Understanding The Psychology Behind Effective Brand Names


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Understanding the Psychology Behind Effective Brand Names

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An astonishing 81% of consumers say they you need to trust the brand before they consider becoming a customer.


It starts with a brand name that grabs people’s attention for the right reasons and embraces everything the business has to offer. Enter the psychology of branding, a field that has been around since 1895 when Harlow Gale used psychological theories and scientific methods to study advertising (as well as the art of persuasion).

Building a brand requires a lot, including choosing the perfect name. Effective brand naming requires an understanding of the psychology that determines people’s perceptions and preferences for that brand. As we’ve seen with brands like Amazon, Starbucks, and Nike, sometimes it’s all about the name.

When choosing a brand name, business owners and entrepreneurs need to consider the emotions, the story behind the name, and a few other factors.


The role of emotions in brand naming.

Emotions play a huge role in consumer decision making. People choose brands based on their emotions more often than you might think. Take a look at some of the world’s biggest brands. They have created a brand with a name that promotes trust, support and understanding.

One of the biggest success stories in branding comes from Amazon, originally dubbed “Kadabra” (yes, in gibberish). In 1994, Jeff Bezos decided that books were a good product to sell online and saw the growing commercial potential of the modern Internet. By 1995, his friends and former colleagues were able to explore Amazon’s beta.

Why is the name changing? Well, after some people misunderstood the name of the company as “corpse”, Bezos decided something else was needed. As he was about to boldly claim to be “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore,” the Amazon name seemed fitting. This was partly because Bezos believed that the name would not force a company to only offer one product or service.

In just two years, Bezos’ income exceeded $15.7 million. The company went public by 1997, and by 1999 Amazon was selling CDs, toys, electronics, and tools. Today, the company has so many different products and services that it really fits the size of its namesake, the Amazon River in South America.


If you can create a brand name (and supporting brand) that evokes that kind of emotion, you’ll be on the right track.

On the subject: How to create a brand story that buyers will be emotionally connected to

What is your story?

Every good brand has a story, and most of it is tied to that brand’s name. While people will tend to make their own assumptions, the best brands are the ones that manage consumer experiences and perceptions to create the story they want you to hear.

People love stories. Thus, people connect more easily with brands that have a compelling story and corporate identity.


The story, of course, must be real and based on facts. Now is not the time to lie or make up stories about the origin of the company name – remember, it all starts with trust. You cannot have trust without honesty.

Share the reason for the name and you can share your vision of what the brand represents with the world.

Related: You’re not just selling a product or service – you’re selling a story. Here are 3 steps to secure sales

The role of cultural associations in choosing a brand name

This is not only a caveat, but also an important consideration for branding. It is imperative to avoid any potential cultural associations, negative connotations, or culturally insensitive terms when choosing a brand name.

We have seen many examples of them come and go over the years, from sports teams to product names, mascots and so on.

  • aunt Jemima

  • eskimo pies

  • Cleveland Indians

  • sambo

  • Washington Redskins

  • Uncle Ben (logo)

  • Land of the O’Lakes (logo)

The Importance of Simplicity and Content

While you want a good story, it also needs to be simple. The brand name should not be too complicated. Be more simple.

It is human nature to avoid names that are difficult to pronounce or spell. Incorporating a shorter name into the logo and the rest of the brand identity is also easier. Plus, you can say a lot more with less when you find the perfect name.

It should be memorable for the right reasons

Everyone will tell you that brand names need to be memorable. People have a hard time remembering brand names. Research has shown that people 81% more likely to remember the color(s) of your brand than your name.

Don’t choose a name that is memorable because it is misspelled in an attempt to be “creative”. Do not choose a name that has any negative connotation. Choose a brand name that people remember for the right reasons.

Alignment with mission and values

In addition to the emotional connection that people create with a brand name, it must also align with the brand’s mission and values. This will generate even more positive emotions and help people make decisions based on more than just a name.

The brand name is your only chance to make a memorable impression, so it should capture the essence of what you want the company to stand for. WITH 64% of consumers loyal to a brand based on shared values, this is an important message to convey.

Related: How to Choose a Strong Company Name and Strengthen Your Brand

Psychology is an important part of branding and naming a business. It is essential to understand how people process information and form emotional bonds in order to create the perfect brand name, which is the foundation for building a successful brand as a whole.

Taking the time to get the right name can pay off in the long run. While there are many different people who will suggest many different ways to choose a brand name, you can’t deny the psychology behind it all.

When your brand name evokes emotion and creates an instant connection, you will excel in understanding how to use the psychology of branding to your advantage.


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