In my first “Name Game” post, I outlined the following four core processes for developing optimum names:
- Establish a strategic framework as defined by both the company’s purpose and the company/product benefit(s).
- Develop a clear understanding of the target audience’s sensibilities–the key to “connecting” with a name.
- Undertake a competitive audit. What is the competition doing or not doing?
- If working within an existing portfolio, conduct brand equity research to understand what value, if any, existing names have.
Today I’ll focus on step 1: the strategic framework.
The question that everyone asks as they stare at that blank Word file, trying to come up with a name that captures the excitement and uniqueness of their master brand or of a specific new product/service, is how do I start? Where do I go for inspiration?
Too often, companies jump ahead to the finished house (name alternatives) without first establishing a rock-solid strategic foundation. But the strategic foundation is an important requisite: It becomes the road map for developing the name, the “true north” that guides the process.
Whether developing a company master brand or a product/service brand, start first with defining the company’s purpose in terms of the objective for the new name. Some common examples are:
- Competitive differentiation
- Existing positioning reinforcement
- Positioning pivot
- Customer engagement
- Category definition or redefinition
- Company merger or acquisition
- All of the above
Once a clear objective is determined, it’s essential to determine the best means for communicating the company/product benefit or positioning for the name; in other words, what is the core essence the name should reflect? This essence is the true guidepost from which a name is developed. Without this guidepost, naming is just a guessing game.
I’ll dive into the remaining steps in future posts.