The Bible says “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22

Of course, the Bible isn’t in luxury brand marketing. (Understands the power of stories though) .But it makes a wise point: trust, reputation and integrity helps when conveying the essence of character or narrative. Or in creating a luxury brand name.

Art, science, rules, no rules, intuition, gut feel, personal back story - you name it.

Inspiration is endless when it comes to perfectly and succinctly embodying the spirit of a newly created product that you want the world to notice.

‘Rules’ and guidelines do exist and do help. We work on luxury brand naming along with the best of them. Life is complicated and commercial brand names have to meet business objectives.

Words have the power to shape worlds both real and imagined. To distil a story, its elements and all the associated emotions and rationality into a single word or phrase is no small feat.

But, let’s take the scenic route before getting down to details of brand marketing naming development, naming strategy, guidelines, challenges and the usual lists.
Writers, musicians and artists go through the same process the experts do when it comes naming – albeit intuitively. The Beatles never used a research group.

Emotional benefit, cut through, memorability, originality, promise, impact, alliance to brand proposition, the right cultural connotations, imagery and meaning - we do it, and so do they. It’s instructive to see what comes up:

Brand or band?

Hugely subjective obviously: three broad classifications:

1.The Evocative Image:

The Sex Pistols. Brilliantly offensive. Teamed with the pop-savvy Situationist rhetoric and ransom-note graphics threatening random, vaguely political acts of violence. Worked well in the mid-’70s. Throbbing Gristle, Velvet Underground, Drive-By Truckers, Alien Sex Fiend, Talking Heads, Led Zeppelin, Rage Against the Machine – all pretty self-explanatory and plenty more out there...

2. The Truth:

The Libertines. Madness, The Clash, Primal Scream, Preservation Hall Jazz Band…

3. The Generic:

The Who, The Band, The Smiths, Average White Band..

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1. American Gothic. Of course. Grant Wood. 1930.

The evocative name: a satire of rural small-town rural life, an old-fashioned mourning portrait or a depiction of steadfast American pioneer spirit?

2.The Persistence of Memory: 1931. Salvador Dalí. On a trillion bedroom walls.

Sarcasm in the title adds a darker meaning to the passing of time, actual time and remembered time. Also the paradox of rendering the hardest, most mechanical of objects into soft flabbiness.

3.The Flower Carrier: Diego Rivera. 1935. The name represents the simplicity yet conveys symbolism and meaning.

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Well, you get the picture. Names matter even in art.
And arts/culture itself is a wonderful inspiration for name generation in itself.

Do judge a book by its name

Lastly, evocative, mood setting, stand-out-on-shelf, entertainment promises made easy: book names.
There are many strategies an author uses when choosing a title. A single word or phrase can convey layers of meaning. Straightforward fact, puns, double entendres, cultural variations, imagery or layered meaning?
All good strategies and we use them ourselves in brand naming sessions.
E.g. Some authors use an object or character in their novel. Forrest Gump. A memorable line from the story: Catch 22. Quotes from literature: A Time to Kill. Grisham. Ecclesiastes 3:3. Tender Is the Night. Fitzgerald. Ode to a Nightingale, Keats.

It’s all about creating meaning, depth and impact.

Strategies for creating compelling luxury brand names

Frankly there are many. Everyone has a magic wand on Google. If only it were so simple. Especially in mature or developed markets like the drinks market.

Following on from part one of our blog on creating luxury brand names which you can read here, let's explore some of those who have done it well:

Quick stories behind some famous brand names

  • Cadillac: Named after the founder of Detroit; a Frenchman called Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the names is intended to evoke a pioneering spirit
  • Lufthansa: Luft is German for air. Hansa comes from the Hanseatic League a confederation of merchant guilds that existed across C14th- C16th Northern Europe
  • Subaru: Means Unite in Japanese but also is a term for a collection of stars said by Greek mythology to be the daughter of Atlas, the titan of astronomy and navigation
  • Etsy: The founder watched foreign films for inspiration during which he misheard the Italian eh, si (‘oh yes’) as etsi
  • Reebok: South African antelope (grey rhebok)
  • Aldi: Surname of Karl & Theo Albrecht and Diskont, German for er.. discount
  • Tresemme: After hair care expert Edna Emmé. Supposed to sound like the French 'très aimé' meaning much-loved

And here are our 8 tips to create a good luxury brand name

  1. It should be unique / distinctive (for instance: Chanel, Mustang, Gucci, Prada)
  2. It can convey a product’s qualities and benefits, though not essential (Coach, Clinique, Savoir Beds, Red Bull, The Spectator)
  3. Founders names are perfectly acceptable if not de riguer (Ralph Lauren, Christian Louboutin)
  4. History is always good (Louis Vuitton, Veuve Cliquot, Boodles)
  5. Unlike other sectors, unpronounceability can be part of the charm and a positive asset (Krug, Hermès, TAG Heuer, A. Lange & Sohne, Audemars Piguet, Baume & Mercier, Ermenegildo Zegna, Vilebrequin)
  6. Partnerships work (Dolce & Gabbana, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Rolls Royce, Mungo & Maud)
  7. It should be able to convert into foreign languages
  8. It should be capable of legal protection and registration.

There is no right way, no magic formula

For successful luxury brand naming, we work with imagination, client respect, historical perspective, factory/company/place visits (old fashioned ‘Product Interrogation’), asking the right questions, zeitgeist understanding, sector empathy, luxury brand experience, philosophy, arts and cultural understanding

It only seems right to end this by saying Anew.

The name means doing it again, in a different, new, way from before.

If you'd like help creating a new luxury brand name for a product, brand or company - do get in touch.


About Anew

Anew are brand development and marketing specialists for ambitious businesses of excellence. We help companies increase brand profitability through sharper insights, distinctive propositions, creative ideas and faultless execution. We are particularly adept at working directly with luxury brands, business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs who are committed to sustainability, outstanding quality and craft.

Yoo can read more about us here


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