Most effective types of brand names identified

Ranking of eight name typesA while ago I downloaded a presentation by aXle Branding. I just revisited their site and could not find it, but here’s the url anyway: http://axlebranding.com/

One page displayed the aXle analysis of names strengths, weakest to strongest by name type. Their example was drawn from the communications industry.

I happen to agree with this assessment by and large. I’m not sure I could have made the distinction between “completely descriptive” and “ semi-descriptive”, but otherwise I embrace their approach. We are dealing with generalities here, so there are certainly some invented names that aren’t strong. And there are probably some family name types that are strong, either through use or additional associations (Edison, perhaps?).

Anyway, here’s their take on name strengths, strongest at top, weakest at bottom, together with examples of each name type:

Invented: Agilent, Cisco
Arbitrary: Sycamore Networks
Suggestive: Extreme Networks, Lucent
Semi-descriptive: Nortel, Alcatel, Xilinx, Sybase
Completely descriptive: Digital Lightwave
Generic: Optical Communications Products, Inc.
Family Name: Williams Communications
Initials: ONI Systems, MCI

Actually, I separated “Family Name” and “Initials” and “Invented” or “Arbitrary”– they had them grouped together – because I feel strongly about initials being the absolute worst way to name a company and invented names the best.

Anyway, Invented and Arbitrary names come out on top with both Axle and me.

Martin Jelsema

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