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Types of brand names with examples

Descriptive Brand Names

Descriptive brand names are a type of brand names that loosely or directly describe either the product or service a company provides. These types of brand names are designed to give customers an idea of what the company does at a glance.

Descriptive brand names can help customers identify with the company and its products or services more quickly.

Examples of descriptive brand names include:

  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • Apple
  • FedEx

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Definition

Brand names can be defined as the unique words, symbols, or visual elements that a company uses to identify certain products or services. A brand name is an essential component of both traditional and digital marketing efforts.

It allows the company to differentiate its products from those of its competitors and communicate key messages that create an emotional connection with customers. Brands are typically comprised of a few simple elements.

These components can include basic descriptors such as geographic origin, physical characteristics, purpose/benefit, or quality claims; sub-brands; and/or symbols or visual marks associated with the product (such as logos).

Creating a successful brand name requires careful consideration of the target market and how the chosen words will be interpreted by consumers.

Plus, there are various types of brand naming strategies businesses can use when naming their product or service.

Examples include:

  • Descriptive names: These types of brand names simply describe what your product does in straightforward language. Some well-known examples include Amazon (online retailer), Samsung (electronics innovator), and Microsoft (software giant).
  • Evocative names: Evocative brand names imply certain feelings or connotations associated with the product’s purpose or benefit. For example, Walgreens (drug store) suggests comfort, trustworthiness, and reliability; Visa invokes feelings of speed, security and convenience; Starbucks implies “modern” coffee consumption values.
  • Invented words: Invented names are unique but have no clear meaning on their own beyond being associated with your products and services. Examples include Puma (sportswear), Xbox (game console) and Kodak (photography).

Examples

Brand names can create an emotional connection with consumers and be used as a powerful marketing tool. They can convey a wide range of meaning, from describing a product’s purpose or connecting to a particular lifestyle.

The following examples highlight different types of brand names and the specific qualities they share. Your business name or product name should be chosen carefully to ensure it encapsulates your unique identity and conveys the message that you want customers to hear.

Descriptive Brand Names: Descriptive brand names are literal and tell customers what the product is or does. These can be clever, concise, and easy for consumers to remember.

Examples include:

  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Pinterest
  • Spotify
  • Amazon Prime

Evocative Brand Names: Evocative brand names evoke an emotion in customers that helps create an instant connection with the company or its products. These names focus on creating an impression rather than explaining what the business does.

Examples include:

  • Apple
  • Google
  • Adidas
  • KFC

Symbolic Brand Names: Symbolic brand names bring symbolic imagery into branding by using figurative language such as metaphor, irony, puns and symbolism that resonates with customers in a meaningful way.

Examples include:

  • Twitter (a flock of birds)
  • Coca Cola (its bottle resembles an image reflective of traditional American south culture)
  • McDonald’s (the Golden Arches reflect an M which stands for McDonald’s)

Suggestive Brand Names

Suggestive brand names are a popular tool used by companies to hint at the type of product, service, or offering they provide. They involve selecting a word or phrase that resonates with customers in order to evoke an idea related to the brand offering.

Some examples of suggestive brand names are Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Expedia.

By using words that are suggestive of what a company does, customers can quickly and easily make the connection to a product or service. In this article, we will look at the various types of brand names, with a focus on suggestive brand names.

Definition

A brand name is a designator or name used to identify and differentiate products or services in the marketplace. Brand names can be made up of words, letters, numbers and combinations of these elements.

Some companies use descriptive terms to convey what the product does, while others create brand names that suggest certain qualities about the product or service.

There are two main types of brand names: suggestive and arbitrary. An arbitrary name is one that has no suggestiveness or relationship to the product offering – think Apple computers, Nike shoes and Target stores.

A suggestive name indicates something about the character of the product it represents – think Amazon online shopping, Real Estate Miami or Perfect Blend Coffee Roasters.

Here are some examples of suggestive brand names:

  • Rejuvenox (for a skin care line)
  • Inspiree (for a clothing line)
  • Fruitastic (for a healthy snack provider)
  • Cityscapes (for an urban apparel company)
  • Domestic Bliss (for a home decor store)

Examples

When it comes to giving your business, organization, or product a unique name, there are many options at your disposal. From descriptive words to abstract phrases and acronyms, there are a variety of ways to capture the essence of what you offer.

Here are some examples of suggestive brand names that you can consider for your own business:

  • Descriptive Names – These names usually describe what the company does or offers in an evocative way. Examples include Baseline Consulting, Sunset Touring Co., Bluebird Electronics, and Cloudy Accounting Services.
  • Abstract Phrases – These names may be made up words or phrases that describe the experience of using a brand without simply pointing out its purpose. Examples include SilverCrest Productions, Uplift Media Group, Blush Photography Studio & Consulting, and Wishful Thinking Coaching & Consulting.
  • Acronyms – Naming a company after its acronym makes it easier for customers to remember when searching for it online or introducing it to others verbally. Examples include ABC Limited (Always Best Care), NDC Group (National Data Center), CCI Ltd (Communications and Consultants Inc).

Arbitrary Brand Names

Arbitrary brand names are non-sensical, made-up names that do not have any special meaning or significance. These are created by the business purely to create a unique identity that is not associated with any existing product or brand in the market.

Examples of arbitrary brand names include:

  • Google
  • Apple
  • Microsoft
  • KFC

Definition

A brand name is a name, phrase, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other items. Brand names create an identity for the customer to associate with the particular products and services offered by different businesses.

There are four types of brand names– descriptive, arbitrary, suggestive and coined – each with its own unique set of characteristics that can help customers better identify car owners come up with successful strategies for the marketing of their products.

  • Descriptive: Descriptive brand names are self-explanatory and describe the exact characteristics or features of a product or service offerings in straightforward terms. For example, “McDonald’s” implies both that it is a fast-food restaurant as well as its famous burgers.
  • Arbitrary: Arbitrary brand names consist of words that have no connection to the product or service being offered. There is often no correlation between consumer expectation and what is actually provided by companies using arbitrary brands but these are still successfully used by businesses due to their non-descriptive nature making them difficult to copy. Examples include Apple Inc., Amazon, Prada etc.
  • Suggestive: Suggestive brand names are similar to descriptive ones but without explicitly stating what features are contained in the product or service being sold. These types of brands usually invoke related ideas such as luxury (Cadillac), youth (Energy Drink), sophistication (Rolex), speed (Nike) etc.
  • Coined: Coined brand names use invented words not found in any dictionary as their trademark name. These words often sound futuristic, sophisticated or imply new technology such as Xerox, Kodak, Google and Yahoo etc.

Examples

When creating a new business or brand, it is important to choose the right name. A great brand name can create loyalty among customers, build relationships with potential customers, and contribute to customer recognition.

Different types of names function differently in marketing and branding strategies. The most common varieties include descriptive, associative, arbitrary words, acronyms and made-up names (neologisms).

Below are some examples of each type:

  • Descriptive:
    • The Cleaning Company
    • Green Energy Solutions
    • Leafy Hair Salon
  • Associative:
    • Adobe (from the Spanish word for mud brick)
    • Apple (a biblical homage to the apple in the Garden of Eden)
    • Camel (evoking images of exotic desert journeys)
  • Arbitrary words:
    • Kodak (coined by George Eastman from an existing word that had no established meaning)
    • Toyota (the syllables have no obvious meaning but were chosen for their pleasing sound)
  • Acronyms:
    • IBM (International Business Machines)
    • NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
  • Neologisms:
    • Xerox (made up word that has become synonymous with photocopying)
    • Microsoft (portmanteau of ‘microcomputer software’)

Acronym Brand Names

Acronym brand names are becoming more and more popular in the modern age, especially with tech companies and startups. An acronym brand name is a combination of words, usually abbreviated, to create an easily recognizable and memorable brand name.

Examples of acronym brand names include Amazon, Coca-Cola, and IBM.

In this section, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of acronym brand names as well as some other examples:

Definition

Brand names can be made up of acronyms, which are abbreviations that form a word. Using acronyms in brand names is a great way to create an identity that is unique and highly recognizable to make it easier for customers to remember your company or product. This type of brand name creates a memorable and powerful image for customers, but the success or failure of a brand name ultimately depends on how well the customer can remember it.

An acronym brand name is made up of two or more letters that form an acronym that is easy to recognize. This type of branding does not necessarily need to use real words as its components, although many do. The most important thing about an acronym brand name is that it should be memorable and easily pronounceable so customers don’t get confused trying to figure out what it stands for. While some may consider them clever, they should also be meaningful enough so they accurately represent the product or service the company provides.

Examples of acronym brands include:

  • BMW (Bavarian Motor Works)
  • P&G (Procter & Gamble)
  • KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken)

These successful companies have used strategic branding with catchy acronym names in order to stand out from their competition and make their products more easily identified by customers.

Examples

Acronym brand names, also known as initialisms, can be powerful ways to differentiate a brand and make it memorable. There are several types of acronym brand names and many examples used by popular brands around the world.

Let’s explore some of these types of acronym brand names:

  • Abbreviated Names: An abbreviated name is one that usually has two letters or syllables to represent the full name of the business. It could also represent a product in the business’s portfolio or line of products. Popular example include KFC (formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken), NBC (National Broadcasting Company), AT&T (American Telephone & Telegraph) and 3M (Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Corporation).
  • Combined Words: This type of acronym is created by hybridizing two common words into one to create a unique sounding phrase. These range from descriptive businesses like FedEx (Federal Express) to more abstract phrases like Nivea (an artificial word formed from “Nice” + “Vitality”).
  • Backronyms: This type of acronyms are created with existing words for which, for better or worse, meanings are constructed as an afterthought. Examples include DHL (Dalsey Hillblom Lynn) and BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke).
  • Creative Puns: A creative pun creates an acronym using words that sound similar, that are homophonic—sharing the same pronunciation but different in meaning—but when combined, form something else entirely new but can still be related to their industry. An example of this type would be BKLYN—the online beauty retailer branding itself after the trendy New York neighborhood Brooklyn—or BLT owning—for a ‘Better Living Through Ownership’ associated with owning property instead of renting it.

Combination Brand Names

A combination brand name is a type of brand name that is composed of two or more words that are combined together to form a single brand name. Examples of combination brand names are Google, Kraft Foods, and Microsoft.

Combination brand names are typically used to create a catchy or memorable name that helps to distinguish the company from its competitors. They often times also emphasize the product or service that the company offers.

Combination brand names can be a powerful tool for companies to create brand awareness and recognition.

Definition

Combination brand names are a type of brand name that combines words and sometimes symbols or images to create a unique, effective brand name. Most brands use some combination of word and non-word characters, both for marketing purpose and for legal protection.

A combination brand name is usually created with one or two words (or short phrases), a logo or other distinguishing elements.

Combination brand names tend to have more descriptive meaning than single word brands, while still being relatively short, versatile and easy to remember. They often give insights into the company’s mission or provide specific information about the products or services offered by the business.

Common elements of these names include adjectives, verbs, geographic locations, foundational promises and nouns related to the product category.

Here are some examples of combination brands:

  • Amazon (Online selling)
  • Uber (Taxi/transport service)
  • Netflix (Movie streaming)
  • Airbnb (Hospitality booking)
  • Applebee’s (Food & beverage restaurant chain)
  • Target (Retail store chain)
  • Google Books (Online book seller)

Examples

Combination brand names are created to give a company, product or service visibility, recognition and memorability. The right combination brand name can create a powerful, distinct and attractive impression for customers.

Depending on your goals, you might choose a descriptive name that concisely conveys what you do or offer, or an abstract name that’s easy to remember but offers no clues about your offering.

Examples of each type of brand name include:

Descriptive names:

  • Gap apparel store
  • Airbnb rental marketplace
  • Toyota car manufacturer
  • Amazon retailer
  • Yummly food app

Abstract names:

  • Uber transportation app
  • Apple electronic goods maker
  • Kodak camera brand
  • Google search engine
  • Spotify music streaming service

Evocative Brand Names

Evocative brand names are those that conjure up an emotional response and create a strong mental connection with the consumer. These types of brand names capture the essence or mission of the brand, product, or service.

They allow the consumer to quickly understand what the brand is about and create a positive emotional response or association.

Examples of evocative brand names include Amazon, Apple, Nike, and Google.

Definition

An evocative brand name is a type of brand name that is designed to evoke emotions and memories in consumers. Such names typically contain words that have strong associations with the product or evoke ideas and imagery related to the service’s purpose.

An example of an evocative brand name would be “Apple” for technology, which conjures up images of pure joy and innovation, or “Amazon” for online retailing.

In contrast, descriptive brand names explain exactly what the product or service provides; an example of this type of brand name would be “Walmart” for discount retailing.

Evocative brands tend to stand out from their competition and inspire loyalty from consumers. They are also more memorable than descriptive brands because they tap into people’s imaginations and emotions.

Although these types of names can take time for customers to recognize and remember, when used effectively, they become identifiable with a particular company or product in customers’ minds.

Examples

When creating the right brand name, the goal is to choose one that is both memorable and meaningful, evoking emotion or conveying a certain image. While both descriptive and abstract names can be effective, getting creative with the naming process can yield positive results.

Here are some general types of brand names, along with examples from well-known companies.

  • Descriptive brands: Descriptive brands make it clear what your product or service does. They feature simple terms such as characteristics, features, customer segments or benefits that leave no room for misinterpretation of what you offer—examples include shampoo brand “Fresh & Clean” or home health provider “Comfort Care.”
  • Abstract brands: The best abstract brands are not completely arbitrary combinations of words but instead have thoughtful connections to the company and its mission—think Netflix or Apple. This type of creatively worded name often serves as an inspiration point and leaves room for growth as a company evolves.
  • Acronyms: An acronym is an abbreviation used as a word that is formed from the first letter (or letters) of each word in a phrase or title—such as P&G for Procter & Gamble and NASA for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Microsoft is one example of an acronym becoming a common household name over many years through heavily focused marketing efforts.
  • Metaphors: Metaphorical names are used by companies to convey ideas related to their business in an easy-to-understand way—such FedEx (Fast Delivery), Pandora (mysteriously selected surprises), and H&R Block (removing unexpected hurdles). As with acronyms, companies will often find value in investing time in constructing metaphoric names that help convey their services in ways customers can easily identify with.

Neologism Brand Names

Neologism brand names are created from entirely new words, or a combination of existing words and sounds that are combined to create a brand name. These types of brand names are not always easy to come up with, as they require creativity and innovation.

However, they can be useful as they help to create a unique identity for a brand and can help to create a powerful connection between the brand and its customers.

Let’s look at some examples of neologism brand names:

Definition

The term “neologism” refers to a newly coined word or phrase, usually created by combining existing words or phrases. In the world of branding, neologisms are often used to create memorable and distinctive names for new companies and products.

Instead of using directly descriptive terms like “dry cleaners”, a brand may use the neologism “Airdry” to evoke an image of cleanliness in the minds of customers.

Neologisms can be incredibly effective in engaging customers and driving conversations, but they can also be confusing if potential buyers don’t immediately understand their meaning.

Neologism brand names should be accompanied by stories, artwork, or other aspects that help to clearly explain and position them for success in today’s competitive market.

Examples of neologism brand names include:

  • Spotify
  • Fitbit
  • Dropbox
  • Lyft
  • Viber
  • GoPro

Examples

Neologism brand names are new, made-up words that represent a product or service. Companies will often generate term names because the words don’t get confused with other known brand names.

This type of naming strategy is usually implemented when the creators of the name want to express originality and create a concept within the brand itself.

Examples of neologism brand names include:

  • Amazon – derived from the Amazon River, this term represents strength, size, and power
  • Adobe – derived from ‘adobe’, which is an unplastered sun-dried brick used in construction and signifies reliablity
  • Google – this word was selected because it suggested power and money in addition to being phonetically pleasing
  • Yahoo – derived from “yahouh” which is an internet slang for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”
  • Yelp – Created by taking letters from yellow pages, Yelp suggests giving help in finding directions around your city or review businesses online
  • Spotify – derived from “spot” and “identify,” Spotify suggests identifying trends through data spots.
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Sam
Sam

Housam is a content marketing expert with a knack for writing articles. He loves to name and nickname things creatively, so much so that he started a blog in which he writes about names and their meanings. He is also an avid reader, the dad of two wonderful dogs, and a full-time RV traveler with no definite destination.

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