How to create Chinese brands from an acronym domain

August 25, 2018 (Sat). Last week I wrote that corporate China likes acronym domains because they can help companies serve audiences both inside and outside China. In this article I'll continue and show you how a single domain can be turned into multiple Chinese brands. As an example, I'll use which I saw in a recent LinkedIn post by Howard Fellman to promote the domain.

In an acronym, each letter represents one or more Pinyin words. For example, the letter N in represents about 500 Pinyin words such as Ni (你=you), Nian (年=year), and Nu (女=woman). Similarly, R represents about 400 Pinyin words such as Ren (人), Rou (肉=meat), and Re (热=hot). To create a Chinese brand for NNR, combine the Pinyin words represented by "N", "N', and "R".

Obviously, this approach produces a very large number of combinations and examining each one of them will be very time consuming. Instead, I try two methods. The first one is my own database of Chinese phrases I have picked up from Chinese domain news I read almost everyday. When I need to find good meanings for an acronym, I check my database first.

The second method is to use the Chinese input method available on your mobile phone or PC. (Check out Vladimir Skultety's short tutorial on Pinyin input at Here's a trick that many people may not be aware: You can actually enter an acronym and get a list of suggested Chinese phrases. For example, entering "NNR" gives the following suggestions in Chinese characters.

  1. Na Nu Ren (那女人=that woman)
  2. Ni Nan Ren (你男人=you, man)
  3. Ni Nu Ren (你女人=you, woman)
  4. Ni Neng Ren (你能忍=you can tolerate)
  5. Na Ni Rang (那你让=suggest you to yield)
  6. Ni Na Ren (你哪人=you, which, person)

Some suggestion may not make sense or be suitable as a brand, so the next step requires consultation with someone who has experience in branding. I'm not a branding expert, but common sense tells me that the above suggestions may not be suitable as brands. If necessary, I try to explore more branding options by splitting the acronym into two parts (for example "NN" and "R"), examine them individually, and then combine them to see if meaningful Chinese phrases are possible. Below were the results after 30 minutes of squeezing my creative juice.

  1. Na Na Rong (娜娜容=impression of a gracious lady with beautiful appearance. Can be used in beauty-related businesses.)
  2. Nian Nian Rong (年年融=finance available year after year. Can be used in lending services.)
  3. Nuan Nuan Ren (暖暖人=keep people warm. All gadgets to keep you warm!)

This is a creative process, so additional suggestions are possible if you are willing to invest in the time. Finally, when you consider that a brand and its matching domain often go together, both should be decided at the same time. Because of this reason, the potential of a domain will be maximized if domain investors can work with branding agencies. The former can provide a list of possible Chinese phrases and the latter can assess their brandabiliy.

Join me on LinkedIn for further discussion.