What Your Brand Name Tells Your Customers

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The RedFlash team was recently presented with an interesting opportunity: We were asked to help name a major global brand being launched by one of our healthcare clients. The stakes were especially high because the client had already invested a lot of money and effort in finding a name, yet had been unsuccessful in building consensus.


We’re happy to report that we were able to create a name that was just the right fit. But just as important, it was a name that the organization quickly embraced. This was in large part due to the process our team uses for selecting a name. Naming a brand or product is a creative activity, but it requires a thoughtful, systematic approach to ensure that the new name will actually deliver a strategic impact.



The process of creating a meaningful and long-lasting name must include these steps:

  • Identify the goals your name needs to accomplish
  • Explore how the new name should fit with your portfolio of other product and service names
  • Allow time and a strong process for creativity and individual brainstorming
  • Use measurable criteria to evaluate the names you generate


For this project, once we clarified the client’s goals for their new brand name and explored how it needed to fit with the rest of their portfolio, we set out to determine which name type would be best. In general, naming experts categorize a brand name as one (or occasionally two) of four types:

  1. MADE-UP/INVENTED (ex. Google, Febreeze)
  2. EXPERIENTIAL/CONTEXTUAL (ex. Sprint, Twitter)
  3. EVOCATIVE/SUGGESTIVE (ex. Apple, Oracle)
  4. DESCRIPTIVE/FUNCTIONAL (ex. American Airlines, Allstate)


In this particular case, we decided an evocative/suggestive name would perform better for a global brand that needed to translate into multiple languages and cultures. In the particular field into which the brand was being launched, an evocative/suggestive name would also help the new brand stand out in the crowd, which largely consisted of descriptive/functional names.


We had narrowed the selection down to a handful of strong names, but our work wasn’t done yet. Too often, the critical last step is overlooked. Names must be compared using an objective and measurable criteria, a process in which we typically involve the client. At RedFlash, some of the criteria we use are:



Once everyone involved in the naming process assessed the options against the criteria, it became much easier to recognize the strongest, most effective name. In this instance, the naming project went quickly and our clients and their global partners were delighted when we delivered the final branding package because it epitomized their goals across global audiences.

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