Naming Tips: Number 6 in a Series

I’ve blogged and articled the danger of using initials for brand names for at least 12 years.

The idea that people will immediately built associations to a brand comprised of group of three initials just doesn’t jibe. Initials have no personality and are usually very hard to remember. Those who have succeeded with initials have spent a lot of money rising above the static.

But like most admonitions, there are exceptions.

If you can adopt a set of initials that already have meaning to your target markets they can be effective. Think MVP, PDQ, NCO. Those sets that have their own associations can work so long as those associations are positive and relevant.

Also, you can explore combining solo letters with words or word parts: A-One, Double-D, E-Zee, Factor-X come to mind. You might try combining a letter or two with a number or two: A-1, 4-F, 7-Up, HQ-101.

Another tip: look to geographic place names (recommended by the founder of Haverhill) that sound good and are short, pronounceable and have no negative connotations. This can extend to foreign places, ancient places, mythic places as well as locations gleaned from a comprehensive atlas. Unique American Indian names, French and Spanish names, and descriptive names abound in the U.S..

It’s best not to go for well-known places unless you want to associate your product-company with the region or a certain quality linked to the area: N’Orlins Gumbo, El Paso Mexican foods. Positive word combinations that describe a location’s main attribute abound, yours for just going to the place index in the back of your Rand-McNally. Names like Cold Creek, Green Leaf, Sweet Water are ready-made for some products. If they fit the brand platform, go for it.

I know of no better way to generate a long list of brand name candidates quickly than using your atlas.

Martin Jelsema

Power 150: ranked 118

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