There’s value in your business name – if it’s a brand

by: September 21, 2015

If you browse through a directory of company names in any given market sector, you’ll see certain patterns emerging. You’ll discover that the same, relatively narrow lexicon of words comes up time and again in business names.

There's value in your business name

For example, if you look down a list of personal trainers, in their names you’ll see descriptive, qualifying words like fit, fitness, personal, body, core, etc. On the plus side these common words help to describe what the business does. But the downside is that it’s hard to distinguish one company from another.

You can create a business name using descriptive words, but that’s not a brand name.

So it’s always refreshing to see businesses that buck this trend, and choose a name that sets them apart from competitors. These companies chose names that don’t describe what the business does. They’ve done better than that: they’ve chosen names that set them apart, and convey the character of their businesses. They have brand names that double up as business names.

Here are 7 excellent examples of companies that have the confidence to be different:

  • Speak to ZonataBerry White. Although the name gives you a clue that this company is all about fruit (Berry White makes premium, organic, sparkling fruit drinks using berries and white tea extract) the name also tells you important stuff about its brand. The witty reference to ‘walrus of love’ soul legend Barry White shouts, or perhaps growls, that this is a product focused on pleasure.
  • Tanium. A very interesting approach to naming: a new word created by removing letters from a distinctive dictionary word; in this case ‘titanium’. The main characteristics of titanium are strength and durability, and these qualities remain firmly intact in the name Tanium. Given the business provides a class-leading technology platform where security is paramount, these are powerful metaphors that inspire confidence.
  • Grabble. The very catchy name of a stylist-led shopping app, Grabble aims to revolutionise the way people discover and buy fashion. It’s a bit like having a personal stylist in your pocket. Somehow the name suggests shopping, alludes to browsing and choice, and sounds like fun …but without saying any of these things directly. You might say that Grabble fits this clever app like a glove.
  • Persado. This fascinating company invented a way of using algorithms to write natural language. They call this system ‘Persuasion Automation’. So although its subtle, the clue’s in the name Persado – a sophisticated brand name with an air of intelligence, and just a hint of the word ‘persuasion’ to give it a relevant hook. (Note that the company isn’t called Persuasion Automation, or PA Digital Comms.) Very smart, in more ways than one.
  • Brewdog. Normally I don’t like brand names that include obvious descriptive words (mainly because they tend to be bland). But despite being a brewery with the word ‘brew’ in its name, Scottish craft beer supremos Brewdog transcends this. It’s a name that screams punk attitude, swagger and irreverence. Which is exactly what you get; the antidote to industrially brewed lagers and stuffy ales. As a craft beer fan, I’ll drink to that.
  • Gogoro. Billed by commentators as ‘the Tesla of scooters’, the revolutionary Gogoro Smartscooter offers a connected smartphone app, and a unique battery-swapping scheme. Compared to conventional products from established scooter brands, this is a bit different. This differentiation also comes through in its distinctive name which suggests transport (go-go), but in a very subtle way. The Smartscooter is not the cheapest scooter to buy, so it’s appropriate that the name has a sophisticated, premium feel.
  • Huckletree. What the heck’s a Huckletree? No idea …and who cares? This is one of those business names that makes no sense, yet is absolutely perfect. Huckletree is a community-driven shared workspace; their first building is in East London’s so-fashionable-it-hurts Clerkenwell. Without using any obvious keywords, this feels like the name of a creative working community hub. I love this.

As these examples demonstrate, this singular approach to naming a business shows a spirit of independence and confidence. On a practical level, it often also means being able to secure the .com domain – brilliant for online visibility. But more than that, choosing a distinctive name also provides an opportunity for the character of the business to shine through.

Names with character connect with customers. 



Vince Bridgman is a creative naming specialist, and co-founder of Novanym – a business naming solution for startups.

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Branding specialist, naming consultant and designer. After more than 25 years in the trade, a lovely bit of typography or a humdinger of a brand name still makes me very happy.

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