On BRAND NAMES and How to choose a brand name.

How do you choose a brand name? How important is a brand name?

The brands we display and consume say a lot about us! 


choose a brand name - lots of choice!

(image Unsplash @ slidebean)

Read on to learn:

  • The TOP BRANDS in the world
  • Step-by-step instructions on HOW TO CHOOSE a brand name
  • 7 TYPES of brand names

You can skim this email or click on the LINKS to learn more.

Let’s do this!


Wait!  Before you scroll any further… Can you GUESS what the top brands are in the world?  I bet you can guess several of the top ten! ? 

(no cheating….)

choose a brand name - no they're not all taken!
(image Unsplash @ jtzanno)

Here’s the list of the top ten most valuable brands in 2020, according to Forbes magazine:

1️⃣     Apple

2️⃣     Google

3️⃣     Microsoft

4️⃣     Amazon

5️⃣     Facebook

6️⃣     Coca-Cola

7️⃣     Disney

8️⃣    Samsung

9️⃣     Louis Vuitton

?     McDonald’s

How many did you guess correctly?


I’ve spent a lot of time focused on how to choose the ideal brand name, first as a brand manager, then helping my consulting clients. I wrote multiple business school cases on brand names and I’ve taught branding in seminars and MBA classrooms.  I’ve created a proven, detailed, step-by-step process for choosing a brand name.

But you’ll never guess how I came up with the name, “Talk About Talk”!

choose a brand name like "talk about talk"

In June 2018, I applied for Seth Godin’s first ever podcasting fellowship.  Long story short, there was an online application where I had to describe my podcast.  I knew the podcast would be related to my dissertation research (word-of mouth and why people talk), and helping people become better communicators. As I was typing, I wrote, “Basically, this podcast will be talk about talk.”

?A lightbulb went off! ?

I searched “https://talkabouttalk.com” and it was available!!! I secured that URL ?‍♀️faster than you can imagine!

This is not-at-all typical for how to choose a brand name!  But it does illustrate how the detailed, 5-step process of choosing a brand name can be non-sequential, recursive, and even concurrent.

This detailed brand naming process is what I take you through in this week’s ? podcast:

How to choose a brand name - podcast with Dr. Andrea Wojnicki of Talk About Talk

Have you ever had to name something?  Other than a baby? Of course if you’re a brand manager, this is relevant for you.  But this is also relevant:

  • for a start-up or a new company if you’re an entrepreneur
  • if you’re at a bigger company the name could apply to a department or a project name
  • naming your podcast!
  • if you need to change a brand name because of a merger, a new strategic direction or because your current name isn’t working
In addition to detailed instructions for how to choose a new brand name, a few other interesting things you’ll learn in this podcast:
  • the TRADEMARKED names of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s 3 children
  • Why you should NOT ask people whether they “LIKE” your proposed new name (and what you should ask instead)
  • how the infamous “Chevy NOVA” brand naming story (i.e. how it translates to “no go” and caused the failure of the car brand) is a myth!
Choose a brand name like "Chevy Nova"- or not?
(image Unsplash @ johnwestrock)
You can listen to the podcast:

 directly from the Talk about Talk website HERE


?  on your favourite podcast player HERE


? you can read the shownotes and print the summary (cheat sheet!) pages HERE

Enjoy the podcast!


As a consumer or as a brand manager, it’s interesting to consider the classifications or types of brand names.  There are 7 types, which vary based on whether they are real or invented words and the level and type of meaning in the name:

types of names to consider when you choose a brand name

  1. Explicit     

  • real word with direct or explicit meaning
  • as in Home Depot, Talk About Talk !!!
  1. Implied     

  • real word with implicit meaning
  • as in Yahoo!, Amazon, Nike, Visa
  1. Combined         

  • combine 2+ words with relevant meaning
  • as in Microsoft, Facebook, FedEx
  1. Altered  

  • modified word with relevant meaning
  • as in Intel, Lucent
  1. Surname  

  • person’s name
  • as in Walmart, Disney, McDonald’s
  1. Random  

  • real random word
  • as in Apple, Shell
  1. Invented

  • nonsense word
  • as in Exxon, Kodak


What’s Next?

If you run through this brand naming process, please let me know how it goes. And I’d love to hear your new name! 

If you know of someone who needs a new name for their firm, their brand, their podcast,… please forward this blog or send them a link to the podcastThank you!

Thank you for your emails!  I appreciate your feedback, and I always love to hear your stories – and your jokes. ?

A few weeks ago I told you that “Heidi” emailed me after listening to the ARCHETYPES ? podcast to tell me, “I’m a SINNER!” 

A week later, “Laura” emailed me after listening to Dr. Kristin Lieb and her research on the lifecycle of female pop stars.  I asked Laura, “Which of the female pop star archetypes describes you?”  Her response:

“Like many of the artists, we go through stages.  Been there, done those.  I’m a LEGEND now! (in my own mind)…” 

Nicely put, Laura! ?

Over the past month, we’ve made it “all about us” – as in, our IDENTITY.  We’ve covered:

That’s it for our focus on IDENTITY, at least for now.  Over the next few weeks we’ll tackle other important communication topics, including HOW TO APOLOGIZE and HOW TO ASK FOR HELP.

If you have other ideas for other communication-related topics, please let me know. I love hearing from you!

Have a great week and stay safe.

Talk soon,

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach

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P.S. – Please forward this email to your friends who are interested in improving their communication skills. I appreciate it.  Thank you!

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