My DIY Guide to a Perfect Brand Name

My DIY Guide to a Perfect Brand Name

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You’ve got the vision, the passion, and the team. What’s left?

The name — a crucial cornerstone that can make or break your brand’s success.

Fun fact: Making your company name easier to say could add $3.75 million to its value. Simple names attract more investors. - Journal of Financial Economics

Many have asked me how to come up with a brand name without breaking the bank by hiring an agency.

Today, I’m sharing a 60-minute DIY naming exercise.

Let’s get started!

Why the name game matters

Consider your brand name as the first impression people have of your business.

It’s everywhere — from your website URL to your social media profiles.

More importantly, a name isn’t easily changeable, so it’s worth investing the time to get it right, right from the start.

And yes, you can DIY it without compromising on quality.

Get ready

  • The Team: Assemble a small, diverse team of 3-8 people for a creative brainstorm.
  • Essentials: Stock up on sticky notes, a whiteboard (or just a blank wall), dot stickers for voting, and plain paper. If you’re remote, tools like Miro will work wonders.
  • Time: Set aside 60-90 minutes.

Step 1: The foundation (10 mins)

Kick things off with a focused brief. This can be prepared in advance and presented to the team at the beginning of the session.

The brief should outline:

  • What you’re offering
  • Your target audience
  • Historical context or backstory
  • Unique selling points or brand positioning
  • Brand personality

Display these key points for everyone to see; they’re your North Star for this exercise.

Step 2: Word association (10 mins)

Choose 3-5 topics from the brief. For example, if you’re creating a period tracking app, your topics might include:

  • women’s health (offering)
  • teenager (target audience)
  • friendly (brand personality)
  • doctor-recommended (unique selling points)

Write down words that come to mind for each topic. These words can be common or unconventional; the point is to generate a wide range.

For example, “women’s health” could be:

  • strong
  • healthy
  • female
  • wellness
  • holistic
  • empowerment

Place each word on sticky notes and post them on the wall.

PRO TIP: You can use chatGPT with prompts like, "Please recommend words related to [XXX]" for more ideas.

Step 3: First drafts (10 mins)

Give everyone a piece of paper.

In just 10 minutes, jot down 10 names without overthinking it.

Don’t aim for perfection; this exercise is about quantity over quality.

PRO TIP: Know the naming styles

Here’s a guide to different types of names that will help guide your brainstorm:

  1. Descriptive: Names that tell you exactly what the brand does. e.g., HomeDepot, Toys"R"Us.
  2. Metaphor: Names that borrow from unrelated fields to imply characteristics. e.g., Nike (Goddess of Victory), Amazon (big and wide).
  3. Invented: Completely made-up, yet memorable names. e.g., Kodak, Xerox.
  4. Wordplay: Cleverly modified or combined words. e.g., Pinterest (pin + interest), Instagram (instant + telegram).

Step 4: Cross-pollinate ideas (10 mins)

Pass your list to the person on your left.

Add 5 more names in the next 7 minutes.

Use your teammate’s ideas as inspiration for more names.

Step 5: Finalize your list (10 mins)

Repeat Step 4.

Now, each list should contain 15 names.

Take a minute to circle or highlight your top 5.

Post all the ideas on the wall for everyone to see.

Hooray! You should have TONS potential names by now.

Step 6: Voting (5 mins)

Start narrowing down the options.

Distribute 3 votes per person.

Within 3 minutes, let everyone cast their votes.

They can put all 3 votes on one name if they’re so fond of it.

Your goal is to narrow down to a hot list of 5 names.

Step 7: Pick the winner (5 mins)

This time, each person has only 1 vote to pick a winner.

And there you have it!

Naming your brand is a blend of art, science, and a bit of gut feeling.

But with this simple process, I hope you have fun and end up with a perfect brand name for your company.

Kung Pik Liu


Kung Pik Liu • Founder of Design Angel

Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

1. Startup Branding Quiz:

Health check your brand to identify areas for improvement and take your brand to the next level. → TAKE THE QUIZ

2. Build a Fundable Brand™ Bootcamp:

A 30-day bootcamp for first-time founders to create your very own investor-ready brand (even if you have ZERO design or marketing experience) in just 1 hour a day. → JOIN THE WAITLIST

3.  Brand Perfect Unlimited: Subscribe to our friendly service plan with no proposal or scope of work required. Request unlimited designs hassle-free. → SEE PLANS