Great names are really special. We know it almost instantly when we come across one, as they literally roll off the tongue and are packed full of meaning.
While it’s relatively simple to pick out good names from a pack of average and bad ones, it may not be apparent why the name is so effective.
In order to create an awesome name, a number of strategies are combined to produce something that sounds good, makes sense, is easy to understand and establishes a connection with its audience, which ultimately results in a highly memorable name.
Let’s take a close look at each of these qualities and use Dunkin’ Donuts as an example to explore these various naming methodologies.
1. Sound Good
Dunkin’ Donuts sounds great, and they taste even better! It uses a common naming strategy called alliteration to combine two words that begin with the same letter and hence are similar sounding.
At the same time, both words also have two syllables, which results in a nice rhythmical bounce when the name is pronounced.
2. Make Sense
There are lots of ways to combine words that sound good together, but it needs to make sense as well, and that’s when the process becomes more challenging.
‘Donkey Donuts’ is alliterative and has the same number of syllables but it doesn’t have much meaning. In contrast, the word dunkin’ (abbreviated from ‘dunking’ but pronounced in a similar way) may conjure images of a basketball dunk (where the hoop is donut shaped) for some people, while others may be thinking of dunking their donuts into their morning coffee.
Either way, it’s certainly a lot more meaningful than DonkyDonuts, DonutDash, DreamyDonuts, DiverseDonuts or most of the other words starting with the letter D.
3. Easy to Understand
On top of making sense, a good name should be easy to understand for the people that it’s intended to reach.
A cleverly constructed name with a deep witty meaning may make sense to its creator and those who ‘get it’, but it’s not much use if most of its target audience can’t figure out what it means.
So, to make things even more difficult, you need to keep it simple when coming up with a name that sounds good and makes sense.
4. Positive Connotation
The best names are able to convey a powerful message to its market about the underlying product in an explicit or indirect way.
In the case of Dunkin’ Donuts, a basketball ‘dunk’ is a very positive event, while dunking or dipping a donut in coffee describes how some people like to enjoy their donuts.
As you can see, a name that has more than one potential interpretation has the added advantage of resonating with people in different ways, which gives it a perfect mix of depth and breadth.
5. Choose an Appropriate Naming Strategy
The end objective of any naming strategy is to make the name memorable. This can be achieved by using a few or as many of the techniques discussed as possible.
Perfectionists may get obsessed about trying to produce an ideal name that covers all the bases by sounding good, rhyming, containing a lot of meaning, is funny, clever, witty and brimming full of other elements.
This is not advisable though, as it is almost impossible to make a name work on all fronts. Most of the time, it doesn’t pay to try and be too clever. For some markets, simplicity may be best, so select a suitable strategy to increase your name’s effectiveness in connecting with its audience.