The performance of any business is hugely dependent on how it is perceived by those it serves. Part of that perception is created by the name of the business and how it resonates with the clients. Business names are sets of denotations and connotations of value propositions that burrow deep into the human mind. In fact, great business names tend to distinguish themselves in both the connotation and denotation of what they promise to clients, resulting in desired perception in the minds of target audiences which eventually translate into desired action. Besides, the success of any business begins and ends with what the company can inspire people to think about it.

The Psychology behind Buyer Consumer Decisions

The reasons why a certain brand can appeal more to consumers than another has more to do with the mind than anything else. Generally, most consumers do not have adequate information about the products or services they consume to make educated purchases. But because most businesses know a lot about human mind and behavior, they will package their offers to capture the attention of prospects. For the ordinary consumers buying these products, they always think that they favor certain brands because of objective reasons (such as price or quality), yet in truth, it is their feelings and identities that often influence the choices they make.


Essentially, there are 3 psychological concepts that explain why consumers love certain brands: personal identity, emotional decision-making and social identity. While you might think that you are buying a brand of toothpaste due to its effectiveness in preventing cavities or because it offers better value, the reality is that your emotions and endeavor for identity influence your decisions. In fact, studies have shown that consumers evaluate brands mostly based on their emotions and not information or facts about the brands. Moreover, since they know that buyer decisions are often founded on emotions, successful marketers usually try to harness the power of emotions to optimize their sales.

Business Names and the Mind

Great business names usually have strong emotional, non-verbal associations which make them memorable to the target audience. A non-verbal association is what is evoked visually, emotionally and/or symbolically by a particular name. A business name without a non-verbal correlative is virtually useless because it will not stick in the minds of the target audience. But a name with a cognitive/emotional connection creates mental pictures every time it is pronounced, resulting into a powerful effect on the mind. For example, when a business opts for the name “Die Hard”, its intention is to use this slang for “never give up” to establish a mental link between its products and being tenacious and obdurate.


A business name is completely dead if it lacks this emotional connective tissue. Actually, it is the cognitive/emotional connection that makes a name to embody or stand for something, and which makes it worth remembering. This means that whenever a company name is mentioned, the mind should immediately visualize what it is connected to, such as the value it offers. For example, if the company name is Tripod, it is the mental picture of the tripod and what it means to the consumer that will stir desired action. But without the emotional attachment, the name would simply be a word floating in air.

Creating Names from Words Unknown to Prospective Clients

Great business names can be created from words unknown to the target audiences. Generally, all words (unless they are totally random fabrications) will create immediate, clearly and associatively consistent images in the target minds. Even a completely unfamiliar word will carry emotional correlations based on pre-existing experiences and imagery. Therefore, to create great business names from new words, business owners need to first research and know the possible associations that the target audience would make with the words. A word should only be used if it can stir emotional response that is positive and relevant to the business.

Moreover, when combining words to create business names, it is critical to study the meanings and associations to the resulting names in order to have maximum control over the messages sent. Some words can conjure meanings and associations that are contradictory to the message of a business, resulting in alienation of the designated target market. Any word with a negatively charged or contradictory association must be discarded regardless of whether it only affects a small minority of the target audience.