Naming Tips: Number 8 in a Series

This week’s naming tip requires patience and dedication.

Just learn all you can about the creative process and problem solving.

Yes, think of naming as a problem solving activity. With that in mind, learn and try the various systems and methods that have been used and endorsed by copywriters and other “creatives”. Three come to mind as rich resources for developing “creative thinking” that can be applied to naming companies and brands.

Two were developed by the Englishmen, Edward de Bono and Tony Buzan.

The other originator, Alex Osborn, was a founder of BBDO, the ad agency at which I cut my teeth beginning in 1959. Osborn, as well as the legendary John Caples were still semi-active at the New York offices of BBDO then, and I had the opportunity to sit silently as they conducted in-house workshops for us “newbies”. That brings back many memories, including an early love. But I digress.

Alex Osborn is the originator, or at least the “formalizer” of brainstorming.

His approach was to get a dozen people from various agency departments, including those in “non-creative” assignments like receptionists, media buyers and traffic coordinators, together after they had a chance to digest a “creative brief”. He had a bell which he’d ring if there was any negative comment (including grimaces or titters) to any idea. All ideas were put on the black boards (it was before white boards were invented), and we were encouraged to “hitchhike” on previously presented ideas. This is essentially the same formula used today for most brainstorming sessions. And it still works in providing a quantity of ideas with a broad spectrum of perspectives represented.

Osborn wrote several books on creativity. The two I find to be required reading are Your Creative Power and Applied Imagination, both written over fifty years ago but both as fresh today as when they were conceived.

Edward de Bono is primarily known as the author of Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step  and Six Thinking Hats. The concept of lateral thinking is the basis for his giant output of material – books, seminars, workshops and presentations. It begins with “don’t take anything for granted”, or “suspend your preconceived notions and assumptions”. Then apply various techniques like answering what many would think to be irrelevant questions: what if it were the size of an elephant?, what if there were no wheels?, what famous historical figure might be an ideal spokesperson?

There’s a lot more to de Bono and his ideas. And, yes, it might take some time to absorb and put to use his techniques. But the effort is worth your while if creativity is part of your life.

Next, Tony Buzan, the originator, or again perhaps the first advocate of, mind mapping. Originally developed to help students “outline” lectures in a graphic way, it’s been found to be a powerful method of generating ideas. A mind map is pictured below. It was copied from his book, The Mind Map Book.

A mind map

Note that everything emanates from the central point in nodes that can be expanded as the process continues. In naming, each node could be a particular type of name (geographic, coined words, idioms, etc.) or perhaps attributes of a product. You might concentrate on name candidates based on beauty, durability, leading edge, etc.

So, here are three approaches to creative problem-solving. All three are very useful in the naming process. But I know I’ve found them useful in any problem-solving situations.

3 thoughts on “Naming Tips: Number 8 in a Series

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.