Insights from 19,000+ Naming and Branding Projects

How Poetry Can Help You Name Your Business

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Why read Yates? Why did they teach Shakespeare in school? It’s not like you’ll ever have to apply poetry to your life when you grow up, right? Maybe not quite. Poetic techniques are a fantastic tool when it comes to  choosing a name for your business.

Poetic devices bring two strengths to your business name. They aid in memorability, making it easier for people to pass your brand name along for referrals, and they also help set the tone of your brand, allowing customers to know what to expect from the personality and service of your company.

Alliteration

Alliteration is the repetition of a letter or sound at the beginning of word. For example, the tongue-twister “Sally sells seashells by the seashore” is an example of alliteration using S sounds. Dunkin Donuts is a use of alliteration in a business name.

When it comes to names, alliteration catches attention. It works especially when in clever or playful names like Crooked Crown Brewery and Best Buy. Alliterative names are memorable because the sound tends to flow off the tongue.

Assonance

Assonance is the repetition of a vowel sound in a word or a phrase. Applying assonance to naming is a great way to bridge two words or concepts and make them indivisible.

AutoZone, YouTube, and Dream Weaves all use assonance. The names are easy to say and remember due to the repeated vowel sounds. The connection is also so subtle that many people don’t even notice it. This technique sets a unified tone for your brand.

Consonance

Similar to assonance, consonance is the repetition of a consonant sound in a word of phrase. The name Yik Yak repeats a hard K. It also uses alliteration to round out an easy, descriptive name.

Consonance is a good technique for creating snappy, captivating names like Lululemon and Twitter. The repetition of a brisk consonant sound generates energy when said aloud, and typically, the more consonant sounds a name has the stronger it is.

Rhyme

Rhyme is a poetic device most of us are familiar with. When words share the same ending sounds like “clue” and “blue,” they can be linked easily to form names like Blue’s Clues.

Like alliteration, rhyming names tends to sound somewhat playful, but even more so due to the childlike connotations of rhyme. Rhyming names run the risk of not being taken seriously, so they should only be used for businesses and brands that want to come across as youthful and fun, like Stubhub or Piggly Wiggly.

Rhythm

Rhythm is a more ambiguous poetic technique when it comes to naming. Rhythm is a combination of stressed and unstressed syllables. You probably learned about iambic pentameter if you ever had to read Romeo and Juliet in school. Shakespeare’s rhythm when writing Romeo and Juliet mimics the rhythm of a heartbeat, making the lines more emotionally impactful and easy to say.

Rhythm works well for classic, preeminent names like Blackstone or Windsor Harlow as well as short, modern names like Cisco. You don’t have to be a genius playwright to realize that rhythm is a subtle way to captivate your audience and boost your name’s memorability.

You may have noticed that many of these techniques revolve around repetition of sound. That is what makes them effective. Repetition, even minor repetitions, intrigue people who hear it. It isn’t just a matter of sounding good, either. Applying poetic devices to your business name makes it easier to remember, therefore boosting your brand’s presence and referrability. Moreover, the application of these techniques sets the tone of your brand, informing your audience about what they can expect from you, be it playful or serious, trustworthy or forward-thinking.

A name performs as a single unit. It should flow together and come naturally to your audience. Like every word and image in a poem matters, so should every word and sound in your business name.

About the author

Meghan O'Toole
Insights from 19,000+ Naming and Branding Projects

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