Nameonics 101 – The Science of Memorable Brand Names

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When creating a name for a new product, service or company, the number one rule is to make that new brand name memorable.

The reason is obvious: If your customer can’t remember the name of your product, the chances that he or she will search it out – much less recommend it to someone else – are slim to none. Forgettable names are worthless. Memorable names are priceless.

The bad news is that most companies ignore this rule and end up with product names that are about as memorable as a yesterday’s lunch. The good news is that you don’t have to settle for a forgettable name. Creating memorable names is easier than you think.

All you have to do is take the following crash course in Nameonics – the science of memorable brand names.

Nameonics (yes, I am a word geek, and yes, I made that name up to make this article more memorable) combines “name” with “mnemonics.” As you may recall from English class, mnemonics are linguistic devices that are kind of like memory aids that make information easier to remember.

Here are six basic Nameonics you can use to make the brand names you create more memorable:


Like catchy jingles, names that rhyme often stick in a person’s head whether they want it to or not. Rhyming works in multi-part names like Crunch ‘n Munch and in shorter names like YouTube. Other examples of rhyming include Mellow Yellow, Lean Cuisine, and Reese’s Pieces.


The human brain is hardwired to respond to and store visual imagery. That’s why names that evoke a vivid image like BlackBerry, Jaguar, or Hush Puppies are so easy to remember. So when naming your new product, be sure to think in pictures as well as words.


Alliteration is one of the most common mnemonic devices. To create an alliteration, begin each word in the name with the same letter or sound. Bed, Bath & Beyond is an alliteration. Other examples include Coca-Cola, Spic and Span, and Krispy Kreme.


A neologism is a newly invented word like Google or Wii. Neologisms can be created by respelling an existing word. Google is a respelling of the mathematics term “googol”. You can also make a neologism by combining two words. Snapple is a combination of “snap” and “apple.”


Buzz, bang, and thump are all onomatopoeia – words that sound like what they stand for. Brand name examples of onomatopoeia include Whoosh Mobile, Meow Mix, and KaBoom Energy Drink. Try adding some oomph to your names with onomatopoeia.


Need your new product to generate a Bunch-O-Business? Then a haplology may be just the ticket. To create a haplology simply take a three-word phrase and abbreviate the one in the middle. Examples include Toys “R” Us, Bug-B-Gone, and Land O’Lakes.

This Ain’t Rocket Science

Nameonics is one science that does not require an advanced degree to practice. Anybody can use rhyming, imagery and other simple Nameonic techniques to make their brand name stand out from the competition and stick in the customer’s memory bank. Give it a try. You’ve got nothing to lose but a boring, hard-to-remember name.

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