguel (originally established as La Fabrica de Cerveza de San Miguel) was named after the district of San Miguel, Manila where its founder lived and worked.

Nike was named after the Greek Goddess of Victory of the same name.

Google is actually a misspelling of the word “Googol”, which is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. 

These are just a few of the brand household names that we know. And as you can see, the origins of each one is unique. 

In the succeeding sections, we’ll share with you a list of some of the best naming strategies that all sorts of brands and companies have used throughout the years. 

What Makes a Great Business Name?

A great business name provides context. It gives people a mental image of what your business does. It’s appealing, easy to remember,  something that’s pleasant to pronounce and hear (Apple, Shell, Amazon, Sony). 

You’ll also notice that the best business names out there are clever and easy to remember. They also scale well, their choice of names isn’t tied to one particular product or service.

This allows them to expand into other niches/product lines while still maintaining the brand’s image.

How to Choose a Business Brand Name

Coming up with your own unique business name can be tricky, even hard in some cases.

And to help you with that, we’ve compiled a list of steps showing some of the most proven and effective ways for choosing a business brand name.

Step 1: Ask Yourself, What’s Your Brand’s Purpose?

It all begins with clarity — brand clarity that is. It refers to identifying your brand’s true identity by analyzing your strengths, vision, attributes, and capabilities as a company. 

Now, you might be tempted to go with something purely functional or practical after you do an initial brainstorming session using the aforementioned factors above.

While that’s perfectly valid, just make sure you don’t limit your imagination to something too straightforward or product-identified. 

As you’ll see in the next section, you can adopt a couple of naming strategies to find that sweet spot for your business brand name.


Step 2: Choose a naming strategy

People come with all sorts of ways to name their brand.

From the strictly professional to the downright amusing (and everything in between), each one is an attempt to come up with something that can resonate with its intended audience.

Here are 9 ways to name your brand:

1.  Acronyms – an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of the name of the company.

Examples:

  • PLDT – Philippine Long Distance Company
  • AT&T – American Telephone & Telegraph
  • 3M – Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing
  • M&Ms – Mars and Murries

2. Founder Names – Companies and brands named after its founders.

Examples:

  • Calvin Klein
  • Ferrari
  • Goodyear
  • McDonald’s

3. Descriptive Terms – Uses words that describe the benefit or what the business is about.

Examples:

  • SnapChat
  • QuickBooks
  • Duracell
  • PayPal

4. Geographical

Naming that’s based on the region or area where the company originated. 

Examples:

  • Seattle’s Best Coffee (Seattle)
  • Cisco (based from San Francisco)
  • Komatsu (Komatsu, Ishikawa)
  • Nokia (a Finnish town)

5. SEO-driven

Naming strategy that considers a word or phrase’s potential positioning in search engine results. Search volume, intent, and authority are the 3 most crucial SEO factors to consider when choosing a name using this method.

Examples (created via AI-based business name generators):

  • SameDay Flowers (flower shop that guarantees same-day deliveries)
  • PedalParcel (bike courier delivery service)

6. Clever

Utilizes pop-culture references, cute, playful, and witty phrases and ideas to describe what the brand is about.

Examples:

  • Mailchimp (email marketing company)
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo!

7. Combination

Merges two root names to form a new one.

Examples:

  • Qualcomm – Quality Communication
  • Evernote – Forever + Note
  • Verizon – Veritas (“Truth” in Latin) + Horizon

8. Misspellings

Deliberately change the spelling of 

Examples:

  • Google
  • Flickr
  • Toys-R-Us

9. AI-Generated

  • Cups & Co. (Coffee shop)
  • Brownix (Brownie store)

10. Using Free Business Name Generators


Step 3: Make a Shortlist

Collate all the names generated during the naming process stage and make a shortlist. The next step is to narrow it down to a shorter, solid list of potential contenders. Here are a couple of tips to help you identify your winners:

  • Pick the ones that resonate with your brand’s mission.
  • It should share your personality and desired “tone” for the brand. 
  • Ask for feedback and suggestions.
  • Stand above the competition. Try to navigate to names that differentiate your company from similarly-niched markets.
  • Go for simple and memorable ones. Customers should be able to easily recall it.
  • Consider future growth potential. A name should be able to withstand scale.

Step 4: Consider Supporting it with a Solid Tagline

Nike says “Just do it”. Apple goes for  “Think Different”. Mastercard’s iconic slogan, “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.” has been the main theme of their ads for a long time.

DeBeer’s “A Diamond is Forever” perfectly captured the sentiment of what diamonds represented as a gift to your loved one. 

These are just a few examples of world-famous brands leveraging powerful taglines to further establish their message. As you come up with potential names for your business, consider using taglines to empower your brand’s message.


Step 5: Make Sure It’s Not Trademarked

Once you have a shortlist of names for your business, the next step is to check and make sure it’s not trademarked.

Visit the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines’ (IPOPhil) website to do a trademark search to confirm the availability of your chosen name.


Step 6: Check for Similar Business Names

The last thing you want to happen is to get ready to register the name of your business only to find out that somebody else is already using it. Yikes.

Visit Business Name Registration System to do a business name search to check if your idea for the name is still available. 


Step 7: Confirm That Both Domain and Social Media Names Are Available

The next step is to verify if both the domain (when you build a website) and social media handles are available. 

For domain check, visit GoDaddy. Enter the name of your brand in the box then hit search. It will tell you if the website name you had in mind is already taken.

If not, the results page will show you a list of available domains related to your phrase. 

For social media handle verification, visit Namechk. Enter your brand’s name then hit search. The site will show you if the name’s already taken if it’s grayed out in the results. Otherwise, if it’s highlighted in green color it means it’s still available.


Step 8: Register Your Business Name

The final piece of the puzzle (assuming you didn’t encounter any issues with the previous steps and the name is available) is to register your business name.

The next section will show you all the required steps.


How to Register Your Business Name in the Philippines?

Republic Act 3883 (Business Name Law) states that it’s illegal to use a business name other than the owner’s real name without registering it first with the Department of Trade & Industry.

Once registered, you have exclusive rights for its use (the name) for 5 years, after which you’ll have to renew it. 

Here are DTI’s guidelines in choosing and registering a business name.

  • Should not connote activities or norms that are unlawful and immoral, scandalous or contrary to proprietary
  • Should not designate or distinguish, or suggest of quality, of any class of goods, articles, merchandise, products or services
  • Should not resemble/mimic trade names, trademarks, or business names of any government agency authorized to register names or trademarks
  • Should not be a name that’s inimical to the security of the State
  • Should not be composed of purely generic words
  • Should not be a name that by law or regulation is restricted or cannot be appropriated (e.g Red Cross, ISIS, Red Crescent, etc.,)
  • Should not be a name that is officially used by the government in its non-proprietary functions (e.g. NBI Private Investigation Services, PNP Security Agency)
  • Should not be a name  or abbreviation of any nation, intergovernmental or international organization unless authorized by a competent authority of that nation, inter-government, and international organization
  • Should not be ordered or declared by administrative agencies/bodies or regular courts not to be registered
  • Should not be or refer to a name of other persons
  • Shout not be deceptive, misleading, or misrepresent the nature of my business.

Related: How to Start a Business in the Philippines

List of Requirements for Registering a Business Name:

Business Name Registration Fees

Here are the fees you’ll need to pay to register a business name.

Territorial ScopeFees
BarangayPhp 200
City/MunicipalityPhp 500
Regional Php 1000
NationalPhp 2000

About Amiel Pineda

Amiel is the lead business & finance columnist of Grit PH. He escaped from the shackles of BPO life and now pursues his dream of writing full time. He shares his best tips and insights for aspiring homebased workers and freelancers on his site: Homebased Pinoy

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