Playful brand names: Is a playful business name right for you?
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Playful brand names: Is a playful business name right for you?

Playful Brand Names

Playful brand names are one of the many unique types of monikers companies can choose to define and differentiate their brand. Lighthearted, fresh, fun, and often brimming with lexical components, these names are a way for businesses to capture the attention of their target audience. 

For many business leaders, their instinct is often to choose a “descriptive” name that instantly tells consumers what the organization does or what kind of products it sells. 

While this can be an excellent way to inform consumers they’re looking in the right place for solutions to their issues, descriptive names are often seen as boring and less engaging. 

A playful business name sets a brand apart from the competition by allowing it to immediately highlight its unique personality. With a playful name, you can tell your customers more about the company’s values, vision, and approach you to take to connect with clients. 

Used correctly, a playful business name is a good way to make your brand seem more approachable and engaging, regardless of which industry you’re working in. Today, we will look at some pros and cons of playful company names to help you make the ideal choice for your venture.

Playful Brand Names

What is a playful brand name?

So, what are playful brand names? There are no hard and fast rules for what a playful moniker must contain. Some leverage lexical concepts like rhyme and rhythm to make the name fun to say and more appealing to clients. 

Other playful names use portmanteau components or deliberate misspellings to set the brand apart from the competition. 

Often, the core purpose of a playful business name is to convey whimsy, creativity, and youthfulness. These can be critical characteristics for organizations that want to appear more friendly and approachable. 

However, a playful business name can also make a company appear immature or unsophisticated when used in the wrong settings. 

As with any moniker, a playful name should convey the specific identity or essence of the company behind the title. Technology companies might use playful business names to make their complex offerings seem less daunting or complex. 

App creators and cosmetics companies also use playful names to appeal to a younger audience. 

Most playful brand names are fantastic at evoking certain customer thoughts and feelings. 

Like the “evocative” name, they attempt to drive an emotional response from an audience. In many cases, these names can also be easier to trademark and “own” because they’re deliberately unique and inventive.

Playful Brand Names

What are the pros of playful brand names?

Perhaps the biggest benefit of a playful business name is its ability to convey crucial information about a brand’s identity. In today’s competitive business world, most consumers aren’t drawn to companies based solely on what they sell. Instead, customers are looking to form connections or relationships with brands that can offer a unique experience. 

A playful company name tells your audience they’re going to have a fun, stress-free time when interacting with your organization. They’re primarily used in the B2C (Business to Consumer) space, where consumers are more likely to seek fun and frivolity than a serious interaction. 

Some of the biggest benefits of playful brand names include the following:

Emotional impact

As mentioned above, playful business names are excellent for leaving a lasting impression on your audience from an emotional perspective. They immediately elicit positive feelings by helping customers to imagine something fun or whimsical. 

They’re great for brands looking to convince their audience that they will get a unique experience when interacting with a specific product or service. 

Differentiation

Most playful brand names use a combination of different naming strategies, including evocative words, compound terms, and even lexical components. 

This allows organizations to differentiate themselves from other brands while making it easier to choose a name they can trademark and “own.” Whimsical and playful names can also make creating a more eye-catching logo and brand image easier. 

Creativity

Playful company names allow brands to showcase their creative side. They can experiment with a range of different titles to make themselves stand out. 

With the help of a naming company, businesses can create a highly distinctive and suggestive trademark that helps them make a lasting impression on the right customer. 

Audience appeal

Most playful names are great for attracting a specific kind of audience. 

Because they’re fun and lighthearted, they generally appeal to a younger audience, particularly in the B2C space. If you already know who your target audience will be, a playful name could help make you more endearing to them.

Playful Brand Names

What are the cons of a playful business name?

In the right circumstances, a playful company name can have fantastic results for a business. They’re great for organizations that want to differentiate themselves from other, more complicated, sophisticated brands. 

A playful name might be the ideal choice if there’s a gap in your market for a solution provider that shows a fun, fresh, and whimsical side. 

However, playful names don’t appeal to everyone. They appear immature and silly in the wrong circumstances and could detract from your brand equity

This is why it’s so essential for organizations investing in playful names first to take the time to assess their target audience and brand personality. Some of the biggest downsides of playful business names include the following:

Immaturity

Some playful names rely too heavily on immature words and concepts, making their brand appear silly or unreliable. 

If you’re trying to show your audience you’re sophisticated, knowledgeable, and professional, the playful name you pick could detract from this brand essence. Make sure you know how you want to be perceived.

Audience alienation

Although playful brand names are great for youthful customers in the B2C landscape, they often alienate B2B businesses, as they can identify a company as being quirkier and less trustworthy. 

Assessing the competing companies in your industry and your target audience will help you define if a playful title is right for you. 

Confusion

Using certain naming strategies with your business name, such as invented titles or compound words, can lead to some confusion. Your audience might not know exactly what you’re trying to say with your name. 

For example, “Moonpig” doesn’t tell us anything about what the company actually does. 

Complexity

It can be difficult for some brands to develop an endearing and playful name on their own. 

There’s more to the process than simply pushing fun-sounding words together. Companies shouldn’t simply rely on a random word that seems interesting or playful to describe their business, as this can harm the overall brand.

Who should use a playful company name?

Playful brand names are specifically suited to certain types of companies. Generally, the brands that benefit most from these titles are those who want to reach their audience with a unique, fun, and frivolous personality.

If you’re trying to show your audience they can expect a stress-free and exciting experience from your organization, a playful name could be the right choice.

Playful words, whether invented or taken from the existing language of your target audience, instantly infuse your business with personality.

The more unique the name, the more likely customers will want to keep saying it, and sharing it with others, which helps generate word-of-mouth marketing opportunities. This can be great for facilitating brand growth.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to showcase a sophisticated, professional, and highly educated brand, a playful name may damage your reputation. In the B2B industry, some playful names are seen as immature and untrustworthy.

Typically, playful names are less suitable for industries where the sector’s focus is more serious.

For example, a company probably wouldn’t use a playful name if they were associated with funerals, security, or healthcare. This is because, in these industries, customers aren’t looking for signs where they can expect a “fun” experience.

Instead, they’re focused on finding knowledgeable brands to provide them peace of mind.

Famous playful brand names (examples)

Like any type of business name, playful company names can have a range of unique pros and cons to consider.

On the one hand, they’re a fantastic tool for highlighting the specific personality of your company in a way that immediately grabs the audience’s attention. On the other hand, they can be disruptive, confusing, or even immature.

If you’re unsure whether a playful business name has the right impact for your organization, it might be helpful to look at some examples of playful brand names to help. Here are some useful insights into the most popular companies with “playful” names on the market.

Playful Brand Names

1. Colourpop

One of the most popular cosmetics companies in the world today, Colourpop is a unique business that sells beauty products primarily to customers in the digital world. 

The organization uses a lexical strategy called “onomatopoeia” to make its name sound fun. The “pop” at the end of the name instantly grabs attention and highlights the brand as being interesting, fun, and youthful.

Playful Brand Names

2. Moonpig

Launched in 2000, Moonpig is an internet-based business selling gifts, greeting cards, and flowers. At a glance, the name chosen for this company seems to be entirely random, focused on grabbing attention with something unpredictable and interesting.

However, according to the founder, Nick Jenkins, the title actually comes from a nickname he had at school.

Playful Brand Names

3. Funky Pigeon

Like Moonpig, Funky Pigeon is another well-known brand designed to help customers find greeting cards and gifts to send friends straight from the web. This title has a bit more meaning to it than “Moonpig.”

We often associate pigeons with mail delivery, thanks to the history of the carrier pigeon. The mascot for the organization, therefore, makes a lot of sense for consumers.

Playful Brand Names

4. Tootsie Roll

Another playful business name that sounds infinitely fun to say, Tootsie roll is the title for a specific type of confectionery. The title apparently comes from a nickname the founder gave to his daughter Clara. 

Interestingly, this name did take on other meanings throughout the years, as Tootsie Rolls was also a title given to the mortar shells used during the war.

Playful Brand Names

5. Squatty Potty

Perhaps lesser known than some of the other playful company names shared on this list, the Squatty Potty is a unique product designed to help people with bowel movements.

To help make the concept sound more fun and endearing, the company chose a unique rhyming name and combined it with a fun advertising strategy featuring a unicorn.

Playful Brand Names

6. Mailchimp

We typically don’t associate email services with monkeys and chimps, which might be why Mailchimp’s title is so engaging and exciting.

According to the history of the brand, Mailchimp was named after one of the iconic characters on the greeting cards previously sold by the company. Over the years, Mailchimp has created its own mascot to help its playful title stand out even more.

Playful Brand Names

7. IHOP

Otherwise known as the “International House of Pancakes”, IHOP is one of the better-known fast food locations in the United States.

Rather than sticking exclusively to its descriptive title, the company refined the name into something fun and playful. The name “IHOP” isn’t just an acronym; it’s a word that’s creative and fun to say, helping to boost word-of-mouth marketing.

Playful Brand Names

8. Taboola

Taboola is a public advertising brand based in New York City. The company first launched in 2007 and has achieved significant global success.

According to the brand, they chose their inventive and playful name to showcase their unique personality. The organization wanted customers to associate them with concepts like charm, friendliness, and cheer.

Playful Brand Names

9. Hulu

An extremely popular streaming service in the digital age, Hulu has achieved phenomenal growth over the years, thanks in part to its engaging and unique naming choice. The name “Hulu” comes from two Chinese words, as well as a Chinese proverb.

Although this title has a deeper meaning, it still benefits from being fun and interesting. It also reminds us of hula dancers.

Playful Brand Names

10. Maggie Moo

Combining alliteration with imagery, the name “Maggie Moo” has become quite popular over the years. This moniker identifies one of the top ice cream brands in the United States. 

The name naturally rolls off the tongue and sounds fantastic when spoken out loud, which helps generate word-of-mouth promotion. The use of a cow mascot for the brand also enhances the title.

Playful Brand Names

11. Fanta

Another invented name with a unique, playful appeal, Fanta is a fun and engaging word with a tremendous lexical lilt. The name comes from the German word for imagination, “Fantasie.” It also connects with the word “Fantasy” in the English language.

This moniker makes us think of innovation and creativity, which is ideal for a company looking to stand out in the cluttered beverage market.

Playful Brand Names

12. Pringles

Pringles, one of the best-known snack companies in the world, has developed an iconic brand image over the years, using fantastic marketing strategies and its own mascot. The name pringles was chosen because it worked well with the following descriptor “potato chip.”

The title is fun and unique, making it a good way for the business to differentiate itself from other brands.

Playful Brand Names

How to choose playful company names

Playful business names can benefit companies in the right context and circumstances. 

However, like any name, companies need to go into the process of choosing the ideal title with the right strategy. It’s important to understand exactly what kind of impact you want on your customer before diving in. 

It’s also worth noting that many business leaders need help choosing playful names that can convey meaning and value without sounding immature or confusing. As a result, it’s often helpful for many organizations to seek out the assistance of a professional naming firm.

A naming company can assist other brands with due diligence, researching the market, and eventually selecting a name with the right impact. 

When choosing your own playful business name, make sure you:

Understand your brand identity 

Start by considering your business’s nature and the personality you want to convey. It’s important to ensure your name choice highlights the underlying values of your organization. If you want to be seen as playful, fun, and youthful, then this kind of moniker could be the right choice. 

Research your competitors

Take a closer look at the competition and ask yourself whether playful names are relatively common in your industry. A playful title could be a good way to stand out if they’re not. However, you might also find your chosen moniker isn’t appropriate for the kind of sector you serve. 

Know your audience

When choosing a business name, it’s important to understand your audience and what they’re looking for when searching for a brand. Food, beverage, and cosmetics companies can often benefit from playful names because customers want fun experiences. 

Check availability

Even if you believe your playful business name is unique and creative, it’s worth taking some extra time to double-check. In today’s rapidly evolving digital market, there’s always a chance someone else has already chosen a similar title. 

Even if the moniker isn’t exactly the same, it’s worth looking for something that’s totally unique.

Build an accompanying brand

Ensure the brand you build around your name helps to highlight your unique personality too. You can use a mascot in your logo to help showcase your unique personality or experiment with more fun and unique brand colors. 

Remember to invest the right amount of time into marketing too.

Working with playful business names

Playful brand names have a lot of benefits to offer in the right circumstances. With a playful brand name, you can connect to your target audience on a deeper emotional level and boost your chances of a long-term relationship.

Playful names can help you differentiate your brand and highlight your unique personality to drive brand equity.

However, like any business name, it’s important to remember that playful titles aren’t right for every business. You’ll need to dedicate plenty of time and effort to researching your target audience and competition to determine whether this title is right for you.

Choose a playful name for the wrong type of company, and you could risk alienating your target audience.

When in doubt, it’s always helpful to seek out the assistance of a professional who can help you research your business name options and make the correct choice.

Fabrik: A naming agency for our times.

We’ve made our name famous by naming other businesses.

Get in touch if you have a company, product, or service that requires a unique name. Click below, and let’s start a conversation today!

Now read these: 
Types of brand names, the ultimate guide 
An in-depth guide to descriptive brand names
The pros and cons of abstract brand names
When to use an evocative brand name
Your guide to invented company names
Is a lexical brand name right for your business?
An insight into acronymic business names
Putting geographic brand names on the map
Should you name a business after yourself
Definitive guide to compound brand names 
Exploring the trend for modern brands names 
Adding up alphanumeric company names 
Why are metaphorical brand names popular
Weighing up technical company names 
Getting to grips with historical brand names

Steve Harvey
Co-founder
Steve Harvey
Co-founder
Our co-founder, Steve Harvey, is also a regular contributor to Brand Fabrik, a flagship publication covering topics relevant to anyone in branding, marketing and graphic design. Steve shares his enthusiasm for brand naming through his articles and demonstrates his knowledge and expertise in the naming process.

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