Brainstorming Worksheet to Help You Name Your Brand

We all know the name of a company or brand is important, but coming up with a winner is far from easy. Back in June, Nelly wrote a great post about Rules for Naming Your Startup, which outlines a checklist for validating whether you have a good name and lists possible pitfalls to avoid. So how do you come up with name candidates to run through this checklist?

Recently the group I’m in at work faced this challenge because we needed to come up with a name for a new offering. When we were asked to submit ideas, I remember looking at the blank screen wondering how best to begin my brainstorming.

Then my manager sent a link to a Naming Worksheet that guides you through the brainstorming process for naming. The worksheet, by WOW Branding, categorizes various types of brand names for you to consider. It defines each naming approach and provides examples of well-known brands who use that approach.

Here are just a few of the 9 naming approaches covered in the worksheet:


Names that are a combination or connection of two or more ideas

Examples: FedEx, Microsoft, Bisquick

Random Words, Appropriation

Completely random words that will be appropriate for the new concept over time.

Examples: Old Navy, Section 3

Acronym, Abbreviation

Names that stated as a group of letters that are intended to become the common name.

Examples: BMW, IBM, BBC, UPS

The Naming Worksheet also includes blank lines for you to fill in your own ideas. Send it out to your teammates. Have them fill it out. This worksheet helped my work group generate about 300 names after just two days.

After you pare down the list to the best of the best, be sure to score each name using WOW Branding’s Naming Criteria Worksheet and see which name ends up with the most points. And of course go back and brush up on the Rules for Naming Your Startup to be sure you have a winner.

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