Discover more from wentin’s newsletter
Five Methods to “Brandify” a Name
Week 48 of Founding Typogram
Thanks for reading my newsletter. Subscribe for free to get weekly updates about my start-up journey!
Last week, I wrote about a creative process to name a brand. It has four steps:
Write down seed words based on your business idea
Make these words unique and ownable as a brand name using different methods
Create a scoring rubric and rank these brand names.
The key to success lies in step 2, where the magical transformation happens — a common word that one can find in a dictionary transforms into a memorable, impressive, one-of-a-kind brand name. What are these methods?
Method 1: transform the noun into an adjective, adverb or verb, and vice versa.
We can add adjective or adverb suffixes to make a new word out of the noun. It is more ownable as a brand since the word doesn’t exist in the dictionary. Because it is based on a real word and standard grammar rules, it is easy to piece together what it means and remember how to spell it.
Examples: Grammarly, Typely, Typefully, Contentful, Shopify, Spotify
The opposite can also be done, although less common — add noun suffixes to transform an adjective into a noun.
Method 2: remove “non-essential” letters in the word, such as vowels.
This method is so widely used that it has become a trend! Some vowel letters, especially the letter ‘e’, is very insignificant in terms of pronunciation, so why not drop them? The minimalist approach transforms an everyday word into a unique brand name without changing the pronunciation (for the most part).
Example: Flickr, Rdio, Tumblr, Scribd, Pixlr, GVE,
Method 3: Mis-spell the word, such as spell c with k or q, ph with f, i with y, s with z, etc.
Similar to dropping the vowel, the idea behind this method is also to alter the spelling without changing the pronunciation.
Example: Lyft, Disqus
Method 4: Combine two words
While one word from a dictionary may not be ownable, joining two together could be unique enough to become ownable. You can join a verb and a noun, an adjective and a noun, or just two nouns. This method is the most commonly used.
Example: Facebook, Paypal, Skyscanner, Priceline, Firebase, Coinbase, Wealthfront, Home Depot, Instant Pot
Method 5: Combine a partial word (a word root) and a word
Similar to combining two words, this method play around joining two name ideas together, but with a twist. Incorporating a partial word, usually a word root, like -gram or insta-, allows us to present two ideas in a much shorter format.
For the longest time, I thought Instant Pot was called InstaPot because the latter is shorter, punchier, and conveys the same meaning — a pot that cooks instantly.
Example: Instagram, Instabase, Ubisoft, Microsoft, Netflix, Skype
Hear from You
Do you see other patterns to convert a common everyday word into a unique brand-worthy name? Let me know. I am collecting more and hopefully making them into a free resource for new entrepreneurs.
See you next week! If you have friends who are interested in founding startups, please consider sharing my newsletter with them!
Thanks for reading wentin’s newsletter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.