• Vincent Bissette


Whenever we speak about brand naming we always refer back to our 7 criteria for great brand names

  1. Distinctiveness

  2. Brevity

  3. Appropriateness

  4. Easy spelling and pronunciation

  5. Likeability

  6. extendibility

  7. Protectibility

If a brand name meets all or at the very least most of these criteria it is certain to have great potential. The 5 companies we are going to speak about today all have great brand names and we are going to explain why they work so well.

1) ASOS.

ASOS is a great name for a number of reasons. ASOS is an acronym standing for "as seen on screen". Acronyms are useful when it comes to simplifying things. The has taken a longer name and made it into their own unique word which is far easier to say and pronounce than the full phrase.

The phrase in itself is incredibly appropriate as it refers alludes to the unique aspects of the company. One of the unique selling points of the company is that it is online-only which allows for lower prices. This also refers to the quality of the good saying that the consumers won't be misled and they will get what they order.

The fact that the name is an acronym but pronounced as a word allows it to be distinct as it is an invented word and it is not shared by any other good or service.

The name evokes the acronym "ASAP" meaning "As soon as possible" which plant a seed in the consumer's mind about the quick nature of the delivery of the product. This is often supported by next day delivery options.

Last but not least the name simply has a good mouthfeel due to its brief nature and repetition of the "S" noise.


Amazon did not always have such a great brand name. In fact, it was a pretty bad one. One of Jeff's names for his company prior to Amazon was "relentless" which sounds more like a workout supplement than a book retailer. However, Jeff struck gold with

Amazon firstly is incredibly appropriate for the companies book retailing roots as it evokes images of vast rainforests alluding to not on the raw material but the quantity of stock.

Amazon, being a brief name as well as sharing a name with a famous geographical location is easy to spell and pronounce for most of the world. It has a great mouthfeel and rolls off the tongue.

The name has also proven to have legs. Amazon started as a book retailer but their name, although appropriate, did not force them to stay that way and allowed for them to diversify in pretty much every product category you can think of.


Starbucks was another firm who didn't start off with an ideal name. Their original name "Starbucks Coffee, Tea and spices" was a bit of a mouthful. It didn't roll off the tongue and it wasn't particularly easy for any non-English speaking person to pronounce. Thankfully all it took was to trim the fat in and keep the distinct element of the name for it to be growing into the household name that it is.

Renaming the firm simply "Starbucks" bucked the trend with coffee shops at the time who often had overly specific names such as their old name or their competitor "Coffee Bean and Tea Leave". Rebranding to Starbucks provided brevity, likability and distinctiveness the name needed.


Absolut is a great brand name as it gets all the fundamentals right. Firstly they ensured their name would be distinct and protectable when they took the word "absolute" and dropped the e to make it their own.

secondly, the name is brief, has a good mouthfeel and is easy to pronounce and spell.

The name succeeds in evoking imagery of purity, suggesting that the spirit has not been tampered with or been padded with excess ingredients. The name has been shown to have legs with multiple flavours and ranges at various price points.

Absolut is a masterclass in ticking the boxes when it comes to our 7 criteria for a great brand name.


Nike is ones of the worlds most valuable and recognisable brands. This is no doubt helped in part by their excellent brand name. It ticks the usual boxes of brevity, likability and spelling and pronunciation. It rolls off the tongue as well, in fact, it has been used as the chorus for popular RnB songs.

The name also excels in appropriateness as it borrows its name from the Greek goddess of victory, a perfect association for a sportswear brand. The name has proven itself to be extendible as it has expanded worldwide with multiple products at varying price points, even collaborating with brands outside of the sports world such as the Dutch streetwear brand Patta.

These are just 5 examples of great brand names but there are plenty out there. The majority of successful brands will meet these 7 criteria wither because they had a great name from the get-go or they found that they needed to improve on their journey to success. Think about some of the brands you are fond of and test how many of our criteria they meet!


Here are 5 examples of great brand names. What makes a great brand name is often unique to the product or service that is being provided. We picked these examples as they are embodiments of our 7 criteria for great brand names.

At Propel, we often run brand naming workshops for our clients who are looking to establish a strong brand that ticks all the boxes. If you are interested in these services or would like to know more about brand naming click here!

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About the author: Vincent Bissette is the Creative & Managing Director of Propel Marketing & Design, as well as acting as a Brand Advisor at various client companies. For over 30 years Vincent has been helping local and national companies across the UK achieve greater commercial success while minimising the cost of doing it. Vincent has been at the heart of design and marketing in Glasgow for 30 years and. Throughout that time, there’s not much he hasn't done or many industries he hasn't worked in. Now based in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire with Propel Marketing and Design he looks to continue to transform the fortunes of businesses through modern, professional branding.

Get in touch with him on Linkedin here

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