How can I coin a creative brand name or tag line?


Q & A by C.J. HaydenIf you’re feeling stuck about naming your business or brand, or finding just the right phrase for your tag line, here’s one of my favorite techniques for stimulating your creativity. Take a pad of small sticky notes and on each note write one word that says something to you about your business or brand. Try to get a good mix of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.

Then stick them all up on a wall, window, or mirror and stare at them for a while. Rearrange them and stare at them again. Start to form groupings that look promising. If you notice one word appearing in multiple groupings, write that word on some additional notes so you can re-use it.

Go do something else for a day and then look again. Notice which words don’t appear in any of your groupings and take them off. You should be left with some good candidates for either tag lines or business names. Try each one on for a full day and see how it feels. Narrow down your choices to three options.

Show your three options to some friends and colleagues. Instead of asking them which one they like, ask what the tag line or name makes them think of. How would they feel about a person or business using that tag line or name? What impression does it give them of what’s behind the words? Write down what they say.

Notice which name or tag line best creates the impression you want to make with your business in the minds of most people. That should be your choice.

If you feel blocked at any point in the process from coming up with words that work for you, try accessing the other half of your brain by using images instead. Cut out or draw some pictures of images that represent your business to you and stick them up on the wall along with the words.

This is how my coaching business came to be called Wings. I couldn’t find the right words and switched to using images. Finally I noticed that every picture I cut out — angels, eagles, butterflies, rocketships — had wings on it. The word had never occurred to me until I saw the pictures.

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