Naming businesses: Names as drivers of brand value

Baker Ahmad Alserhan, Zeid Ahmad Alserhan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to propose a new method to assess trade name distinctiveness. Design/methodology/approach – The authors implemented a two-staged methodology. First, catchwords in trade names in the relevant database were identified and ranked according to how commonly they were used and, second, these names were classified into four distinct categories using clearly-defined criteria based on their degree of similarity: champions (zero similarity), runners-up (low similarity), wannabes (high similarity), and washouts (extreme similarity). Findings – The proposed assessment method allows entrepreneurs to create names that are dissimilar to existing ones and hence support a company’s later activities designed to enhance the reputation of the name and build brand equity. The scale is applicable in various business sectors. Research limitations/implications – The study is limited by: the number of names compared being relatively small, the terminology used to denominate the various scale levels could be revisited and other denominations might better reflect the levels. Due to its pioneering nature, the adopted approach needs to be validated by further studies, in particular, how does one assess whether the method is working adequately and, because the scale focuses on one attribute of the name, i.e. distinctiveness, other relevant attributes are not taken into consideration. The trade-off between the various attributes was not within the scope of this study. Originality/value – This is the only study in the field that provides a practical method for assessing trade name distinctiveness through providing actual examples of the possibility of name confusion or differentiation. The study also introduces new concepts for naming strategies such as catch words, trade name distinctiveness, distinctiveness scale, and the similarity indicator. Moreover, the study provides a new classification of characteristics of names that should or should not be used.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)329-342
    Number of pages14
    JournalCompetitiveness Review
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Brand distinctiveness
    • Brand equity
    • Brand names
    • Brand similarity
    • Brands
    • Measurement scale
    • Trade names

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Business,Management and Accounting


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