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Choosing a Brand Name: Descriptive or Unique Coined Word?

Posted By Anita Campbell On April 29, 2009 @ 10:55 am In Marketing Tips | 31 Comments

Brand name for small businessI get asked this question quite a bit by startupping entrepreneurs and even established business owners:

When choosing a name for your business or a new product, should you go with a name that is descriptive (if somewhat boring)?  Or should you coin a unique made-up word?

There are different schools of thought on this.  Some people fall squarely in the “unique made-up name” camp — others think descriptive is best.

Personally I tend to fall into the descriptive camp. I like descriptive business names because they do not require as much work to convey what the business does. That is especially useful for small local businesses without much of an advertising budget, where the name on a sign or on a vehicle or in the yellow pages may be the only sort of advertising you can afford.

While there is no one right or wrong answer, I do think there are specific considerations in a small business you need to keep in mind when coming up with brand names.  Naming tends to be a somewhat different process for small businesses versus large corporations.

I examine the advantages and disadvantages of both schools of thought in my latest post at the SMB Marketing Guide, called “Choosing a Brand Name: Being Descriptive vs Coining a Unique Word [1]” which I’d like to share with you:

Now let’s take a look at using a newly-coined word or phrase for your brand. Using a unique, made-up word or phrase to name your business has its advantages:

  • Made-up words set your brand apart — Think of some of the Web 2.0 business names: YouTube, TechCrunch, Squidoo, Gizmodo. Those words did not exist until they were made up by the brand owner – they are as unique as you can get. They are distinctive and usually easy to remember.
  • Flexible enough for strategic business changes — If your business is named Mary’s Bakery, but later on you decide to open a deli or develop a line of mail order gift baskets, you may find your name is too limiting. Whereas, something like “Toodleberry’s” does not limit you to a single line of business.
  • Easier to trademark – With a name you’ve coined, you don’t have to worry about it being so generic or descriptive that the trademark examiner refuses to pass it on the grounds that it would prevent others from using normal words in everyday parlance or just is not unique enough. In general, made-up words are easier to trademark.

Anyway, read the whole thing over there. The post is in-depth.  And if you like it, please click the link over there under the post title, stating that you found the post useful. That way, I know I’m not just talking into the wind.  :)

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URL to article: http://smallbiztrends.com/2009/04/brand-name-descriptive-unique.html

URLs in this post:

[1] Choosing a Brand Name: Being Descriptive vs Coining a Unique Word: http://www.smbmarketingguide.com/brand-strategy/choosing-a-brand-name-being-descriptive-vs-coining-a-unique-word/