Naming Tips – Number 42 in a Series

If you’ve given up finding a name for your offering and plan to use the services of a naming consultant, copywriter or ad agency, here are a couple of thoughts.

First share with him/her/them all the pertinent info about the offering, including background, competition, market targets, your brand architecture, your corporate vision/mission/goals, any market research you’ve performed, and lastly, any prejudices you and other top execs might have concerning a name.

What I’m saying, as I’ve said time and again in this set of tips, is develop and share a naming brief.

Quite often the person or organization you’re contracting with will have their own format for a brief. (If not I’d be suspicious from the start- probably wouldn’t hire them.) If they do, be sure to use it, but also provide additional data from your own planning documents that is relevant.

This brings up the second point. Whoever you use should sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). This is, of course, a legal document. There are templates available over the Internet, but I’d sure have an intellectual properties attorney review it before using it.

The NDA allows you to share proprietary info that could very well be important in the naming process.

The third item: Be sure you also have a letter of agreement that the name you decide upon will become your property. Unless you have a signed document turning ownership over to you, the writer/contractor will retain the legal right of ownership. Some contactors will want an extra fee for relinquishing title. Be sure to make arrangements within your contract for this turn-over prior to signing that document.

Lastly, be sure to have a contract you both agree to before beginning work. It should describe a scope of work, method of doing business, description of deliverables, a schedule, pricing, an arbitration agreement as well as the ownership clause. I’d also want to spell out the method of performing and pricing second and third name generating iterations if they are required.

Since I’m usually on the vendor’s side of the contract negotiations, I’ve see and written plenty of contracts. They needn’t be over a couple of pages in length, but they should be created, signed and adhered to for both parties protection and understanding.

Martin Jeslema

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