Smile and Scratch: The Acid Test for Naming Your Brand

Nathaniel Bastin
3 min readNov 24, 2021
Naming your brand takes momentous consideration

“Names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

Dale Carnegie

When it comes to developing your brand, there are few aspects more significant than the naming of your business, product or service.

A name sits at the heart of a brand. It speaks to the brand’s personality. It inspires the brand’s design. It is spoken, written, heard and read more than anything else in your brand universe.

It takes momentous consideration.

I recently read “Hello: My Name is Awesome” by Alexandra Watkins, a short but potent guide to developing a terrific brand name.

“Hello: My Name is Awesome” by Alexandra Watkins

The book centres around a handy framework for whittling down your longlist of proposed names, ensuring that only the best are chosen for final consideration.

It’s called “Smile and Scratch” (both acronyms) and it functions as follows.

SMILE

When considering your naming longlist, advance all names that can be categorised as follows.

Suggestive

Names that evoke something (that you’d like to be evoked) about your brand.

Meaningful

Names containing terms that are likely to ring true with your audience.

(Side note: better for a name to be long and meaningful than short and meaningless).

Imagery

Names that cunger images that will aid in memory, making it much stickier.

Legs

Names that have extended mileage and will still be appropriate as your product or service offering grows.

Emotional

Names that move people (in a positive or endearing way).

SCRATCH

When considering your naming longlist, discount all names that could be defined as follows.

Spelling challenged

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Nathaniel Bastin

Full Stack Brand Builder | Published in “The Startup”, “Better Marketing” & “Entrepreneur’s Handbook” | x.com/NB_Branding