What’s in a luxury brand name (Part 1)?

What’s in a luxury brand name (Part 1)?

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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Picture this

A painting’s name is often our first guide to understanding it. Yet they didn’t always have titles, and many canvases, especially before the C19th, acquired their names from curators, dealers, and printmakers—not the artists.

Three small examples:

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.


Visit here if you’d like more information about these

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.

In the second part of our blog we touch on the stories behind some of the world’s most successful brand names, as well as sharing our own guidelines for creating a good luxury brand name.

You can read it here

In the meantime, if you’d like help creating a new luxury brand name and visual identity for a product, brand or company – do get in touch.