Naming Tips: Number 23 in a series

We’ve talked about brainstorming for brand names, but I’d like to suggest two different types and purposes for the naming process.

I won’t go into the brainstorming process itself. There are plenty of source documents on the web that explain that. But there are several ideas of particular importance to name braninstorming.

First, select creative people, yes. But you also want people with diverse backgrounds and interests. You want a mixture of male/female, even though the offering to be named might be purchased and used by only a single-gender. You want old and young, analytical and spontaneous, extrovert and introvert.

Once chosen, and they agree to participate, arm them with background documents. If you’ve created a brand platform and a naming brief, supply those. Just edit the sensitive info out of their copies if they aren’t covered by a non-disclosure or employment agreement.

You should also provide:

  • The specifications and benefits of the product/service/event. If a company is being named, then certainly the mission and vision statements, the strategic goals and a description of the business model should be provided.
  • Descriptions and images of competitors and/or competitive products, together with their features and benefits. Then, develop a table that compares the features and benefits and business practices of the major competitors and the newly named offering.
  • The marketing plan for the new offering.
  • A comprehensive list of keywords gleaned from an Internet keyword generator such as Overture, Google, WordTracker, WebMaster Toolkit or Keyword Elite. Normally used to provide searchable keywords for search engine optimization by Internet marketers, these lists provide alternative ways of stating the searches people make to find specific topics with search engines. These lists can help people get the creative juices started.
  • A list of questions that will generate concepts concerning the offering. For instance: If the product were an animal, what might it be? How would it be more powerful if it were twice its present size? If it had wheels, who would be the number one market for it? These questions are designed to evoke lateral thinking and discover unusual but relevant ideas associated with the offering.

Provide this information about a week before you plan to have your first brainstorming session.

In this session, you will not ask them to come up with names. Instead this session is to concentrate on ideas concerning the concept, personality and emotions associated with the offering. These ideas will come in response to the conceptual questions you provided earlier, as well as the “facts” from the plan and brief.

Here’s a list of the kind of concepts that might spring out of this initial session:

+  If our event was a type of music, I’d call it Dixieland
+  The product will be used by men but usually purchased by women
+  It reminds me of an old Humphrey Bogart detective movie
+  Only teenagers will understand how to use this technology
+  Competition isn’t paying attention like they should
+  This service would probably be performed by a lion tamer

The ideas generated through this process are recorded and distributed to the team. Once the team members have digested this report, they will be invited to another session. This time participants will be asked to brainstorm name candidates.

From sessions like these a great name may arise. Or more often a great many candidates may be generated that, in turn, will be expanded upon, They may be disassembled and reconstituted with substitutions, tacking/clipping, reversals, and many of the other techniques suggested in this series.

Remember, the more candidates get generated, the more options and directions you cam explore.



3 thoughts on “Naming Tips: Number 23 in a series

  1. Martin,

    Nice posts and good suggestions. Honestly, I am not a fan of brainstorming, which in the corporate world often means putting lots of people into a room, each with an agenda based on their own egos and experiences. I prefer assigning a small team to solve a problem and then letting others review the resulting plan to share their comments. The team then chooses which, if any, suggestions they will apply to their plan.

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