5 Things We've Learned About Naming
In addition to the work we do that you'd expect from a brand consultancy, such as websites, sales materials, presentation design and logos, another service that 76West also performs is Naming Exercises. We've helped develop many names for brands, companies, products and services. Over the years, we've learned a few things about this important step in brand development. Here are 5 things we feel are crucial to making the process successful.
1. Responsibility No matter how well-planned and thought-out your team is, there has to be someone at the customer level who is responsible for all internal communications and approvals. Ideally, one person or a small group of 3 people, max. Without this person in place, the process dies. This individual within your client's team will be the Brand Advocate for the new launch.
2. Transparency Transparency is really important in order to communicate plans, launch schedules and buy-in across the organization. You're not going to make everyone happy, so forget about that notion. However, there will be people at your client's organization who are excited and who can help spread enthusiasm by being "Brand Cheerleaders." The more you can share by way of leading the team and your client through the process, the better. You can also help the client by providing talking points and setting the overall direction to where you're going.
Important note: When your team is preparing to announce the name, forward and positive momentum is important for success. Typically, new naming updates are shared as informational, not for large group approval. As such, open questions like "What do you think of our new name/logo?" is detrimental. Instead, direct the conversation by saying "Our new name/logo is [new name here] and we'll be using it starting on [specific date here]." Identify internal, external and "VIP" audiences who need to be in the loop. This helps to support the name change or introduction.
3. Staging For a successful roll-out, it's important to stage things out over time. There should be a concrete date when the new name takes effect, but it may be months before that new sign goes on the building. Setting expectations here is key. Everything can't be done at once, so don't try. Setting expectations with a phased launch schedule supports transparency and builds-in the ability to be flexible.
4. Celebrate! Create ways to celebrate the new brand. A good start is a company event where everyone gets a t-shirt, pen or a custom notebook with the new name on it. A public event — depending on company size — where officials, press and partners are invited help to generate broader awareness and word-of-mouth. The new name likely coincides with a rebrand, or product launch or other larger effort. Plan on adding new content to your website, advertising, and of course, traditional press releases are important to plan.
5. Guts Naming takes guts. The process must be rooted in confidence and direction. Committees don't have confidence. Company-wide consensus is not confident. There must be someone with approval authority driving the process who — when all the research, process and options are presented — says this is our name.
We've learned these five things through creating dozens of names for our clients over the years. Let us put our expertise to work to develop a new name for your company, product or service.
Download a PDF of our process overview. This one page document outlines our 10-step naming process wiht suggested roles, responsibilities and actions for succcessful name development.