Published on March 6, 2014
7 steps to developing a great brand, service or product name
1. Begin with thorough analysis What other language will surround your name? • Other products / services • Slogans • Business units Who are your customers? What media will it be used in and what are the implications of this for your name/logo (TV, Advertising, Online, Social Media, Print) How will you want to use the name? What names are your competitors using? What are your propositions core strengths in terms of what it will achieve for your customers? What are their needs, feelings and emotions when using your service? What do they like? What are they driven by? How do you want your customers to feel about your service / product? How will/does your proposition differ from your competition?
2. Think about how your name will reflect your brand Is yours a value driven brand or a price driven brand? What is your vision for your brand and how might this impact on the name you choose? (Will you want to expand or diversify for example?) How would you describe your brand if it were a person? What is the purpose of your brand and how is it relevant to your customers? How would you like your brand to be positioned in the minds of your customers?
3. Brainstorm names Once you’ve done your thorough analysis it’s time to brainstorm to generate a list of names. Use the following table that outlines the varying types of name to generate a list of names for consideration. In doing this you might find a dictionary useful!
3. Brainstorm names Proper Dictionary Created Person (Dave) Descriptive: Purely descriptive of what the company, product or service does. Useful when a company strategy is to direct the bulk of brand equity (attention) to the company name. (Pension plan) Compound: Combining words (Firefox, Facebook) Place (Zurich) Imagistic / experiential: A direct connection to something real, a part of direct human experience. Usually literal in nature but presented with a touch of imagination. (Explorer, Navigator, United) Acronyms: (Quantas) Re-purposed: (Adobe, Amazon, Fox, Yelp, Sapphire, Virgin) Alphanumeric: (Phones4U) Imported: Making use of other dialects (Latin for Voice is Vox) Abstract / Evocative: generaly short names that are either completely made up or since their origins are so obscure they may as well have been made up. Usually evoke the positioning of a company, product or service rather than describing a function or direct experience (Yahoo, Bebo, Plaxo, Google) Mis-spelled: (Digg instead of Dig, Flickr instead of Flicker) Blends: Have two parts, at least one of which an be recognised as a real word (Netscape = Net +Landscape, Wikipedia = Wiki + encyclopedia) Phrases: These names follow normal rules for combining words but are not compounds (Myspace, Stumbleupon, Improveon) Tweaked words: are derived from words that have been slightly changed in pronunciation and spelling, commonly derived from adding or replacing a letter (ebay, itunes) Affixed words: Unique names that result from taking a real word and adding a prefix or suffix (Friendster, omnidrive) Puns: modify words/phrases to suggest a different meaning (Farecast = Forecast with fore replaced by fare)
4. Shortlist your names Now that you have a list of names use the following tools to help you sift and evaluate a shortlist of 3-5 for final consideration.
4. Test levels of engagement How much engagement will your name create? Will it be helpful in creating stories about your business? Is it easily translatable and meaningful? Does it work across geographical territories if this is required? Does the name distinguish the products/service benefits and qualities? Does it anticipate how the product or service might change in the future? Is it distinctive and does it create a strong image in your mind? Is the name easy to pronounce, recognise and remember?
4. Test levels of engagement Answer the questions on the previous slide and use the following table to plot your names in terms of their levels of engagement. You might also like to use this table to plot some of your competitors names so you can see where your names fits against theirs in terms of levels of engagement. Score 5 as high engagement and 0 as no engagement.
4. Test levels of engagement Proper names 5 4 3 2 1 0 Dictionary names Created names
5. Evaluate your chosen names Use the tool on the following slide to evaluate your names. Score each name from 0 – 5 across each of the categories and then total up the scores to arrive at a final ranking At this stage you may also like to have some of your shortlisted names ‘mocked’ up by a designer to get a feel for how they might look in a logo and working across different media.
5. Evaluate your chosen names Name 1 Appearance – How will the name look as a visual signifier, in a logo, an ad, on a billboard? Distinctive – How differentiated is the name from my competition? Depth – How much meaning and association is there with the name? Energy – How vital and full of life is the name? Humanity – A measure of the name’s warmth and ability to build relationships. Positioning – How relevant is the name to the positioning of your company, product or service? Sound – How the name sounds and how easily it will be spoken by your customers? Buzz – Has your name got that certain something that makes people lean forward and want to learn more about your business? Trade mark – How likely is it that your name will be available for trade mark should you require it? Name 2 Name 3 Name 4
6. Make your final selection Now that you’ve tested and evaluated your names you’re ready to make your final selection. In order to do this you’ll need to check that your name is available across the areas on the next slide. If it isn’t available across all the areas you require, you might need to consider one of the other names that made your shortlist.
6. Make your final selection Company registration – If you are setting up as a limited company you can check the availability of your name using Companies House webcheck service Trade mark – You can check for availability of your name as a trade mark on the Intellectual Property Office Trade mark enquiry database in the UK. Domain names – A website is likely to be a very important part of your business and you can check for domain name availability on various different sites online. domaincheck.co.uk is one of those sites Social media sites – These could also play an important role in how you market your business. You may also want to secure the sites to prevent others from damaging your business reputation or setting up in competition. You can check availability across multiple sites using NameChk
7. Consider Trade marking your name If your company, product or service has some of the following characteristics you may also find it necessary to protect it through registering it as a trade mark: • • • • unique, with high intellectual property, Likely to be widely promoted with large budgets to support it In danger of being copied Likely to be licensed If this is the case then the name you choose should probably be towards the suggestive, arbitrary, fanciful, inherently distinctive end of the spectrum in the table on the following slide. If this is not the case then you may also consider names that sit towards the descriptive and generic end of the spectrum.
7. Consider Trade marking your name Fanciful / inherently distinctive Arbitrary Suggestive Descriptive Generic ‘Prima facae’ – Self evident that it is registrable Arbitrary marks are immediately eligible for registration Presumed to be entitled to trade mark protection Not registrable unless it can be shown that distinctive character has been acquired through extensive use Not capable of distinguishing the company product or services Kodak Apple Blu-Ray Salty crackers Hoover / Xerox / Aspirin
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