Before you can start marketing and advertising your company, you’ll need to choose a unique and compelling brand name—and possibly, names for multiple branded assets. The name of your company is possibly the most important, but you may also need to come up with brand names for the products and services you sell, as well as an original brand name for your blog.

It can feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve never undertaken this before, but with the right high-level strategy and the right approach, you can come up with something spectacular.

The Most Important Elements of a Successful Brand

Before we get into tips for how to choose the right brand name for your business, product, or blog, let’s focus on the most important characteristics we want to achieve:

·   Originality. First and foremost, your brand name needs to be original. If it sounds like something consumers have heard of before, they’re not going to be interested. If it has too much in common with other names, it’s not going to stand out. You may also run into copyright issues if you aren’t careful.

·   Memorability. A good brand name should also be memorable. After hearing it or seeing it once, it should have the power to stick in someone’s head. Short, catchy brand names tend to perform better than their counterparts.

·   Suggestion/conveyance. Most brand names are designed to evoke a specific feeling, or suggest what the brand is about. In some cases, the brand is a literal description of what the company does. Upon reading or seeing the brand name, customers should have a sense of what the brand stands for and how it operates.

Important Tips for Choosing a Brand Name

These tips can increase your odds of success when choosing a brand name:

1. Write down your brand values and brand promise. One of the first things you should do is write down a list of all your brand values, and your unique brand promise. What is it that your company does? Why is this different than your competitors? What do you stand for? These probably won’t evolve into your brand name, but they’ll help you start thinking in the right mode.

2. Research similar brand names that already exist. Next, you’ll want to research your existing competitors and get a feel for their brand names. Which names seem to be catchiest or most memorable? How do you think they came up with these names? You’ll want to learn from these competitor brand names, but also make sure you avoid common tropes.

3. Favor evocative names over descriptive ones. It’s tempting to make things simple and describe your company in the brand name, in no uncertain terms. However, it’s often better to favor evocative names; in other words, it’s better to suggest a feeling or an experience than to describe your company’s business model point blank.

4. Avoid overly complex backstories. If it takes several minutes to explain the significance of your brand name, it’s probably too complex. You’re much better off with a name that can be explained easily, or better, one that speaks for itself.

5. Make it short. Again, simpler is better. If you came up with a long brand name that fits your needs otherwise, consider attempting to shorten it. Otherwise, when you’re coming up with new ideas, try to keep them to the smallest number of characters.

6. Make it easy to spell and pronounce. You never want to be in a position where your target demographics can see your brand name, but have no idea how to say it. Names that are easy to spell and pronounce are much more memorable; they’re also easier to enter as a URL, and they’re easier to transmit through word of mouth. Only resort to convoluted spellings if absolutely necessary.

7. Come up with multiple options. Too many entrepreneurs and marketers agonize over their decision, trying to come up with the singular, perfect brand name. Instead, it’s much more efficient to generate a long list of many different options. From there, you can narrow down the list and gradually move toward picking the perfect choice.

8. Get multiple opinions. Once you’re working with a narrow list of prime candidates, you should start shopping those options around. Get opinions from as many people as possible, including the people who work for you, peer entrepreneurs, and mentors. Most importantly, run tests with your target demographics and see how they respond to each name.

Don’t be surprised if your first round of generating brand names ultimately results in failure—even if you followed all of these steps and followed an exhaustive approach. It may take several rounds before you land on something that seems to be a perfect fit.