Whether you’re starting a new company from scratch or thinking of rebranding, memorable business names are essential. They’re how you make sure that you’re the first company your consumers think of when they’re looking for a solution to their problems.
After all, as powerful as Coca-Cola’s visual marketing strategy, you don’t think of a red can when you’re thirsty for a fizzy drink, you think of “Coke.”
So, how do you make a name as memorable as possible?
Why not ensure that your customers love saying it? A word that’s fun to say, or a term that echoes in your mind for days after you’ve heard it makes the perfect business moniker. It drives word-of-mouth marketing, encourages loyalty, and also offers an insight into the personality of your brand.
Poetic devices have found their way into the naming process for decades. We see them in everything from the rhyme of “StubHub,” to the alliteration of “Krispy Kreme.”
The question is, how can you use poetry in names to make your title more memorable?
If you’ve ever tried to run a successful company before, you’ll know that a lot of pressure rides on the right name.
Think of some of the titles of your favourite companies: Apple, Google, even Virgin Media. These names are evocative, memorable, and easy to repeat. They give you an insight into the kind of business you’re dealing with, and they also differentiate that company from its competitors.
Unfortunately, finding memorable business names isn’t easy.
Often, organisations end up “settling” for acronyms, complicated words or “generic” terms instead, simply because they don’t have time for extensive brainstorming sessions. After all, you can’t just pick any word out of a hat, memorable business names need to be:
- Unique: People might have an easy time remembering a generic term like “Computer” or “Software,” but it’s unlikely that they’ll associate it with your company. For a name to truly belong to your brand, and generate an emotional connection with your customer, it needs to be unique. We remember the brand names that do something new, interesting and out-of-the-box.
- Easy to pronounce: It’s much easier to remember a name if we can say it out loud and share it with others. Titles that are easy to say, smooth, and capable of rolling off the tongue are naturally “sticky” in nature. Think of how easy it is to say “Sony,” or “Pepsi,” or even “Motorola.”
- Simple: The more complex your name becomes, the harder it is to remember. That’s something you’ll need to keep in mind when using poetic devices for naming. Stick to words that are simple and easy to spell, and your customers won’t end up with a furrowed brow every time they try to imagine your business.
So, how does using poetry with names make them more memorable?
Ultimately, poetic devices affect how your name sounds, and how we experience it in our minds. For instance, alliterative names like “Gorilla Glue” or “PayPal” use repetitive phenomes to strengthen memory. Poetic names also set the tone for your brand and highlight the kind of company you’re trying to create.
Think of it this way, if you meet someone for five minutes and only walk away with their name to remember, you don’t have much to keep that person in your mind. However, if you learn about the person’s values, make an emotional connection, or even feel an affinity towards them, you’re more likely to remember them.
Using various types of poetic devices to create memorable names doesn’t just make your monikers sound better. The right techniques can also make your business more appealing on an emotional level and make it harder for customers to forget you.
So, what are poetic devices?
The purpose of a name is to convey meaning through sound, symbolism, and even the right combination of letters. Naming is a lot like poetry in that sense. Because of this, it seems reasonable that companies would use poetic devices to enhance the impact of their name.
Here are some of the types of poetic devices commonly used in the naming process:
- Alliteration: Alliteration is a term that refers to the repetition of the same sound at the beginning of two or more words in a sentence. For instance, Coca-Cola, Dunkin Donuts and Range Rover all use alliteration in their names. Only the sound at the beginning of the name needs to be the same. The letter can be different. For instance “Cookie King” would still be alliteration.
- Assonance: Similar to alliteration, assonance happens when vowel sounds are repeated in multiple words or a single word. For instance “YouTube” or “Haagen Dazs.”
- Imagery: Various pieces of research have been published to demonstrate how human brains connect words with certain emotions. People experience sounds just as vividly as they experience taste or colour. A name like “Typhoon Lagoon” for Disney’s waterpark instantly creates an image in the mind of what you can expect.
- Rhyme: Linking your brand’s name to a rhyme is an excellent way to improve the longevity of your name. StubHub and 7 Eleven are excellent examples of this. Names that include a rhyme have a certain music to them, which makes them much easier for people to remember.
- Metaphor: Metaphorical business names are the ones often described as “evocative” by professionals. They describe something about your business, without being overly obvious. For instance, the word “Amazon” doesn’t imply eCommerce, but it does suggest something vast.
- Invented words: Poets (particularly those like Shakespeare), had a habit of creating words when there weren’t any in the English language to suit them. You can use the same strategy in your naming process by inventing something new to define your name.
Does the idea of becoming a linguistics expert just to name your business sound overwhelming?
That’s part of the reason why we created Naimeo, to give organisations the benefits of poetic names, without the hard work. We offer this service because poetry in names can be a lot more powerful than you think – particularly when it comes to making your brand name more memorable.
Applying poetic devices to your name instantly makes it easier to remember, which improves your brand presence, and even enhances your chances of word-of-mouth growth.
What’s more, the application of high-level linguistic techniques for naming also sets you apart from the crowd. It shows your personality and tells your audience what they can expect when they interact with you. To some extent, the impact of poetry with names comes from a concept called sound symbolism.
Sound symbolism suggests that certain letters or phenomes can affect the way a person feels. The sound of words like “knife” or “truck” seem like arbitrary concepts at first. But words have meaning beyond what human beings ascribe to them. Sound can convey very subtle information about what to expect from a product. The harsh sound of “knife” and the use of a “k” at the start of the word implies something sharp, the “uck” sound at the end of truck indicates something heavy.
Sound symbolism is at the heart of the types of poetic devices that companies use in memorable names. For instance, renowned linguist Edward Sapir discovered in 1929 that the words “mil” and “mal” automatically led to certain inferences from people. Though the words had no prior meaning, most applicants felt that a smaller product would be named a “mil,” while a larger one would be a “mal.” These concepts don’t just apply to the English language either.
Scientists have found that we respond automatically to poetic devices in many languages around the world. For instance, we assume that a front-vowel sound like “ee” often translates to something that means “small,” while a sound like ah or “oo” represents something significant.
In a time where it’s impossible to trademark general words, and most generic brand names have already been taken, companies in search of memorable business names are being forced to create new monikers from scratch. This means going back to the very building blocks of language as we know them.
Poetic devices are some of the most crucial aspects of a memorable word – whether that word is used to describe a person, a product, or a company. With sounds and symbolism, it’s possible to create a title that delivers meaning long before your customer has a chance to find out what you sell, or what kind of organisation you run.
Choosing memorable names isn’t easy.
The good news is that it’s much easier to have a lasting impact on your target audience if you know how to connect with them on an emotional level. Using poetry in names is how companies evoke a deeper response from their target audience.
The right sounds can naturally draw positive responses from your customers and convince them that you deserve their attention over your competitors.
Although there are many different ways that businesses can implement “emotion” into their names, there are few methods more potent than the use of poetic devices. Here are just a few ways that you can use poetry with names, to create an unforgettable impact.
Memorable names capture attention not just with what they say, but how they sound. There are plenty of poetic devices that can affect the way that your title sounds, including the ever-popular alliteration and assonance. For instance “Shirley’s Shirts” is automatically more compelling than “Shirley’s Tees.”
Alliteration and assonance are commonly-used strategies among older businesses like American Apparel, Rolls Royce, and Minute Maid. They work because they give a rhythm to your title that makes it fun for people to talk about you out loud or share your brand with their friends. You can even use assonance to embed repetitive sounds into a single word, like with Motorola, or Lululemon.
Onomatopoeia is a word derived from the Greek word for name making. With that in mind, it’s safe to say that it’s one of the best solutions for using poetry with names. The term refers to words that sound like what they are, like “Zoom” or “Crackle.” As a naming technique, onomatopoeia is particularly impressive when it’s tied to the personality of the company.
For instance, the “Zoom” company for video communications wants to give customers a faster, more convenient way to collaborate through video conferencing. The Zoom sound, along with the use of the letter “Z” which is more common in the tech industry, makes the moniker an excellent choice.
To most companies, the idea of a rhyming name can sound childish at first. However, the truth is that rhyming uses the concept of “repetition” to embed your business name into the minds of your target customer. You’re not just playing with rhythm; you’re using the same sound multiple times to create something easier to remember.
When we’re children, our parents teach us lessons and concepts through the use of rhyming couplets. Just think of all the nursery rhymes you learned growing up that taught you a lesson. Even if you haven’t sung those rhymes for years, you probably still remember them.
Using the same concept in your name is an excellent way to make sure that your customer just can’t shake the memory of your title. However, it’s important to remember that this strategy works better with fun, informal companies like “Shake Shack” or “Snack Attack” than serious companies like banks or accountants.
Shakespeare might be the guy best-known for asking what was in a name in the first place, but he knew as well as anyone how powerful the right words could be. In fact, as a poet and writer, Shakespeare regularly came up with brand-new words to fill the gaps in what he could do with existing words and phrases.
More companies are beginning to turn to invented terms for strong business names, particularly as pre-existing words become harder to access and trademark. A new word can make your business seem smart and inventive, rather than just painting you as part of the crowd. What’s more, because new words have no baggage to hold them back, they can fit into many different parts of speech.
For instance, you can use the word Google as a noun, or a verb, depending on what you’re talking about. Many other business names have also taken on this diversity. For instance, think of how easily you can use words like YouTube, Uber, or LinkedIn anywhere in a sentence.
Finally, when we create catchy names here at Naimeo, we’re not just looking for titles that sound great, or roll off the tongue. We also want something that’s going to make your customers feel something. To do that, we need to create monikers that are embedded with imagery or visual impact.
Imagery is one of the most powerful poetic devices there is when you’re creating memorable names for a business. Research shows that human beings experience sound just as vividly and emotionally as they do colour, or taste.
Implementing imagery and metaphor into your name can give your customers a hint at what you’re all about, long before they’ve had time to read through your latest marketing campaigns or test your products. The key is to make sure that you don’t use imagery so complicated that it goes over the head of your customer.
For instance, the name “Apple”, when used for a computer company immediately, represents something fresh and nourishing. However, when you dive deeper into the title, it also leads to connections with Isaac Newton, Creationism, and so much more.
The well-known poet, T.S. Elliot is famed for saying that genuinely amazing poetry “communicates” before it’s understood. What that means is that the right language can say something relevant to your audience, even if they don’t understand the word. That’s precisely what you should be trying to accomplish when coming up with memorable business names.
Memorable names are shared through social media, word-of-mouth and traditional advertising every day. They continue to grow in power not just because they’re new and exciting, but because the poetic devices that they use give them meaning.
The concept of using various types of poetic devices in naming isn’t new. Even Plato once argued that the meanings of words should be formed by the way that certain sounds make us feel. That idea is still as powerful today as it was 2,000 years ago – perhaps more so.
Now that our culture is increasingly dispersed and globalized, marketers have been forced to start thinking outside of the box with their identification strategies for modern brands. With new and poetic names, companies can positively affect the perception that consumers have of their identity and the products that they sell.
A name that instantly conveys the smoothness and richness of a new ice cream or the glamour of a new makeup brand is more compelling than any vague title you can get from a name generator.
All you need to do is find the right help to unlock the potential of poetry in names.
Here at Naimeo, we’re not just digital marketing experts – we’re also passionate linguists with long-standing histories in language theory. We know how to use various types of poetic devices to transform the impact of your name and give it inherent meaning.
Are you ready for something poetic?
To get ahead. Get a great name. From Naimeo.