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There are many decisions that companies have to make. One of them is the name. Having a good brand name is essential for success, but companies often invest in bad brands. Not only do they damage their reputation and credibility, but they also lose potential customers who may be looking for something else because the company’s brand is completely invisible on the market.

Every company needs a good, recognizable brand name. But the key to a successful company is not just to create awareness, but also to be unique and creative in the way you create that brand. Choosing the right name for your company can be hard, but it’s essential if you want to have a good brand awareness. Here’s a list of common brand mistakes to avoid.

6 Big Naming Mistakes

Having a good name is essential for a company, as brand name creation is more of an art than a science and is a personal process. The important point here is not only to have good brand awareness with the consumer, but also to have a really good name. Because if you choose the wrong name, your brand will be invisible. With the right name, you can be the center of attention for customers.


Being Like Everyone

Human nature wants to copy everything that works. This is why a well-known brand is an incentive. However, every brand gains this awareness with time and money.

Give up the urge to copy your competitors when creating a brand name. Do not try to be like your competitors. Make something unique.


Ignoring Consumer Needs

Before naming, make sure you do your brand positioning. Understand what your audience wants and needs. Act accordingly.

Trying to Be Overly Explanatory

A good brand name is an entry point, not a prospectus. You need to attract the attention of your target audience, not by telling them everything, but by leaving mysterious spots for them. That’s why you should focus on a direct message to get their attention. You should expect your customers to fill in the remaining gaps with packaging, advertising, etc.

Can you feel the difference between Amazon and (a cheap bookstore, pretty self-explanatory)? Amazon is a powerful and intriguing name, while the other name gives the target audience all the details. It’s totally generic and forgettable.


Fear of Being Provocative

Sometimes the brand has to choose a name that is not provocative so that it does not attract much attention. (Typically, the Philip Morris group of companies decided to change their name to Altria because they were uncomfortable with the name being associated only with cigarette brands.)

Failure to Recognize Innovations

Fashion, by its nature, is constantly changing. Naming trends may also change, but a well-chosen word (or words) is likely to magically stay the same. So choose a name that’s likely to be said with pride, taking into account future innovations.

Choosing Words That Are Difficult to Read and Say

If you’re into a deep name-building project, you should pay attention to how it’s pronounced in terms of the magic of your brand. Because unless your brand is easy to read or say, people will misinterpret it.

Easily Mistaken For Something Else is Bad

Let’s say you’re in the retail clothing business, and your company is named Hearty’s. It’s located just down the street from a fast-food chain — Hardee’s, specifically.

That could be a problem.

Even worse, though, would be if your retail store was located near a Kohl’s store, and you decided to name your company Coals.

Those are somewhat extreme examples, but it does go to show how market research is absolutely vital before you choose your company name. Don’t choose anything that could easily be mistaken for the name of an existing company, especially if that existing company is also in your target market, or if it is close by to your brick and mortar store. Of course, that extends to other aspects of branding, as well — avoid choosing a logo and colors which are too similar to your competition.

Neglecting To Do A Trademark Search is Bad

Following in the footsteps of the “don’t look too much like your competition,” another mistake that you could make in choosing a name is actually “looking exactly like your competition.”

For example, you could decide on a name, get your feedback, get started on your setup — and only then, much further down the line, discover that there’s already a company called by the name you’ve chosen, and you’re about to get hit with a trademark infringement suit.

This is why — among other reasons — it’s always best to do your research well before you make any real decisions. Researching your naming options will keep you from stepping on other people’s toes, and it will save you time, money, and effort in the long run.

Complicated Spelling And/Or Pronunciation is Bad

This is another issue that strikes well-meaning companies at times: they may have a perfectly valid reason for choosing their name, but that doesn’t mean that the name will be easy to say or spell. And if something is difficult to say or spell, it’s probably also going to be difficult to remember.

Memorability is a key factor to look for in your business name. It’s best to choose a company name which is short, to the point, and which uses only a word or two, rather than a longer phrase. You should definitely say the potential names out loud in order to hear how complicated they may be for your customers.

At least, in most cases — but it’s possible that you may stumble upon a brand name which either has a negative connotation in the minds of the listener, or even no connotation at all.

For instance, you may decide that a blank slate is the best way to start the new chapter in your life as a business owner, but if you call your business Blank, it’s pretty likely that people will think there’s been a mistake somewhere.

Brand Example Mistakes

Reebok suffered a marketing debacle when it launched the Incubus, a women’s running shoe, in 1997.

Incubus was a mythological hero who raped women while they slept.


When the Umbro brand named Zyklon for its newly launched shoe, it drew the reaction of the Jews.

Because Zyklon was the name of the poison gas used by the Nazis in concentration camps.


Famous personal care product brand Colgate has launched a toothpaste called “Cue” in France.

But “Cue” was the name of the notorious pornography magazine in France.


Ford’s Pinto model did not reach the desired sales figures in Brazil.

Because “pinto slang” meant “small male organ” in Brazil. Ford had the Pinto brand removed from all its cars and had the name Corcel written, which means “Horse”.


One reason Schlotzsky’s Deli failed is because of its name.

It is difficult to pronounce, difficult to understand, and difficult to spell.


The Japanese have simplified their names, which are easy in their own language but cannot be pronounced by foreigners. They chose names like Panasonic and Fuji. The Chinese and Koreans also give themselves western names to make life easier for westerners.

In short, be very careful when naming; and, don’t be a name fetishist; change your name if it’s bad.