You Know my Name

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Let’s talk a little bit about “Naming” in the context of Branding and Marketing.


The purpose of marketing is NOT to sell, but to make yourself stand out from the crowd. That’s the reason that Branding has really become synonymous with Marketing, and the process of naming a company or product is the first and possibly most important step in that process.


There are essentially three kinds of names: The first is “Descriptive”. A car washing business might adopt the name “AutoWash”. You could consider it a clever device, as it describes washing automobiles and it is an automatic washing process. But it actually would work against you because it causes you to fade into the crowd of your competitors. It is not memorable – it’s just another way of saying “Car Wash”. “Joe’s Car Wash” would actually be better – at least you can identify with a guy named Joe.

The second is the “Unique Empty Vessel”. Let’s take “Uniquant” as an example. It says nothing. “It can become whatever we want”, says the marketing guy. But there is no identification with anything in the human mind or spirit. It is as unique as a snowflake in a snowdrift.


“Evocative Names” are often counter-intuitive, but they are “human” in that they stand out and evoke some association or identification in our minds. Who would want to fly on a “Virgin Airlines” when they have no experience? Who would want to buy from “The Gap” when there is something missing, or drive a “Stingray” when it is a slow, ugly and dangerous animal?

But when other computer companies were called IBM, NEC and Microsoft, a company came on the market named “Apple” – a name that is simple, warm, human, approachable and different.

In our next articles, we’ll talk about the five qualities a name should contain, and what to do when your brand is your given birth name.

For help in effectively branding yourself, email us at or call us at 646 808 0249. We’re looking forward to getting emotionally involved with your brand.