Brand naming is a very important aspect of brand creation or rebranding. They help consumers form attachments and associations and an apt name, a mnemonic moniker or a tribute tag, can all increase the possibility of gaining new customers.The names on their own of course do not do all the work. The background work on purpose and positioning are of extreme importance but the name can be a powerful catalyst. At the very least, it shouldn’t confound or create consternation so it’s worth thinking about!
Like everything to do with brand development, naming should be part of a larger picture and larger strategy. Here at Iconify, we are strategic brand naming specialists and ensure our brand naming processes is one that takes account of the and not just of the owner’s view of the customers but also that of the prospective or existing customers. Does it lend authenticity and cohesiveness to the core ideas and presentation of your brand?
There are some critical steps to the brand naming process, gone into in detail below but it starts of course with the ideation process. Creative and collaborative. It’s often thought to be a simple process and it is useful to have a view of the key points of the process.
The Iconify team will get to know your naming team and understand where on the brand development spectrum the business as a whole. We’ll want to understand who will be involved in the decision making and ensure there is representation from those who are customer facing. We’ll be asking why the business exists is and drill into your objectives, who your customers are, what you and your employees consider the primary concerns your business is facing so that you can start to assess what your brand stands for and any existing issues that may need to be addressed as part of the naming or larger strategic brand issue.
- What’s in a name? This depends on your lens. If you’re in this business for keeps, then it’s everything. It must be memorable, inspire emotion, perhaps a complex combination, in you as well as in your customers. It must convey something of your purpose and it should appeal to the people you plan to be in business with. Let’s help you do that.
- Articulate and agree upfront what the name should help achieve and what aspects of the brand image and ideas it needs to reinforce. Clarity on whether you may be interested in a wholly made up name, something derived from a recognisable concept or a metaphor or nouns, perhaps. Some people have no ideas, some have several but setting your goals will help us get to the right place sooner.
- How to get to the name? We run workshops with leaders and nominated stakeholders in your organisation and evaluate available business and brand data to collaboratively develop ideas around which emotions, benefits and features can be developed.It’s not linear, it cannot always be structured and there will be several iterations, but like many creative processes that are strategically driven, it requires a building up concepts, paring back to the strongest naming ideas and really working with both heart and head. It’s fun but it’s challenging.With the right people in the room, it’s good to agree and discuss which words people feel describes your entire brand or parts of it, and explore psychographic prompts.
Back to the Beginning
If not already done, there should be a process of securing the brand image and values through the purpose, principles, proposition, position, and promise of the brand and the fundamental brand strategy around this. Brand naming relies heavily on being able to keep or discard naming ideas based on their resonance to previously articulated brand strategy and brand personality. This phase is critical as the outputs from it power the brand naming process and make it easier to streamline and get the most value out of, particularly in terms of defining the customer.
Trout and Ries have outlined excellent and enduring rules around naming and once there is clarity on the strongest ideas and momentum on them, it’s time to start applying those rules.
Define the target audience using personas
These should already have been clarified in previous brand strategy phases and if nor, it should be done as soon as possible. When a candidate list of names is created, we will need to test them on your target consumers.
Brand naming tools and aids
There are automated name generator tools available. They have interesting results but they cannot intuit what lies at the soul of business like yours, the way a creative consulting team like Iconify can. They uses algorithms that will not ask the questions nor capture the responses from your brand naming team that are intrinsic to coming up with a fantastic brand name, so we do not refer to those tools in this section and we do not use them. The tools we use are strategic tools that allow the polishing and perfecting the list of candidate ideas of brand names that have been collected to aid the analyses of you and your competitors’ brands in the context of naming.
Name Testing and Due Diligence in the Brand Name Selection Process
- Once we have refined the list of names and have a short list, it is time to test them on personas developed and chosen and consider the locations within your brand, using this name will operate and compete.
- Trademarks – should you trademark, can you trademark and will you ace infringements with the name you choose? We will help to make these necessary checks to ensure the name we choose is secure.
Choosing a brand name
When all is said and done, this is the goal of the process. To choose a name that will help you change the game.
Sometimes, one name is the clear winner, when rendered in print, in writing, different colours and contexts, the way it sounds, whether it can be mispronounced, the meaning etc. At other times, there are contenders and we go through the process with you to get to a point of clarity and consensus on the name to set all your store by, literally. Where possible, dependent on the goals set at the outset, ascribe recognisable meaning or references.