Ideal lengths for brand names and text

Posted on Tue 05 Sep 2017 @ 12.00pm UTC

Do most popular words and brand names not exceed a length of five letters?

The general rule of thumb is the shorter the better. It allows for easier memorability.


For brand names, the number of letters is less important than how the name is read and how it sounds. It boils down to the number of syllables that could be uttered easily. Four syllables or fewer for a one-word name is often recommended by marketing experts (Aitchison, 2012; Kohli, 1984; Lee, 2014b).

Association by brand name enhances branding because each association may be a memory retrieval cue. A brand name using high-frequency words in the target language interferes with the association, resulting in non-distinctiveness for branding. A name composed of low-frequency words stimulates distinctive processing. (Myers-Levy, 1989; Kohli et al., 2005).

How to Choose a Business Name, Part 6: Length” recommends four syllables or fewer for a one-word name.


Other recommended lengths are explained in two articles, “The Proven Ideal Length of Every Tweet, Facebook Post, and Headline Online” and “The Ideal Length for All Online Content“:—

  • Tweet at 100 characters
  • Facebook status at 40 characters
  • Google+ headline at 60 characters or under
  • Headline at 6 words
  • Email subject line at 28 to 39 characters
  • Title tag at 55 characters
  • Domain name at 8 characters
  • Presentation duration at 18 minutes
  • Blog post at 1,600 words (or roughly 7 minutes of reading time)

Interestingly, the ideal paragraph is 45 to 55 words — confirming the professional writer’s rule of thumb of 20 to 25 words per sentence and 2 to 4 sentences per paragraph.

The age-old lore in magazine editorial work has it the ideal magazine article is a seven-minute read. That fits in rather nicely with the seven-minute blog post.

Here are four research works with relevant additional concepts and data:—

Jean AITCHISON. (2012). Words in the Mind: An Introduction to the Mental Lexicon. London: Wiley-Blackwell (imprint of John Wiley & Son Inc. and Basil Blackwell Ltd). ISBN 978-0-470-65647-1 (paperback).

Chiranjeev KOHLI. (1984). Branding consumer goods: Insights from theory and practice. Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 14, issue 3 (1984). MCB UP Ltd. ISSN 0736-3761.

C.S. KOHLI, K.R. HARICH and L. LEUTHESSER. (2005). Creating brand identity: A study of evaluation of new brand names. Journal of Business Research, vol. 58, issue 11 (Nov. 2005), pages 1506–1515.

Joan MYERS-LEVY. (1989). The influence of a brand name’s association set size and word frequency on brand memory. Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 16, no. 2 (Sept. 1989), pages 197–207. University of Chicago Press.


AITCHISON, 2012 — citation in main text.

BUSHNAQ, Margot. (2013). How to choose a business name, part 6: length. 10 July 2013.

KOHLI, 1984 citation in main text.

KOHLI et al., 2005 citation in main text.

LEE, Kevan. (2014a). The ideal length for all online content, backed by research. Buffer Social (blog). 31 Mar 2014. Last updated 01 Jun 2016.

LEE, Kevan. (2014b). The proven ideal length of every tweet, Facebook post, and headline online. Fast Company (blog). 07 Apr 2014.

MYERS-LEVY, 1989  citation in main text.

© Learn English or Starve, 04 Sept 2017. (B17137). Original text 25 Nov 2014.

Featured image via The Eye Opener.

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