Written by Canon Wing

I teach entrepreneurs and organizations the proven action steps to stand out within their market, improve the perceived value of their business, and better connect with their audience through naming, branding, storytelling, and communication platforms.

March 11, 2021

How to Create a Great Brand Name in 2021

Today we are going to answer the question on every entrepreneur’s mind: How Do I Create a Great Brand Name in 2021?

Okay, so as a professional namer, this is a question I get A LOT! So for this very special episode, I’ve narrowed the process down to four vital tips to help you choose a great name for your brand, so you can Come Out of Nowhere in 2021, and become an Inspiration to Millions. I know you are excited to find that perfect name, so let’s jump right in!

Name the emotion your brand most seeks to inspire BEFORE you name your brand.

Bottom line here everyone, the decision to buy is emotional. MRI studies have concluded that our brains respond to our favorite brands in the exact same way we respond to our favorite people. When someone makes that choice to buy from your brand, it’s because they felt emotionally compelled not by your products or services, but by your brand’s promise to help make their lives better. How do you want your brand to make people FEEL?

Naming the emotion you want your brand to infuse into your brand culture and community, and then delivering that emotional experience with consistency is going to become increasingly relevant to the world as we move into 2021. Today’s fast-paced digital consumers have so many purchasing options, that they no longer have to buy from a brand that doesn’t speak to their hearts, or inspire them in some way. In fact, the average consumer now sees around 5,000 ads a day! And the very first thing your ideal individuals are going to see will be your name. Your brand’s name is your first opportunity to telegraph to your Ideal Audience that your brand is the one they’ve been looking for all along. And needs to happen in the blink of an eye.

Did you know that of all the ads we see in a day, our brains automatically delete 99% of them? It’s called The Blink Test, and it basically means that if the first thing your ideal individuals see (Your name, tagline, and logo) doesn’t connect with them emotionally in 3-5 seconds,  *BLINK* you get deleted. Bottom line? It takes a great brand name to pass The Blink Test. But great brand names that inspired a consistent emotion, were vital long before the internet and even longer before The Blink Test.

Let me give you a quick, timeless example of how having a great brand has always influenced the success of a new venture. Way back in 1893, a pharmacist from North Carolina wants to invent the next great soda pop recipe. He just knows he has it in him, like a calling. He can feel it in his gut. I bet many of you know the feeling that I’m talking about. The feeling that you know you have something to share, an idea, a product, a philosophy, a service…that could make people’s lives better— if only you knew how to reach the people who need you most! When this pharmacist finally has his finished product, there’s no doubt in his mind that it’s something really special. People will love it! Beaming with pride, he names it Brad’s Drink, and it proceeds to sit on the shelf and collect way more dust than buyers. In 1898, (five years and thousands of dollars later) in a last ditch effort to put his soda into circulation, the pharmacist decides to create a brand for his new and amazing product. So, in accordance with his product’s new branding image, Brad’s Drink is renamed to Pepsi-Cola…and as we all know, PepsiCo. is still today, one of the most recognizable brands across the globe. Why? He didn’t change the ingredients. He just created a great brand name. Well let me ask you this: What emotion does “Brad’s Drink” inspire within you? What emotion would that name inspire in anyone other than Brad, himself? This name wasn’t about creating a community for his ideal individuals to call home. It was all about him, so on the surface, his product didn’t have the emotional depth it takes to connect with millions of people, and no one felt moved to purchase his product. That is the power of branding. The decision to buy is emotional. It was true in the 1800’s and it’s even more true today. Once he chose a brand that inspired a consistent emotional response in his ideal individuals, people began to recognize it as a place where they belong. Pepsi is a name that inspires fun, playful energy. That’s what the Pepsi brand is all about and that’s what customers are still buying to this day.

So you really want to sit down, and do some brainstorming on this one. Name the ONE emotion you want your brand to be known for first, and then choose a name that is aligned with inspiring that emotion.

People often won’t remember exactly what they see, or what they read, but they will remember how something or someone makes them feel. Use your brand’s name to make them feel welcome, included, and inspired to join your brand community.

Choose a name that is clear and inclusive. New, but familiar.

I always tell my clients that in branding, clear outperforms clever everytime. Just like Brad’s Drink, it can be so easy to make the rookie mistake of choosing a name that is too specific to you. When choosing a name for your brand, you want to avoid the urge to get clever or inside joke-y. Inside jokes make people feel left out, and too clever can make some people feel like they “don’t get it.”  This is what I call, “branding small.” You want your brand’s name to open a wide and welcome door that feels like coming home, and is an incantation that calls into being the greater future promised by your brand.

Because the decision to buy is emotional, and without a clear and inclusive brand name that is new enough to spark interest, but familiar enough for your ideal individuals to still feel welcome, and at home—consumers have no foundation for building a relationship with your brand. The people in our lives that we feel closest to are often the people we feel really know us best. The people we can be ourselves around, that make us feel appreciated just as we are. And the same is true with our favorite brands. The brand’s who know us best, care about us, and want us just the way we are, those are the brand’s who win our brand loyalty, and no matter what business you are in, Brand Loyalty is your business plan.

Find a Higher Purpose.

A person doesn’t just buy a sandwich from Subway because they need to eat something. One person chooses Subway because it reminds them of picnics in the park with their grandparents. Another chooses Subway because it leaves them enough time on their lunch break to catch up with their sister. Another chooses Subway because it makes them feel good about their efforts to eat more healthy in the new year…You see, it’s never just about the product or service anymore, it’s about caring about your ideal individual’s higher purpose for wanting your brand in their lives.

As we forge ahead in this digital era, with every reason to believe that technological advances are going to just keep innovating and automating, the one thing your brand can create that is irreplaceable to your consumers in this increasingly robotic world, is a sense of humanity. Humanity in a brand is in high demand, and we are on the cusp of an evolution in the way business is done. Your consumers have a higher purpose for needing your brand, and to win brand loyalty in 2021, your brand too, needs to be rooted in a higher purpose. I always tell my clients, if it doesn’t have heart, go back to the start. So, when choosing a name to represent your brand, ask yourself what is really most important to your ideal individuals. What is their higher purpose for wanting your brand in their lives, and how can your name telegraph right from the start, that your brand knows your ideal individual’s heart? Align your brand’s higher purpose with the betterment of people’s lives, as opposed to the amassing of revenue, and you endow your brand with a strictly human quality that is unreplicatable.

And just so know, because of the way the tides are turning in today’s digital marketplace, research done by Harvard Business Review recently revealed that companies that prioritize humanity and the environment over revenue, are 10X more valuable than companies who are doing business as usual. In addition to that a recent Gallup poll revealed that 65% of American consumers are willing to pay more for a product or service from a brand who is prioritizing environmental protection over economic growth.

I’m reminded of a quote from Richard Branson, the Inspiration to Millions behind the Virgin brand, “Explore the next frontier where the boundaries between work and higher purpose are merging into one, where doing good business really is good for business.”

Find a higher purpose for your brand that is aligned with your Ideal Individuals’ values and ethics, and use that higher purpose to inspire you while developing every aspect of your brand, beginning with your name.

Choose a name that fulfills a wish.

Wish fulfillment is a powerful call to action, and when your brand name gets them dreaming about the greater future that awaits them once they join your brand community, you make buying from your brand the easiest decision they could possibly make. We’ve already talked about identifying a higher purpose for your brand that will align your brand with the values and ethics of your ideal individuals, now I want to tell you plainly what the only true purpose of a brand should be: To make a promise, and then keep that promise over and over and over again. This is how you make your customers feel like your brand really cares about them, and what they want and what they need. The name of the game is no longer to Outsell the competition. The new big win goes to the brand who outcares. And in 2021,  people  flat out aren’t going to care about what your brand knows or what your brand does, until they know that your brand cares about who they are and what they need. Telegraph that you know what they need, by choosing a name that makes them a promise, and then show them your brand cares by keeping that promise again and again.

And just to tie this all up with a win-win (my personal favorite type of win): Consistency from your brand, making a promise and then keeping it, is what inspires word-of-mouth advertising which is 50X more effective than any other kind of known marketing. Consistent wish fulfillment will win you brand loyalty, and then your brand loyalists will proceed to enthusiastically recommend your brand to others, because it makes them feel good about themselves to contribute your brand’s goodness to the lives of more and more people.

Okay so there you have it, The Four Vital Tips for How to Create a Great Brand Name in 2021: 

  1. Name the emotion your brand most seeks to inspire BEFORE you name your brand
  2. Choose a name that is clear and inclusive; new, but familiar, 
  3. Find a Higher Purpose
  4. Choose a name that fulfills a wish

What I want you to do is start at the first vital tip, and begin brainstorming to find that one magical emotion that you most want to inspire in your brand community. This emotion will be the beginning of creating your brand’s identity, and your brand’s humanity. Think of this one emotion as your brand’s first breath of life, and sew intricately throughout every aspect of your brand’s development. Once you get that one emotion named, you are ready to brainstorm further within each of the four vital tips, and see what great names emerge for your brand!

Thank you so much for joining me! I release new content every Tuesday and Thursday, so treat these blogs as a masterclass for becoming an Inspiration to Millions with Branding. And as always the way to becoming an Inspiration to Millions starts with our motto: Love What You Do and Love How You Do It.