The story behind our name...

From the Daddy's girl who inspired Mercedes, a sibling feud that created Adidas, to a fortunate misspelling for Google - brand naming is often based on a personal story but needs to be supported by some simple logic.


Tell the story behind your new name and it will be a memorable part of who you are. 
Howard Fish, Brand Strategist - Fish Partners

I'm often asked about our company name and enjoy telling our story as it's a key part of who we are and the connected services we offer to our customers. Naming Bowline involved lots of brainstorming, screwed up paper and a few cheeky G&T's! Coming up with a unique name in any sector is a tough job but I had some key principles in mind to create a name that was; distinctive, relevant and memorable. It needed to sound great in conversation, look good written in an email and as a logo. It would need to be timeless, easy to say, and remember. No pressure then...

I had a clear vision of the experience for Bowline, the services we would offer and how we would work with our customers. But the name? I had to start from scratch the good old fashioned way - with a pen and paper.

The Spaghetti Exercise
The spaghetti exercise is all about throwing ideas out there and seeing what sticks. A few things stuck for me during this process and those were themes of; connectivity and unison.

Refine And Focus
I played with ideas around these themes, one word shone out from my pad; 'knot'. I was instantly taken back to childhood memories of summer holidays spent sailing with my Dad, the youngest of four and an out-and-out tomboy I loved charging around on deck and being outdoors. Of course I couldn't just get in the way, I had to be useful. This meant learning to navigate, raise the sails, tack, jibe and tie a handful of vital knots - one being a Bowline.

Creating The Story

I was taught the knot using a simple story; a rabbit comes out the rabbit hole, runs around the back of the tree and down the hole again. This was particularly relevant to the task in hand, because memorable stories create great communication.

It felt right. And after a some market research and a few essential legal checks the decision was made, Bowline it was! 

How to tie a Bowline Knot 

Brand Naming Do's And Don'ts

Do choose a name that is;

  • Meaningful - communicate something about the essence of the brand. Test it with your audience, what does it mean to them? What 'feeling' does it give them?
  • Distinctive - make it unique and easy to remember. Also think about how you 'protect' the name, this is a lot easier when it's distinctive. 
  • Positive - it has positive connotations in the markets served and has no strong negative connotations. 

Don't choose a name that is;

  • Similar to your competitors - too often companies go for descriptive names which don't differentiate.
  • On-trend - campaigns are always replaced and your identity will evolve over time. Your name should last the test of time.
  • Doesn't speak to your customer - A great name should capture the imagination of your customer. Don't know what's important to your customers? Do a survey, conduct some research or speak to them.

So what's behind every brand name? The answer is more than you think - it's not as simple as naming your pet or baby. It requires a creative, disciplined and strategic approach. But if you're passionate about your business it should be always fun!