Insights from 18,000+ Naming and Branding Projects

Why Brand Name Projects Fail


When a team takes on a project to name a brand, a company or a product, the goal is a name that resonates with its audience, is memorable, easy to pronounce, and leaves a positive impression. Sometimes these projects go astray and do not meet the objective of finding the right name. That can be especially frustrating if you thought you were getting close and then kept hitting dead ends. In order to avoid anything derailing your naming project, we will look at some of the causes and how to avoid them.

Lack of Direction

When a group of people– or even just one person– is taking on the project but lacks direction on what they want for the final outcome, it can easily veer into no man’s zone. True too if the group contains several people who all want different things regarding the name. That lack of alignment can cause a slow down or a complete stall of the project until all are on the same page.

Once on the same page we recommend writing up a short overview of the project and objectives. If stalled, the team could scope the brief together and discuss it until they all agree on the ideal outcome. Also include information on the target audience, competition, plus names that you like or don’t like and reasons why.

Limited Name Ideas

Coming up with naming ideas is part of the reason that Squadhelp was founded. It’s not always easy to ideate a new name out of the blue. Darpan Munjal, CEO/Founder of Squadhelp knows that firsthand. He was seeking a name for a startup he was launching when he decided to build a forum and asked friends and family to compete for bragging rights and a $50 prize. He awarded the winner and Squadhelp was born. Today, 70,000 creatives compete for increased prizes and the contests have evolved from just naming to tagline and logo contests too.

If you and your team are having trouble coming up with naming ideas, consider building a form so you can expand the amount of people engaged in the discussion. Also consider offering a prize for the winning entry. If that is still not enough to get the juices–and names– flowing, consider letting us help you. Sometimes an outside perspective is priceless. We deliver hundreds of names to most contests, well worth the cost.

Inability to connect with the audience

The worse thing you would want is to launch a name that the target audience does not like or can not relate to your product. So how do you know if a name is a good one? Ideally by testing it with a general population or specific target audience. Some naming firms suggest focus groups, online concept screenings, or central location tests to narrow down top name choices. These methods yield great information but are all very costly.

At Squadhelp we run an affordable audience validation test with 100 people from a specific country. Up up to 6 potential names can be tested for the low price of $179. Male, female or both can be dialed in, as can specific age ranges for targeted demographics.

At the end of the day some type of consumer validation for your chosen name will bring you peace of mind and help you avoid a costly naming disaster.

Lack of URL Availability

One of the derailers we see from time to time, is when a client or group working to come up with a name falls completely in love with a specific name prior to making sure that it has an available .com or other corresponding URL. We suggest checking on URL availability in the name brainstorming phase. These days it is that important as it can easily derail the project if you get through testing and determine you don’t have a good place to set up the website. In cases where there is already a company website, perhaps you don’t need a product website too. This definitely opens up lots more naming possibilities.

Trademark and Linguistics

Can you imagine getting through alignment, brainstorming, and audience validation– with a URL in hand– then discovering you can not get your chosen name trademarked? Or learning that the name means something derogatory in another language? These are definite derailers that every naming project team should avoid.

At this late stage in the project it is important to check in with a good trademark attorney before setting the name in stone. At Squadhelp, one of our last steps before awarding a contest winner is to run a comprehensive trademark and linguistics report on the top 2-3 chosen names. We ascertain the language in the name is not a detriment in other countries. After all, we live in a global world these days. We also get a risk assessment of how trademarkable the names are. This often helps take the shortlist from 3 to 1 name.


Lack of direction, alignment, creativity, url availability, and not being able to trademark your name are potential derailers for your naming project. Following the tips and recommendations in this article can help keep your team and self on track, get focused, and avoid challenges related to not doing enough testing or due diligence. This advice is apt to help your success rate in your next naming project.


Insights from 18,000+ Naming and Branding Projects

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