Brand Activator/ Branding & Communications

Name Game: The Importance Of Strategy And Process


by Marianne Moore
Chief Strategy Officer
Stein IAS (Americas)

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Naming is one of the top challenges in B2B marketing today. While there are no universal truths, there are strategies and processes that should be applied in order to optimize the names and naming systems that are among the key brand assets for every company.

Names have the power to differentiate, establish emotional connection, and ignite the imagination and interest of customers. Conversely, they have the power to obfuscate and alienate.

Per the above, I am always struck by the fact that while major B2B companies have product strategies, pricing strategies, messaging strategies, and go-to-market strategies, they often lack the discipline to establish viable naming strategies. Even companies that establish a strategic framework are sometimes hindered by their lack of creative vision or ability to see outside of their self-styled box in order to create memorable, iconic names.

Being a Diva of Process, I believe this is where naming excellence starts. I’m not talking about a “sit-in-a-room-and-come-up-with-ideas” process, or an “invite-all-the-employees-to-submit-name-ideas” process. I’m suggesting a process that is rooted in the fundamental mission/vision of the company and the benefits that a customer derives from a product or service. Such a process has a far greater likelihood to lead not only to better names, but also to an efficient framework for naming moving forward.There are four core steps in the science part of this process:

  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.

Once the due diligence and strategic framework have been established, you have a solid road map for creative development.

In future posts, I’ll explore each of these four points in greater depth.

About Marianne Moore

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