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Top Metaphorical Business Names – Branding Expert Picks


Before we delve in and explore what makes metaphorical business names perfect—not just for massive businesses but also for fledgling startups—let’s take a quick refresher on what metaphors are, and what they do.

On what metaphors are, we particularly love how Alice Underwood from Grammarly puts it. According to Alice, metaphors are “… a figure of speech that describes an object or action in a way that isn’t literally true but helps explain an idea or make a comparison”.

Metaphors are widely used in creating amazing, and thought-provoking art, poetry, literature, music, and yes, business names because metaphors are extremely efficient at infusing life into ideas by painting a clear mental image that’s easy to understand and appreciate.

Now, using a metaphorical business name would do more than just provide a literal representation of what your business does by telling a story that’ll compel your customer’s curiosity. Metaphorical names have the potential to place your business in a whole new light.

What Light?

Consider this. What’d you think a customer’s first reaction to the financial service company, Robinhood, would be, knowing fully well that in the 13th century, a certain hero—Robin Hood—had robbed the rich and given to the poor?

And sure enough, Robinhood’s brand name attracted lots of excited customers.

Metaphorical business names are excellent at quickly establishing a strong connection between customers and brands by creating an obvious hint of your brand’s mission, vision, and goals. They compel customers to explore your business like a journey.

Metaphorical names remain effective for businesses hoping to scale.

The Symbolic Effect of Metaphorical Business Names

With metaphors, your brand name can be worth a thousand words.

Why? For one, metaphors are all about creating symbols, and if done correctly, these symbols would continue to attract customers over time because metaphors are fluid enough to tell more than one story.

And that’s what makes the name Tinder, much more appealing than Online Dating App. Tinder’s brand name tells a compelling story and allows the business to grow in whatever direction it chooses.

When customers hear Tinder, they instantly think of a spark, fire, passion. Tinder’s metaphorical name gave customers the idea that Tinder creates a spark, an instant connection, and with that, Tinder spread like wildfire.

Metaphors are like subtle invitations a business owner gives to customers that draw them together and creates intimacy because, like you must have already guessed, they connect and help us get a better understanding of a business’s intentions.

A brand is only as healthy as its brand name.

How Businesses Incorporate Metaphors

Companies across the world have used metaphorical brand names to sell the ideas that their businesses try to communicate. A simple look at Amazon, Tinder, and Robinhood reveals that today’s customers have come to expect a lot whenever they hear a brand’s name.

A quick look at:

  • Nike
  • Kayak
  • Safari
  • Oracle
  • Casper Sleep
  • Hive
  • Starbucks
  • Hydra
  • Pandora
  • Dove
  • Compass
  • Opendoor
  • Symphony
  • Apple
  • Cardinal Health
  • Target

And you’d see that these names brilliantly capture the ideas on which the business stands on. Metaphorical names are much more powerful than they appear to be.

Merely hearing Target is enough to indicate the brand’s driving goal. Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, makes an excellent name for a sports brand, don’t forget Pandora—the first mortal woman in Greek mythology—also an excellent name for a Jewelry brand, and don’t even get us started on Apple.

These names pull us in and compel us to understand why Hydra, a creature with many heads, would be used to describe a brand, or why the world’s largest river, Amazon, is used to describe an online retailer.

The best part is that once customers understand the ‘Why?’ behind the metaphorical name, they feel instantly connected to the band.

Identity the Picture Perfect Business Name for Your Business

Getting any metaphorical name shouldn’t be the end of your journey to a great brand name. Make sure that whatever name you chose for your business is easy to say, spell, and pronounce because businesses spread faster by word of mouth.

About the author

Jenna Jackson

Jenna is a branding consultant at, the World's #1 Naming Platform.

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