Descriptive Name

Posted in Marketing and Strategy Terms, Total Reads: 506

Definition: Descriptive Name

A company name or company trademark or logo which clearly describes what the company does or its products and services are, is known as a descriptive name.

Example: MSEB which stands for Maharashtra State Electricity Board. This name clearly describes what MSEB does. Other example could be General motors, which describes that GM is an automobile company.


Descriptive names are generally very easy to understand. They represent the products or services that the company offers. They are easy to remember. But often, a descriptive name could be confused. Example: Xerox was the 1st company to start manufacturing photocopier machines. Now people often call a photocopy, a Xerox. Therefore, even if the photocopier machine is of some other brand like Canon, it is called a Xerox machine by majority of the people.

Also, descriptive names cannot be ‘trademarked’. They are not ‘distinct’ according to the USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark office). This lack of being patented or trademarked might often cause confusion in the minds of the customer. Thus, descriptive names have certain advantages and disadvantages.


a. Easy to understand and remember.

b. Describe the ingredients, service or function that the company offers.

c. Generally, easy to pronounce and spell.

d. Likely to receive maximum search engine traffic, since they include common syllables or words, which a potential customer is likely to use on the internet.


a. Often they cannot be trademarked.

b. There is little scope for imaginative and innovative branding and design.

When should a company select a descriptive name?

a. The company has suffered already due to an over-creative name.

b. When the company is a start-up and needs a lot of publicity on the internet and in general.

c. When a company is trying to conquer the market of a company with a similar name. (This is not totally ethical)

d. When the company has enough funds and time to fight the companies with a similar brand name and establish its own unique identity with that descriptive name.


Steps in deciding the name for a company:

Step-1: Determine the type of brand you are building- whether it just represents the company or the present products or even the possible future products. Example: United Biscuits is a brand name that shows that the company produces and sells only biscuits and its types like cookies, cream biscuits etc.

Step-2: Determine the type of name to be used- There are mainly four types: Descriptive, made-up, experiential or made-up. Pick one that suits your company and its operations and products. Example: Apple products might not have been that famous if the company would have been named, Jobs and company.

Step-3: Make sure that the name can be protected: There are various state, national and international agencies where you can file for trademark.

Step-4: Testing of the name: Try to test the name you have decided before introducing it to the consumers. Testing can be done by recording people’s response to a certain name.

Finally, for a company, a good brand name is as important as an individual’s identity.



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