Brand Activator/ Branding & Communications

Name Game, Step Two: Customer Insight


by Marianne Moore
Chief Strategy Officer
Stein IAS (Americas)

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In my first “Name Game” post, I outlined the following four core processes for developing optimum names:

  1. Establish a strategic framework as defined by both the company’s purpose and the company/product benefit(s).
  2. Develop a clear understanding of the target audience’s sensibilities–the key to “connecting” with a name.
  3. Undertake a competitive audit. What is the competition doing or not doing?
  4. If working within an existing portfolio, conduct brand equity research to understand what value, if any, existing names have.

I also wrote about all of the elements that define excellent naming strategy. Today I’ll focus on the next step: understanding the “voice of the customer”–their key “careabouts” and sensibilities.

With your rock-solid strategic foundation established, the challenge now is to figure out how you bring that to life for your customer. Answering this challenge requires you to uncover customer insights that will drive and inspire name development.

A proven best practice for uncovering these insights begins with developing tight, but comprehensive, customer profiles.

Your customer profiles must, of course, include the important minimums: title, role, age range, key pain points, key motivators. But for real impact, you need to go beyond those fundamentals to include as much insight as possible into your customers’ mindset. For example:

  • How does your customer define success?
  • What are their personal and professional goals, and what do they need to achieve them?
  • What are they most proud of in their professional lives?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What are the key discussion points they are having now with business associates?
  • How have their businesses changed in the past two or three years?
  • How have their roles changed?
  • What would they like to see change in the next three years?

Answers to these questions often can come from in-depth interviews with company salespeople. They interact with your customer on a daily basis, so your best salespeople typically are a rich source of these insights. Or answers can come from qualitative research, where you flat-out ask your target these specific questions. I prefer a combination of both, which gives you the opportunity to uncover any disconnects between your customers’ view and your internal view.

The answers all role up into a “mind map” of your target customer. That mapping provides the playing field for creating a name that provokes your target to take notice and engage with your brand.

Getting these insights is what makes the difference between a good name and a great name.

Look for steps three and four in my next blog posts.

Happy naming!

About Marianne Moore

The authors of the Brand Activator blog are from Stein IAS (Americas), New York, BtoB Magazine 2013 Agency of the Year.