7 great brand names – and why they work

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In a world crowded with branding and marketing, what sets great brand names apart from the rest? We look at some of the world’s best brand names and what gives them their magic.

1. Unique in any language – Häagen Dazs

The decadent ice-cream for grown ups has been a household name since the 1960s, and the fact that its name sticks in the memory is probably no coincidence. With its doubled vowels and consonants and the snazzy umlaut on the first ‘a’, it sounds strikingly foreign, a little exotic and rather sophisticated. But in fact it’s 100% made up.

The name doesn’t mean anything in any language, and although its creators intended it to sound Danish, there’s no umlaut in the Danish language.

2. Rolls off the tongue – Coca-Cola

The name simply has a fantastic cadence – there’s a sing-song quality to paired words which start off the same and end differently. It’s also versatile, being easily shortened to the equally iconic ‘Coke’. The inventor of the name was marketing-savvy even in the 1880s, saying that ‘the two Cs would look well in advertising’.

3. Short and powerful – Nike

If you take a look at the world’s most powerful brands, you’ll notice they all keep it short and sweet. One-word brands are simple to remember, and they are easy to work with graphically, giving brands the scope to create equally punchy and powerful logos and visuals.

4. Does what it says on the tin – Netflix

The media giant started out as a service sending DVDs by post to online subscribers, but quickly found its stride in the streaming market. Having a solid core niche in movies and TV, along with a brand name literally synonymous with films online, was a serendipitous mix.

5. Sounds like the product – Schweppes

The word Schweppes mimics the sound of opening the ring-pull on a tin of carbonated soda. We defy you to say the word without thinking about cracking open a cold one. In fact though, the onomatopoeia is a happy coincidence. It was the real name of Johann Schweppe, the Swiss entrepreneur who discovered a scalable way to add ‘bubbles’ to drinks.

6. Positive associations – Verizon

By combining the words ‘horizon’ and ‘veritas’ (meaning truth), the mobile and telecom behemoth creates a powerful one-two punch of positive associations with its brand name.

7. Bucks the trend – PayPal

These days it’s a big-league player, but when it started out in 1998, PayPal was a fintech pioneer before fintech even existed. Choosing a name that was friendly, bouncy, cheerful and even a little gimmicky was totally at odds with the banking stereotype of seriousness and suits, setting it firmly apart from traditional money services. But it paid off, turning out to be a prescient move that helped define the brand niche for a whole genre of startups.

Thinking about a new brand name? Why not see how it looks in print on one of our gorgeous Luxe Business Cards?

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