In Tip # 45 I demonstrated how I get my branding clients to participate in the naming process by having them provide keywords that best describe the attributes and the personality they desire for their company/product/service to possess.
Now that I have eight to ten words that convey the “essence” of an offering, I sit down with a comprehensive thesaurus and a large piece of paper. I make myself a “mind map”. I start with the offering to be named in the center. I usually start with the offerings category. That is a word or phrase describing what am I naming. I circle it.
Then I draw lines from the center out, midway to the edge of the sheet. If I have eight keywords, I draw eight lines. At the end of each line I put a keyword and circle it.
Now around each keyword I write synonyms I’ve found in the thesaurus. I probably won’t use all the references, but I’ll usually find 10-12 that “fit” the offering. Often I’ll find a synonym that can be expanded into a search by itself. When I do, I draw branches from it and add the new words.
Once I finish this process I can begin to be “creative”. First, I use color highlighters to pop out those words that in and of themselves may be legitimate name candidates. I also look for words I can combine or associate together.
Also, I’ll start a new sheet where I’ll bring some likely candidates or words that look like they may be fruitful sources of associations. For instance, for a word like “romantic”, I may draw lines out to nodules such as “mythic”, “fictional”, “historic”, “symbols”, ‘flowers”, “people”, etc. Now I’ll probably recall from memory some appropriate associations.
I might supplement this with a great piece of software that’s proven very valuable in generating ideas as well as words. It’s called Thought Office. It’s more than just naming software, but that’s the major use I put it to. You can find an introduction to Thought Office by clicking the name. The function I use is labeled “Word Associations”. I type in a word and it generates words and phrases associated with the typed word. There’ll be synonyms but a whole lot more. For instance, by entering “romance”, I’ll get associations such as “aphrodisiac”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “”poetry” and “doves”. I’ll get some irrelevant stuff, too, but it’s worth it to discover the gems.
The point of all this: to generate lots and lots of words and ideas. We know that the more ideas generated, the more unique words and combinations we’ll discover. We’re right in the middle of the creative process.
Next Naming Tip will further that process.