Naming Tips: Number 13 in a series

This time I want to address some brand naming preliminaries.

I believe naming is a discipline that can be learned and practiced, and just like dance or jazz improvisation, a thorough grounding in the basics is vital before you can successfully take wing.

So here are two tips for preparing to tackle the task of naming your brand.

First, be clear about what you’re naming.

Quite often an entrepreneur will consider the company and the product as one in the same. This is probably a bad idea, particularly if there’ll be additional products or services later on.

Establish an “architecture” for your current and future name hierarchy. Consider how you’ll differentiate product extensions from the “mother” product. Determine how you’ll treat models of the same brand. Think about the relationship between the corporate name and the product name(s). Consider, too, any relationships between product lines, products and services, and the to-be-named offering with other brand associations already established within the organization.

The hierarchy can take the form of a genetic tree, or a mind map perhaps. It is a tool that can also be used in the strategic planning process.

Create a naming brief.

A naming brief will undoubtedly contain much of the same information as the brand platform. But it is usually condensed and made specific to the naming process. This is especially important if “outsiders” are hired to contribute name candidates because the naming brief does not need to contain confidential information, whereas the brand platform will.

The naming brief should contain specific and focused information concerning:

* Background about mission, strategy of introduction, brand hierarchy, markets served, product category characteristics, identification of competitors and their positioning and branding strategies, buying influences and practices.
* Product/Company attributes such as aspired position within a product category, differentiators, feature-advantage-benefit table, brand personality descriptors.
* Other pertinent information that might contribute to insight concerning the brand.

Use these tools in the beginning and your list of name candidates will be long but much more focused. From relevant comes relevancy.

Martin Jelsema

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