TRonMarketing

August 13, 2008

6 essential naming tips


BRANDS AND NAMING

Naming is an art that all of us have tried to figure out. It’s a brand strategist’s nightmare. When it comes to choosing a name  we all want to know what works best – should the name be literal, evocative, new, or a historical allusion?

As I said naming is art, craft and magic. To find that perfect name learn from the past and use these 6 classical essential naming styles that will help you find that perfect name. (They all have a cost so beware!!)

Enjoy them and you’ll be on your way to winning the naming game.

Good Luck..

THE CLASSICAL 6 NAMING METHODS

  • DESCRIPTIVE
    Descriptive names describe a brand’s offering. Salesforce.com is a good one. Its straightforward and self descriptive. My tip is use a descriptive name when developing a suite of offerings under one larger brand or company name.
  • SUGGESTIVE
    Suggestive names imply a market position (or positioning attribute) Yakking away on your cell phone and online is absolutely evocative of twittering. Twitter gets my vote. The benefit of “suggestive naming” is that it allows one to be more evocative or emotional opportunities.
  • METAPHORICAL
    Now this is an odd one- hopefully you don’t choose something to obscure. When you use a metaphorical name what is happening is the brand is being directly compared to seemingly unrelated subjects. Jaguar wins my vote. When using metaphorical names, it’s a great way to imbue a car brand in this case Jaguar, for example, with the attributes of a jaguar that is full of grace and sophistication.
  • NEOLOGICAL
    Kodak gets my vote. It’s a new word and .why not create a new word? (PS just have a big budget to explain what its attributes are) Ps: One way to make this a success is to add morphemes—the smallest unit of language that carries meaning into the name.
  • HISTORICAL
    Historical names work best when the brand has a heritage allusion or reference. If your brand has equity in its heritage, use it but do it carefully. Historical characters have skeletons in the closet. Consider the name of the founder, or the first product ever launched. This method often has great “legs” and allows for meaning to be unpacked for years. Voyageur gets my vote- I can see the canoes with strong reliable finding a safe passage.
  • ARBITRARY
    Apple is an example of and arbitrary  brand  with developed distinct characteristics. Arbitrary brands take time and cost a lot of money and these names have almost nothing to do with the brand’s position in the market, nevertheless, people will make meaning of it by connecting your name with what the brand does . Arbitrary names are among the most legally defensible.

Good luck with your naming.. email if you have trouble. TR

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1 Comment »

  1. I wanted to say that I found this post an interesting way to categorize different ways to name brands. One area that I feel was neglected – or maybe that you could clarify – is personal names that end up being brands. Ford, Kraft, HP – what exactly do those mean for companies considering to be named after people? Sometimes, like in the case of Law Firms, it is seen as more tradition than a branding exerciser – but I wonder what you advise people who want to use their names as company names?

    Comment by schulichmarketingassociation — September 2, 2008 @ 11:05 pm


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