What’s in a name?

A lot comes into play when choosing a name or tagline for your organization, product or service. Given its impact on your brand identity, there’s a lot at stake, so it’s a necessary task that’s worth doing right.  Read on for some helpful hints on keeping the naming process a happy (and efficient) one.

The beginning — a very good place to start

A name sets the scene for the entire brand by helping to tell its story. For our projects, our creative brief development sets out to identify your core messaging and brand promise for use in guiding the naming process.

Settle on an approach

Approach naming however you will. We have our process (and we give it two thumbs up), but what’s really important is process establishment and communication. With an up-front and transparent approach to naming, it’ll help reach a group consensus faster. Plus, if everyone knows the method behind the madness, no one will worry a name was haphazardly chosen — you can show the steps it took to get to something with legitimate meaning.

Brilliant brainstorming

How do we get to a name with real meaning? Research a lot (we’re talking A LOT) of options. Brainstorming works best with a no-holds-barred approach. Participants should (and should be encouraged to) toss out anything during this process — the more ridiculous the better. All silly, crazy, even boring options need to be thrown into the pot. To land on the right one will take developing a list that’s broad and deep. You never know where innovation will strike.

Look at all angles

Once you have whittled the ideas down to a list of strong contenders, take them out and test drive them. Think about your target audience and how they’ll feel about the name but also consider your employees, potential investors or any tangential audiences. If it’s relevant for your brand, consider how people from different parts of the country, or world, might perceive it. For example, if your town sees visitors from a certain country, awareness of cultural interpretations could go a long way. Say it out loud to hear how it resonates. If there’s time and budget, put the some contenders out in public through a survey and collect feedback.

When lightening doesn’t strike

Though finding “the one” sounds great, in reality it’s a tall order, especially if there are multiple stakeholders looking to fall in love. Even a great name may take some time to sound right. Imagine what people thought of “Google” the first time they heard it. Give it some time to simmer, and don’t think of how it sounds just today but how it’ll sound five years down the road. Words are a tricky (complex, knotty, thorny, touchy) business.

Eye on the prize

Choosing a name is so important that a lot of people will have an opinion on it. Respect this but don’t be sidelined by it. What’s the overall goal here? Choosing a name that’s an accurate, true reflection of your brand that will be memorable to others. That’s really the No. 1 goal — you want people to notice it and then remember it. Look at some of these examples of renames and how they upped the catchiness factor.

Also consider who it’s really for. Although employees are an important part of a brand’s audience, they’re an easier group to get buy-in from since they’re already invested in the organization. Who you’re really working to wow is your outside audience. Give them a name they’ll want to grab and hold on to.

Happy naming!

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