BRANDING   |   POSTED ON 08.10.2012

The fine art of naming your brand

Strategic naming is a fine art. It’s not an easy task to get to the core of your brand in a few syllables. Below are some of the processes that may be helpful.

1. Evaluate the competition

The first step in beginning a naming project, or creative one for that matter, is knowing the competition. Note what names are used for competing companies or products and be sure to stay well clear of these names in order to drive your point of difference.

2. Establish a project vocabulary

Essentially this is a list of words that describe what the name should communicate to the viewer. These words may not actually end up being the name or part of the name, but this list will help when brainstorming ideas.

4. Try translating words to other languages

You can start by looking at how some of the words translate to different languages.

5. Explore suffixes/prefixes

You can create a set of cards with prefixes and suffixes in order to pair them together as needed. It definitely helps to see the word, not just hear it.

6. Try some conceptual options

This step involves thinking about more abstract concepts that could be related to the company or product being named. This could include stories or fables about the company or product.

7. Filter your ideas

The final step involves filtering all of the ideas for names. Often a few stand out, but evaluate each one individually and assess whether you keep each one. Usually this takes a couple of times to get down to a handful of names. Also evaluate possible URLs for the names. Always think about what unique URLs are available throughout the process.

8. Rate the final names

Lastly you can rate the names that have made your shortlist as a group, thinking about the below attributes for each.

The attributes may include:

Appearance – rate how the word looks visually
Distinctive – is the name memorable or unique in the marketplace?
Depth – evaluate the meaning of the word as it relates to the company/product
Energy – what kind of energy does the name have when seen or heard?
Humanity – does the name have a human warmth to it?
Positioning – how does the name stack up against competitors?
Sound – evaluate the name when pronounced: is it easy to say/spell?
X Factor – rate the intangibles: cool sounding, double-meaning, etc.
Trademark – is the name protectable?
URL – can a unique URL be found for the name?
Tagline-ability – will the name “play nice” with a tagline?

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