Identify the Different Types of Brand Names and When to Use Them

Identify the Different Types of Brand Names and When to Use Them

From descriptive to abstract, learn the different types of brand names and how to choose one that captures your brand’s essence while appealing to your target audience.

Finding the perfect name for your startup is a crucial step that can significantly impact its perception and market position. The correct name distinguishes your brand and establishes a trajectory for its development and business outcomes. Understanding the types of brand names and the brand naming principles is an essential step to consider when creating an exceptional name.  

A great brand name can’t save a failing company or product. If you aim to build a strong brand, start with a strong brand name. - Rob Meyerson | Professional Brand Namer

Brand Name Types

Brand naming, particularly in the fintech sector, straddles innovation and clarity. The industry’s dynamic nature demands names that reflect precision, trust, and, simultaneously, forward-thinking. Here’s a glimpse into brand name types.

1. Descriptive 

Descriptive names articulate precisely your company’s offer or value proposition, leaving little to the imagination regarding what your business does yet fostering immediate understanding and connection. These names are straightforward, immediately communicating the nature of your business or its primary function. However, they require careful consideration.

By clearly stating the company’s purpose or offerings, descriptive names can significantly reduce the marketing efforts needed to explain the brand’s focus. On the contrary, descriptive names are less flexible, hinder adaptability as the brand evolves, and are more challenging to protect. In rare cases, descriptive names can overcome such hurdles if they have sufficient market reach.

InstaLoan is an example of a descriptive brand name in the fintech space. It unambiguously communicates that the company offers loans and does so with speed. This name quickly informs potential customers about the service, highlighting its unique selling proposition (USP) — the immediacy of the loan process.

When to Use Descriptive Brand Names
  • Clear communication: When you want to immediately convey your brand’s products or services without requiring the audience to interpret or guess. It can benefit startups looking to quickly establish a foothold in the fintech market.
  • SEO advantage: Descriptive names can naturally incorporate keywords relevant to your business, which may improve search engine optimization (SEO) and make it easier for potential customers to find your services online.
  • Market education: In areas of fintech that are new or less understood by the general public, a descriptive name can help educate your market about your services, serving as a functional form of advertising.

2. Abbreviations and Acronyms 

Abbreviations and acronyms can be powerful tools for brand naming due to their brevity and ease of recall. They can simplify complex financial terms or company names into something catchy and accessible. Although they have similar purposes, they have different meanings. An abbreviation is the short form of a word or phrase used instead of the entire word or phrase (i.e., NBC).

An acronym is a form of abbreviation created from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word (i.e., AIDS). These names offer a nod to tradition and permanence. Still, they must be imbued with personality and purpose to resonate with consumers and avoid confusion.

Ensuring that your abbreviation or acronym doesn’t unintentionally spell out something negative or unrelated is vital. Additionally, since these names can sometimes be less descriptive, they may require more marketing effort to establish brand recognition and convey your company’s mission or values.

RevPay could be an abbreviation for “Revolutionary Payments.” This name suggests innovation and advancement in the payment industry, conveying the brand’s mission to transform payments. The abbreviation makes the brand name more concise, catchy, and memorable. NFCU could stand for “Navy Federal Credit Union.” This acronym turns a longer, more formal name into a digestible, friendly verbal identity. It simplifies the brand name while retaining a professional tone, making it suitable for a fintech company that wants to blend approachability with authority.

When to Use Abbreviated and Acronym Brand Names
  • To streamline complex names: If your fintech company has a long or complex name, using an abbreviation or acronym can make it more accessible.
  • To enhance memorability: Short, punchy names are easier to remember, which is crucial in the crowded fintech space.
  • To foster brand identity: Abbreviations and acronyms can give your brand a unique identity, making it stand out from competitors with more conventional names.

3. Invented

Invented or fabricated names are made-up terms created explicitly for uniqueness and brandability. These names don’t have a predefined meaning in any language. This creates a distinctive verbal identity and offers creativity and originality.

The advantage of invented names is their high degree of trademarkability and the fact that they start as a blank slate, meaning the brand can imbue them with whatever values, personality, and positioning it chooses. Invented names stem from morphology, an element of verbal branding (see our blog on verbal branding).

This category overlaps abbreviations and includes portmanteaus, misspelled names, and prefixes and suffixes. These names can captivate and intrigue, offering endless possibilities for branding and storytelling.

For example, an invented brand name could be Fintrix. This name does not exist in the dictionary. Still, it cleverly combines elements of “finance” and perhaps “matrix” or “tricks,” suggesting a sophisticated, comprehensive, and maybe even magical approach to financial services. Fintrix suggests innovation and technology, critical attributes in the fintech industry, while also being short, memorable, and easy to pronounce. 

When to Use Invented Brand Names
  • For uniqueness: Since the name is entirely made up, it can stand out vividly against more descriptive or conventional names in fintech.
  • Distinction: An invented name can be a powerful part of a brand’s verbal identity, allowing it to create and convey its unique story and values without being constrained by preexisting associations.
  • Global appeal: Invented names often have no specific meaning in any language, making them more universally appealing and easier to trademark across different regions.

4. Experiential

Experiential Names tie directly with the user or customer journey, reflecting the experience, feeling, or outcome your fintech product or service provides. Experiential names can powerfully differentiate a brand, embedding it in the customer’s human experience and financial growth.

They’re often descriptive and generic, so we suggest conducting a thorough “name positioning map” to survey your competitive market’s brand and product names. An experiential name might be used by a company offering financial freedom and ease through innovative technology.

For example, a mobile payment app could be named SmoothPay. This name suggests a hassle-free, seamless payment experience, directly communicating the benefit to the user. The name SmoothPay informs the audience about what the service does—facilitating payments—and its experience: smooth, effortless transactions without the friction often associated with traditional payment methods. 

When to Use Experiential Brand Names
  • Create an emotional connection: By promising a specific experience, these names tap into the emotional aspects of financial transactions, such as security, ease, or speed, which are crucial decision-making factors for users.
  • Differentiate the brand: Standing out is vital in a competitive sector like fintech. An experiential name can set a brand apart by highlighting its unique experience rather than just its functionality.
  • Facilitate brand storytelling: These names can be a cornerstone of a broader brand narrative that revolves around the customer experience, making marketing and communication more coherent and impactful.

5. Alphanumeric

Alphanumeric, or alphanumericals, blend letters and numbers to create a distinctive and memorable name. This type of naming often conveys specific information or values associated with the brand, leveraging the numerical component to add a layer of meaning or novelty. Alphanumeric names can signal a brand’s cutting-edge approach or highlight specific attributes of a brand’s offerings.

For example, a fintech platform specializing in real-time transactions might choose a name like Pay24 to emphasize its around-the-clock service. Similarly, an investment app focusing on diversified portfolios might opt for a name like Wealth360 to suggest a comprehensive, 360-degree approach to personal finance. These names use the numerical element to communicate specific benefits or features, making the brand’s core promise instantly clear to its audience. 

When to Use Alphanumeric Brand Names
  • Precision: Including numbers can convey a sense of accuracy and specificity, appealing to users who value data-driven services.
  • Innovation: Using numbers alongside letters can give a modern, tech-forward feel, aligning well with fintech brands that pride themselves on innovation.
  • Memorability: Combining letters and numbers often creates a unique and catchy name, helping the brand stand out in a crowded marketplace.

6. Abstract

Abstract brand names are creative, non-descriptive names that don’t directly relate to the company’s products, services, or value proposition. Instead, these names are designed to evoke curiosity, emotions, or interest, providing a unique canvas on which a brand can paint its identity. Abstract names stand out for their originality and flexibility, allowing for a wide range of branding opportunities that can transcend the immediate and literal business model.

Using abstract brand names effectively in fintech requires thoughtful branding and marketing strategies. Since the name doesn’t directly convey the nature of your business, you’ll need to build brand awareness and ensure your market understands the services you offer. This might involve storytelling, creating a solid visual identity, and consistently communicating your brand values and mission.

Zelle is an excellent example of an abstract brand name in fintech. It doesn’t inherently suggest anything about digital payments or financial transactions, its core service. However, its uniqueness and simplicity make it memorable, and over time, it has become synonymous with quick and easy peer-to-peer payments. This abstraction allows the brand to imbue the name with its chosen values and personality, building brand recognition and loyalty around those concepts.

When to Use Abstract Brand Names
  • Building a versatile brand identity: When you aim to create a brand that transcends the specifics of your current products or services, allowing for future growth and diversification without the constraints of a descriptive name.
  • Differentiating in a crowded market: An abstract name in the highly competitive fintech sector can help your brand stand out by breaking free from competitors’ common terminologies and concepts.
  • Fostering emotional connections: Abstract names can serve as a blank slate for storytelling, enabling you to connect with your audience emotionally rather than through the functional aspects of your business. This can be particularly effective in fintech, where trust and security are paramount.


7. Compound 

A compound brand name fuses two or more words or word fragments to create a new, single entity that often blends meaning, functionality, or imagery. This approach combines the best of both worlds, offering descriptive clarity while allowing for creativity and uniqueness. Compound names effectively convey a brand’s essence or key attributes while maintaining the flexibility to build a distinct brand identity.

Compound names are particularly suitable for fintech companies highlighting innovation or customer-centric services. They allow brands to succinctly convey what they do and how they benefit users, crucial in a field where trust and clarity are paramount. Moreover, the inherent uniqueness of compound names can significantly aid in search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and digital discoverability, an essential consideration for any tech-driven business.

However, when crafting a compound brand name, ensuring the combination is intuitive and flows naturally is essential. The name should be easy to pronounce, spell, and remember, avoiding awkward or forced pairings that could confuse or alienate potential customers.

PayPal is a prime example of a compound brand name in the fintech sector. It combines “Pay,” which directly references making payments, with “Pal,” suggesting friendship or assistance. This name effectively communicates the company’s function—facilitating payments—while evoking a sense of reliability and friendliness. The combination creates a memorable and powerful verbal identity that hints at the benefits and values offered.

When to Use Compound Brand Names
  • To achieve clarity and creativity: When you want your fintech brand to convey functionality or value but maintain distinctiveness and the potential for emotional connection, compound names can communicate purpose while allowing creative expression.
  • For enhanced memorability: Compound names can be highly memorable, as they often create a unique blend of words not typically seen together. This uniqueness can make your brand more sticky in consumers’ minds.
  • To facilitate brand storytelling: Compound names can serve as a foundation for rich brand storytelling, helping to weave narratives that resonate with your audience. They can include elements that hint at both what your company does and the values it embodies.

In the End

Naming is both an art and a science, blending creativity with strategic thinking. It can also overlap several naming categories. By understanding the naming types, you can craft a name that exemplifies your brand and shapes its future in the financial industry. We omitted other name types because this blog is already a long read. We may do a part 2—stay tuned!


Read our blog: The Nine Quintessential Qualities of a Smoking-Hot Brand Name.

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About Kizkopop®

Kizkopop is a verbal identity studio for fintech underdogs.

We use language to separate you from competitors while growing your customer base. We approach each project with our proprietary Six Thinking Pens method to create differentiated messaging that moves the mind and shakes the soul.

Read our case studies, then send us a message or book a call if you have a big problem we can solve.

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