Naming Tips – Number 32 in a Series

Continuing with evaluation techniques, here are the general criteria I use to judge names:

  • Is it meaningful?
    Is it unique?
    Is it relevant?
    Does it suggest a benefit?
    Is it memorable?
    Is it appropriate?
    Does it elicit a positive emotion?
    Is it easily pronounceable?
    Is it descriptive?
    Is it in good taste?
    Is it short enough?
    Will it “have legs” over time?
    Does it appeal to all stakeholders?

Now I may assign different weights to different criteria depending upon the entity being named, the product category in which it resides and the perceived desires of target market participants. The scale is usually a 1 to 5 semantic differential scale with five being “absolutely essential” and one as “not at all important”.

Once the weights are applied for each criterion, I rate each name candidate against each. Again, I use a semantic differential scale, five being “absolutely meets this criterion” and one being “absolutely does not meet this criterion”. I multiple each candidate’s score for a particular criterion by the weight I’ve assigned to it. Then I add up the resulting individual scores for each candidate.

Now this is a “scientific” approach to evaluation. For me it’s just a guideline.

There are times I’ll recommend a name that isn’t one of the five highest scoring simply because I’ve created one or two “out-of-the-box” candidates that defy scoring but just “seem right”.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a way to winnow down a list of quality candidates, this approach can be helpful.

Martin Jelsema

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