Naming Tips – Number 41 in a Series

The name needn’t be your sole means of identification.

No, it should – nay, must – work with the other elements of the brand. Not only that, the name does not have to carry the brand on its shoulders. Although the most important, it is but one element. Other elements can take some of the burden.

So when naming your business, your product or service, remember these two points:

1) The name can have help in defining the offering.
2) The name must “fit” with the other elements (and visa versa).

That takes a load off of your shoulders when in the process of naming your “thing”. But it also means you must think ahead to other elements, or work on them as you’re developing name candidates.

I want to expand a bit about the name not needing to carry the entire burden of identification and conveying benefit, context and mood.

Quite often the name can (and probably should while the product is new) be accompanied by a category to put it in context. For instance, Lotus or Avery can presently stand alone as product names that convey the category they operate in. But in the beginning they modified the names. It was Lotus software. It was Avery labels. So let the classification help with identity.

The appropriate use of positioning statements, aka taglines or slogans, can also carry some of the load. These short, pithy (we hope) phases can identify a market segment, a product difference or benefit, a problem-solution.

Before you begin the naming process, I’ll again emphasize the importance of a naming brief to give everyone involved a foundation from which to ideate. This addresses the second point above. As you’re writing the brief, keep in mind that a category or a tagline can help the identification of the offering. Include that info in the brief, and then use the brief for direction and for candidate evaluation based on the knowledge that the name leads but does not need to carry the entire load..

Martin Jelsema

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