Ballsy Brand Names

We’ve previously examined how nouns over-index as brand names. In this post, we turn our attention to adjectives.

Inqdrop co-founder Jim Boulton

Adjectives make up around 13% of words in the dictionary. Like nouns, they also over perform as brand names, featuring in a fifth of all the brand names in our NameDek database. 

Adjectives as modifiers

In the vast majority of cases, adjectives in a brand name act as a modifier, they clarify or provide additional information about the product or service on offer. Examples include Best Buy®, EasyJet®, and Krispy Kreme®.

Founded as Sound of Music in 1966, the company was renamed Best Buy® in 1983 when it expanded its offer beyond music systems, with a focus on value for money.
Founded in 1995, Stelios Haji-Ioannou's ambition was to develop a portfolio of consumer businesses, alongside EasyJet®, that were easy on the wallet.
When Krispy Kreme® founder Vernon Rudolph acquired a secret donut recipe from a French pastry chef in 1937, the name came with it, describing the texture of the donut as crispy on the outside, creamy in the centre.

In these cases, adjectives differentiate the brand, by highlighting a key attribute or unique selling point. However, in a few rare cases, just 1% of our NameDek, brands adopt a standalone adjective as their name. In doing so, they perform the first task of a brand name, they grab our attention. 

Stakes in the ground

Examples of ballsy brands that have adopted a single adjective as a name include Automattic®, Prudential®, Supreme®, and the ultimate adjective based brand Uber®.

Funded in 2005 by Matt Mullenweg, the name Automattic® is suggestive of laboursaving and a play on its founder's name.

Prudential® means showing forethought, especially in business. An apt name for a company founded in 1848, selling insurance policies to the working class.
Founded in 1994 by James Jebbia, who thought the single word Supreme® summed up everything a retail experience should be.
Originally UberCab, Uber® is a German word, which literally means over but has evolved to mean ultimate. Most commonly used in the context of Nietzsche's Übermensch, meaning superman.

These adjective-based brand names put a stake in the ground. They lay a claim to a piece of territory.

Automattic is promising its products will work with a minimum amount of human intervention. Prudential reassures us it will carefully and diligently look after us. Supreme confidently assures us of the quality of its products, and Uber arrogantly claims to be the ultimate taxi service.

Confidence is infectious

This self-assured confidence is infectious. We believe them until proved otherwise. But adjective-based brand names come with a health-warning, consumers will soon spot if the product or service doesn’t live up to the hype. 

Because they are unusual, adjective-based brand names stand out from the crowd. With a front and centre brand promise, they connect with us on an emotional level. They set a high bar but so does any brand-led product or service. Why not proudly wear your heart on your sleeve? In the case of Supreme, quite literally.

Find out more

In the next post, we'll examine verbs, which make up the majority of the rest of the names in the NameDek.

In the mean time, if you need advice on a name, or you'd like to find out more about our NameDek system, that reveals the fabric and texture of brand names, please get in touch.
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