What’s in a name?
What’s in a name? Put simply… everything! A name shapes and defines as people associate by it, visualise by it, reflect and define by it. So when choosing a name, you are quite literally making or breaking its future success.
“A good name should evoke a personal response from your target audience encouraging a desired association to your brand…” – Chris Reeves, Senior Marketing Executive, Frooition
But, where to start?
For this example, we’ll assume you’re trying to name a new business, the same process can be used for a company rebrand, new product or new service.
Start by outlining words that reflect your future product i.e. fun, fresh, unique, strong, when deciding these words consider your target market, for example if it’s gender based does the word need to be manly?
Pull together a team of 3-5 people either in your business or close friends, give them an overview of what your product aims are and how it will benefit your target market, then list on a whiteboard what words your name needs to reflect.
It’s time to start generating!
Now that your naming team understand what your trying to achieve it’s time to start generating! Start listing every name that comes to mind regardless to how crazy it seems (what might seem strange now could inspire a new more powerful name later!). If you have the time, limit this first meeting to 15 minutes and reconvene tomorrow after a good night’s sleep, between now and then you will have many fresh new ideas!
Once you’ve generated a sizeable list take a break and then get ready to short list!
Time, to short list…
As a general rule, a good name would be:
- Language Compatible (there’s nothing worse than finding your chosen name has different meanings in different cultures – ‘pet’ means favourite animal in English yet cigarette stub in Polish!)
Create a table in excel or word and drop the list of names in the left column, followed by a scoring system of 1-3 in each of the above word columns i.e.
Hand these out to your team prior your next meeting and ask each to highlight every word they particularly like from the left name column.
Using a white board or large piece of paper we’re now going to create an inspirational spider map with a question mark at its centre. ‘Cloud’ the words your new name is trying to reflect in a colour (let’s say orange), now ‘square’ the words your new name has to be in a different colour (let’s say green), finally in a different colour (let’s say purple) write ‘Visual Association’ – ensure your inspiration spider map is viewable by all team members to help nurture thoughts.
Sit down together as a team and run through your table of highlighted names discussing each in turn as to how it fits with the inspirational mind map, your aim is to short list as much as possible down to 10 or less (the fewer the better).
Once you’re down to your final few names, score each name 1-3 (1 Poor, 2 OK and 3 Excellent) according to how ‘Positive’, ‘Relevant’, ‘Memorable’, ‘Short’, ‘Unique’ the names are, once complete total up the scores for each name, the words with the most points are your team’s preferred name’s and by now you should have a feel as to which is the ideal name for your new product.
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