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Hello, My Name is Awesome

How to Create Brand Names That Stick

By Alexandra Watkins
9-minute read
Audio available
Hello, My Name is Awesome: How to Create Brand Names That Stick by Alexandra Watkins

Hello, My Name is Awesome (2014) is about the most important decision a new business faces: choosing a brand name that will launch the company into the stratosphere where it belongs. You might think picking a name is straightforward, but you have a lot to learn! This is your guide to negotiating the snakes and ladders of the brand-naming process – and coming out on top.

  • Anyone who’s trying to come up with a great brand name
  • Anyone who wants to better understand branding
  • Business owners who suspect that their company name may be alienating potential customers

Alexandra Watkins is the founder of the naming firm, Eat My Words, and a recognized expert on brand names.

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Hello, My Name is Awesome

How to Create Brand Names That Stick

By Alexandra Watkins
  • Read in 9 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 5 key ideas
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Hello, My Name is Awesome: How to Create Brand Names That Stick by Alexandra Watkins
Synopsis

Hello, My Name is Awesome (2014) is about the most important decision a new business faces: choosing a brand name that will launch the company into the stratosphere where it belongs. You might think picking a name is straightforward, but you have a lot to learn! This is your guide to negotiating the snakes and ladders of the brand-naming process – and coming out on top.

Key idea 1 of 5

To leave a great first impression, ensure your brand name is super “sticky” and makes people smile.

Do you remember the first time you heard of a website called Facebook? What was your immediate impression? Did the name make it sound like a hip place to be?

Chances are, the answer is yes. And that’s exactly how it should be: a good name should create positive, brand-aligned associations without being difficult to understand. The name Facebook, for instance, instantly conjures up thoughts of people connecting.

Flickr is a more challenging brand name. Even though it’s a successful company, this photo-sharing platform has long struggled simply because people don’t know what its name stands for. You definitely don’t want people drawing a blank when they hear your name.

That’s why, in order to discover the perfect name for your company, you should follow a conceptual approach captured by the acronym SMILE. It stands for:

Suggestive: Amazon is a great name because it implies that the retailer carries everything from A to Z, and is massive like its namesake river. If the company had initially been called Bookshop.com, it probably would have followed a very different path.

Meaningful: to convey meaning to potential customers, don’t name your company after yourself, since strangers don’t associate anything with your name.

Imaginary: an evocative, visual name is hugely powerful. Think of Timberland, which suggests woods and outdoorsiness. This was exactly the effect intended by the founders.

Legs: choose names that create space for wordplay. Ben & Jerry’s is masterful at doing this with its ice cream flavors: think Chunky Monkey and Half Baked. Choose fun, playful names people might even want to see printed on a T-shirt.

And finally, a recent Fast Company article showed that 50 percent of every business is driven by emotion. For instance, just think of the fragrance, Obsession.

Above all, making people smile when they see your name is key. Because as we’ll see in the upcoming blink, you definitely don’t want to leave anyone scratching their head.

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