What’s in a name?

Arguably one of the most important aspects of interaction with a brand or even a person.

When meeting someone for the first time, whether connected through friends, at a network event, or on social media, one of the first interactions we’ll have with that person will be their name.

“Hi, I’m Daniel, nice to meet you. What’s your name?”

Your name is how I identify you, and how I’ll refer you to others. It’s a legal entity given to us by our parents and such is its sentimental value in Western culture that we’ll likely carry it throughout our lifetime, perhaps only changing it as our marital status changes should we choose to.

Much of the same can be said about our businesses. We name them at birth and will likely never change their name for sentimental reasons or out of fear of confusing those who already know us. It is therefore important when naming our brand that we get the name right at the beginning or
change the name if it’s not quite a good fit.

When businesses start their branding journey with us, either as a start-up, or as an established business wanting to raise their game, this is almost always one of the first questions we ask:

Have you got the right name?

The reason we ask such a provocative question is to strategically lead our discussions away from what the client thinks they want, to shift the focus onto what might actually work best for the target audience or community.

Thoughtfully tackling this question puts a pin in the brand identity design process, either building your confidence in your brand or enabling you to make good changes before investing the majority of your branding budget in the visual elements such as your logo, website or signage.

Benefits of a great name

The benefits of a great brand name are numerous and include:

  • Having equitable value (brand assets/trademarks etc.)
  • Being memorable
  • Brand Loyalty
  • Resonating with new customers/audience
  • Painting your business in a positive light
  • Being adaptable for future business ventures/products, creating limitless expansion opportunity
  • Raising your perceived value
  • Giving you a competitive advantage in the market

To help answer the big question [have you got the right name?] you might find it helpful to download our name evaluation sheet.

It’s important to answer the questions from the perspective of your ideal customer.

Very few companies are able to claim a ‘perfect’ name or are able to answer all of the above questions positively.

A further challenge is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to secure a great name for your brand with many already taken. One reason for this is that registering a business, social media handle or domain name is relatively easy and cheap (or free) so many are taken even if they are unused.

Twitter alone has 261 million registered users, and every English word, as well as almost every combination of 5 characters, has already been registered as a .com domain.

Although a difficult process, all is not lost. The opportunity to create a great brand name is still there, it just takes patience, creativity and a little know-how.


Before approaching us for brand identity design, Dr. James and Rebecca Davies had been sitting on a brand name for their orthodontic practice for eight years. They were excited that the long wait was over and were ready to get stuck into building their business.

We asked the same question, “Have you got the right name?”

Through the Discovery, our strategy consultation process, we all soon realised that the original proposed brand name wouldn’t connect very well with their intended target audience. The start-up quickly enlisted our help to draw up a range of possible names that would not only fit their target audience’s expectations, brand culture, values and business aspirations but would also be available across the board with a consistent handle.

Quayside Orthodontics was chosen, and although it was an emotional decision to change the name they had long imagined their business operating under, Dr. James Davies now looks back on that moment as a pivotal point in their business journey. He can visibly see the benefits of the right name outworked as they grow from strength to strength. As an added benefit to the business, we secured their name with a .com and .co.uk domain, as well as an array of social media handles @QuaysideOrtho. This dramatically increased the brand value of the business, a great asset to have should they ever decide to sell.

How to create a great brand name

We will explore more on how to create a great brand name in a future post so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to hear when it’s available.

If you can’t wait until then and would like to work with us to create a name for your business, get in touch to START A PROJECT and tell us a little more about your brand.

The Author: Daniel Patterson
Brand Strategist & Identity Designer Every business deserves an Unforgettable Brand. Daniel founded Highly in 2018 to help businesses and organisations do just that! In 2020, he created the Branding Masterplan, helping businesses save thousand$ on brand strategy.