Functional / Descriptive Product and Company Names

When descriptive names work:

When a company names products and their brand strategy is to direct the bulk of brand equity to the company name. Examples of companies that follow this name strategy are BMW, Martha Stewart and Subway.

When descriptive names don't work:

When they are company names. Company names that are descriptive are asked to perform only one task: explaining to the world the business that you are in. This is an unnecessary and counterproductive choice.

The downside here is many-fold. This naming strategy creates a situation that needlessly taxes a marketing and advertising budget because descriptive company names are drawn from a small pool of relevant keywords, causing them to blend together and fade into the background, indistinguishable from the bulk of their competitors - the antithesis of marketing.

As an example of the "brand fade out" caused by choosing descriptive company names, consider the names of the following branding and naming companies:

Brand/Branding Companies Name/Naming Companies
Brand-DNA (.com)
Brand-DNA (.net)
Brand A
Brand 2.0
Brand Design
Brand Doctors
Brand Evolve
Brand Evolution
Brand Forward
Brand Juice
Brand Ladder
Brand Link
Brand Maverick
Brand Mechanics
Brand Meta
Brand People
Brand Positioning
Brand Salt
Brand Scope
Brand Sequence
Brand Slinger
Brand Vista
Independent Branding
Not Just Any Branding
Better Branding Company
The Brand Company
The Brand Consultancy
ABC Name Bank
Brighter Naming
Moore Names
Name Development
Name Evolution
Name Generator
Name Lab
Name One
Name Pharm
Name Quest
Name Razor
Name Sale
Name Sharks
Name Stormers
Name Tag
Name Trade
Naming Systems
Naming Toolbox
Naming Workshop
Strategic Name Development
The Naming Company
Wise Name

These kinds of company names are easily avoided if a thorough competitive analysis is performed and if the people doing the naming understand the following basic concept:

The notion of describing a business in the name assumes that company names will exist at some point without contextual support, which is impossible. Company names will appear on websites, store fronts, in news articles or press releases, on business cards, in advertisements, or, at their most naked, in conversations.

There are simply no imaginable circumstances in which company names can exist without contextual, explanatory support, which means they are free to perform more productive tasks.

Invented Names