Braver design for a brighter tomorrow.

The Name Game

Why brand naming is key to long-term relevance and brand success.

by Lisa Desforges on 05/09/2022 | 2 minute read.

Finding a good brand name isn’t easy. And finding one you can trademark is harder still. But if you’re smart enough to invest in the art of brand naming, you’re likely to find its value immeasurable, empowering your complete brand experience from initial creation to long-term relevance. As an increasing number of new brands come to market with impenetrably abstract names, we reflect on our own success in creating meaningful and memorable names – and the routes we take to get there.

As specialists in brand creation, with over a decade of brand naming behind us, we understand the fundamental role a great name plays in long-term brand success. Your name is an opportunity to embody your positioning and personality. It has the power to drive your entire brand experience, from verbal identity and voice, to ongoing marketing and communications. When it comes to building brands from scratch, naming simply can’t be a secondary consideration. It’s an essential part of the puzzle, and getting it right demands a skillset that’s equal parts strategic, creative and intuitive – a combination that’s rarely captured on a naming brainstorm post-it.

Every project is different. But there are certainly themes to be found among the names we’ve created here at B&B – themes that work because they offer familiarity, but are open to a twist. In every case, our names help to tell a brand’s story, reflecting what makes it unique.

Analogies are an easy place to start. Take ANAGRAM, an in-office snacking station that lets you mix and match ingredients to create a different bowl every day. Or Mother, a digital vending solution that wants to help you eat more healthily, and make better food choices even when you’re busy.

Next up, animals. We have created a veritable menagerie at B&B, beginning with BEAR, the kids’ fruit snacking brand that is all about bare ingredients. For BEAR, the brand name became not only a springboard to design, but also enabled the imagining of a complete brand experience. It empowered BEAR’s NPD (think Claws, Paws and Bites), as well as marketing and comms activity, from partnerships with WWF to the famous BEAR cards. BEAR and its resulting brand character has resulted in thousands of consumer brand advocates around the world – and a £70m acquisition deal for the founders.

More recently, we have Aardvark, an insect-based pet food brand that focuses on sustainability. Unlike its bug-centric competitors, Aardvark steers clear of insect illustration, only subtly referencing ingredient through its ant-eating name. And finally, Mockingbird, a name inspired by Harper Lee’s novel and its moral of doing no harm – another analogy, this time for the cold-press process that creates the brand’s smoothies. In a smoothie and juice category that is increasingly functional, Mockingbird brings to life this emotional brand ethos in a desirable and authentic way.

Evocative job titles can be an effective route for entrepreneurial founder-led brands. We named and created Peppersmith, a brand that makes natural mint chewing gum; The Herbtender, a brand that crafts naturally effective supplements from adaptogenic herbs; and The Curators, jerky makers, who gently cure their own meats into delicious healthy snacks.

Of course, the most important lesson in naming is that you should never look a gift horse in the mouth. Liq was the obvious choice for alcoholic ice cream, a quick combination of liquor and lick; Oath was our name for a brand of oat drinks with a clear health promise; and finally Mycle, a brand of electric cycles started by a man very fortunately called Michael.

What all our names have in common is the sort of warmth and wit that consumers expect from contemporary brands. They’re suggestive, alluding to the product but rarely describing it outright, because in turbulent times we need our brands to be able to shake up their offer. And they tell a story, often becoming the north star for ongoing communications.

The value of naming goes way beyond logo design. A name captures your brand’s unique place in its category. It empowers your ongoing tone of voice and your future portfolio. Your name has the opportunity to springboard your complete brand experience, enabling relevant comms and marketing content moving forward.

As categories become more crowded with me-too product-led offers, meaningful brand names instantly prove their worth in terms of standout and memorability. But please, if you’re serious about creating a name that works, maybe don’t do it on a post-it.