Wondering how to pick a strong brand name and what you should consider? When starting up a new business endeavor, there are so many things to think about. As any new business owner can attest, our brain is often split between logistics and creativity. Half the energy is spent mapping out the timeline, legalities, software, and taxes. The rest of the energy is spent on advertising, aesthetics, and connecting with your audience. Here’s an insider tip, when it comes time to pick a small brand name, use equal parts logistics and creativity. Here’s how to balance both and end up with a brand name that appeals to your audience and pleases the USPTO in your trademark application.
GIVE YOUR BUSINESS NAME CHARACTER
If you’re considering a brand name that includes the name of a place or simply what you do, we’d encourage you to infuse some creativity and character into your name. This will not only bolster interest in attracting new members of your brand’s awareness pool, but it’ll also get you further with trademarking your brand’s name with the USPTO. The government instituted trademarking in order to prevent consumer confusion. They want your trademarked logo, name, or tagline to be clear and distinct in your industry. They also want it to be unique and not generic—they don’t allow business names to be trademarked if they describe a function, feature, purpose, use, quality, characteristic, or ingredient of the goods or services. This can be hard to grasp without an example but becomes incredibly clear when you think of it in terms of a potential business name like, “Law Firm”. (Ignore how clunky and strange this sounds as a business name for a moment!) The USPTO wouldn’t allow this to be trademarked as a business name but they would allow “Zara Watson Law” because it adds an element of the unique that makes it much more difficult for someone to confuse use with another business when they first encounter our brand.
MAKE IT DISTINCTIVE
When it comes to picking a strong brand name, you want something that feels inherently different than others on your market. First, it’s helpful to know that the USPTO has a strong set of guidelines that can help you determine what will serve your business best. On their site, they say that the strongest types of trademarks that are most likely to get approved are invented words because it’s incredibly rare that someone else might also invent the same word for the same type of product. Verizon® is a great example of an invented name.
Equally as strong is an arbitrary word used as a brand name which is where you’re using a real word that’s unrelated to your business. Think Amazon®, the name of an incredible rainforest and also now a household name for an e-commerce giant.
Finally, you can also choose a suggestive word that doesn’t directly describe your brand’s offerings but does hint at them. Pinterest® and Groupon® for examples of this.
We hope you find these guidelines helpful if you’ve been wondering how to pick a strong brand name! If you would like support in the process, we’re happy to help. Grab information on our naming support here.
This post is for general education and does not initiate an attorney-client relationship with us. We always recommend consulting a trademark attorney for your brand’s specific needs.