Naming Tips – Number 29 in a Series

It seems every naming company or branding guru has set down their criteria for naming a product or naming a company.

I’m an advocate of establishing a set of criteria based upon the specifics of the naming project as defined within a Naming Brief document.

The brief contains the creative direction all involved in the naming process should have up front. The criteria (the last chapter of the brief) should be thoroughly studied along with product characteristics, competitive postures, stakeholder perceptions and other subjects included in the brief.

I think it is necessary prior to beginning the naming process, even though some will say I’m limiting the creative process by imposing criteria too soon.

My experience is that criteria and direction focuses people but doesn’t limit their ability to be creative. (I’ve blogged before that successful brainstorming is based on the participants being well-briefed prior to setting down for a session.)

So, over the next several blogs in this series I’ll discuss some sets of criteria other naming pros espouse. I suggest these as guidelines from which you can build your own set of criteria specifically for your next naming project.

I’m starting with the list published on the Strategic Name Development website. Specifically, this list is meant to evaluate how well a name sounds in an International context. Here are their words:

From phonemes to fricatives — what makes a great sounding name?

* easy to pronounce;
* short, preferably three or fewer syllables;
* well-balanced where vowels and consonants alternate evenly throughout;
* resonate and whether achieved through alliteration, haplology or poetics, when a great name sounds right, you just know it; and
* often imply speed and dominance; so when naming a business, keep in mind that some of the greatest brands (Barbie, Pepsi, Boeing, Procter & Gamble) begin with one of seven all-powerful consonants — B, C, D, G, K, P or T.

I certainly won’t quarrel with these criteria. The list certainly pinpoints several well-documented attributes of good naming practices. So I’d keep them in mind and used them as appropriate. But I’d also broaden my criteria. The sound is absolutely important but so are other criteria I’ll cover in subsequent blogs.

Martin Jelsema

4 thoughts on “Naming Tips – Number 29 in a Series

  1. i am interested on personal branding, which is the main goal are to make my name well-known by my expertises. should i follow this naming process to get the great sounding name, or i just keep my branding name as my original name? thanks

  2. catur pw: In answer to your comment, I’d say almost all the personal brands with clout – Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Jack Welsh, Rupert Murdoch, et al. -in the business world are associated with a big-time corporate brand. The only exception I can think of is Donald Trump since he’s named his properties after himself. Entertainers are in a class all by themselves. Besides, if you build only your own bpersonal brand, it has little asset value when you attempt to sell the business.

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