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  Gone are the days when you could hang your name on the door and invest large sums of money over time to build meaning and value into your brand. A name today must be able to capture consumers by its own merits. Often in global markets. Always at breakneck speed.
This is what's required for a successful name.
 
Above all, the name must be simple. Simple for consumers to remember it.
A name is simple if it's short, like Bull, if it consists of few syllables, like Gillette, if it's alliterative, like Volvo. It's simple if it uses few letters of the alphabet, like Coca-Cola, and if it can be easily pronounced and intuitively spelled, like Motorola.
The simpler the name, the greater the chance it will lodge in the crowded minds of consumers.
Besides simple, the name must be meaningful. And not only because meaning, like simplicity, makes a name memorable.
A name with meaning is essential because it imbues your brand with depth and value. By defining a business, like Pharmacia, communicating a benefit, like Duracell, or stating a position, like Häagen-Dazs, a name with meaning can save you time and marketing dollars.
Time and money you'd otherwise have to spend to fill it with meaning.
Brand names are born verbally, but they live visually. To consumers, they live on packages, products and in retail environments. To investors, on annual reports, websites and business news.
So the name must excel visually as well as verbally—to form a striking logotype, like Marlboro, create strong visual associations, like Apple, or graphically tie together a corporate identity, like McDonald's.
With a visual name, the verbal and visual aspects of your identity can be combined to create a powerful, integrated brand.
Here's the tricky part.
While the name must be meaningful, its meaning should be broad enough to allow for expansion to industry change, like Unisys. While the name must be intelligible in your home market, it should be clearly or neutrally understood around the world, like Intel. While the name must be up-to-date and exhude modernity, it should thrive as a classic for decades, like Hermès.
To walk the line isn't easy. But if you find an expandable name, it can grow with your company—in activity, across borders, over time.
Finally, the name must be unique.
Unique, like Kodak, so that consumers associate the name with your specific products and services, not with the category or the competition. Unique, not generic or descriptive, so that it's registrable as a trademark. Unique so that it's available as a trademark.
If you have a unique name, it can be turned into an ownable brand name. Ownable legally and ownable in the minds of consumers.