Process: 7 Steps to a Great Name

NameStormers will have an initial round of names to you as quickly as needed which is usually about a week after we start. Our record is 48 hours. We often develop two or three rounds of pre-screened names for a client  but we’ll develop as many rounds as you need at no additional charge. A typical project is often just 2 to 4 weeks unless you need some research or logo development. We also streamline the process for most of our clients so that their total time commitment is no more than an hour or two a week although you can certainly be much more involved if you would like.  Here is a little more detail on how the process works and what you will be getting:

1) Gather

We start by collecting information from you, your competitors, the marketplace and then summarize our findings in a Briefing recap.

We ask questions like:

  • What do you want your new product name, service name or company name to do?
  • What are your brand archetypes (e.g. Hero, Sage, Explorer, Magician …)?
  • What is your positioning and unique value proposition?  Have you done a SWOT analysis?
  • What personality do you want the name to reflect?
  • Describe your prospective customer today? Tomorrow?
  • When and where will your new name be used?
  • Who are your competitors? Where is the competitive opportunity?
  • What name ideas have already been considered and dismissed and why?
  • What are some names you like and don’t like and why?

The Gather step might take less than a day or span several weeks depending on your schedule, the number of people we need to talk to and the overall complexity of the project.

2) Create

After refining the Briefing outline with you, we begin internal brainstorming and name ideation sessions. We might identify the emotions associated with your brand’s archetypes, develop a list of key adjectives that relate to your offering, or focus on the attributes that differentiate you in the marketplace. We go down multiple paths during our name development to give you a full menu of choices, especially in the initial round

For example, if you need a name for a line of extra large, “fancy” doughnuts we might identify “Textures” and “Shapes” as two dimensions to explore. We may then come up with specific name candidates like RingLeaders or Softballs (yes, these are extra large doughnuts!) after pondering related word, concept and semantic associations.

Some of our team members feel that naming a business, product, or service is more of a science than an art, and may start by following a linguistic architecture or sound symbolism approach. Others start with nothing more than a blank sheet of paper and an extended trip to their favorite doughnut shop or retail venue. And so on. The backgrounds and approaches NameStormers’ team members follow vary as greatly as the brand names we create.

3) Screen

NameStormers pre-screens all of our better name ideas for U.S. Federal and/or Canadian trademark issues, common law usage issues and dot-com status to weed out those that have likely conflicts before presentation to you.

We can also take your favorite names through a deeper preliminary trademark screening which typically includes checking for:

  • U.S. state and international trademark issues using Thomson Reuters databases
  • Profane or vulgar meanings in other languages
  • App names, social media handles, COLA searches and more

If you’re not satisfied with the names that make it through the deeper screenings, NameStormers will repeat our creative and trademark pre-screening steps as many times as needed, until you’re satisfied with the final name, at no additional charge.

4) Pitch

NameStormers presents the names that have passed our screenings to you. We provide you with the rationale behind each name as well as many tagline ideas to help frame the name in a context similar to the way your customers might see it.

We will then ask you to evaluate each of the name ideas in three ways:

  • Your initial, intuitive reaction and rating
  • A deeper pondering, where you consider the name’s potential to grow into a strong, distinctive brand with the right care and feeding, such as the right graphics, promotion, advertising and other marketing communications wrapped around the name
  • And stickiness or memorability, the single most important characteristic of a great name

5) Fine Tune

NameStormers discusses the thinking behind your ratings, your other comments and your new name suggestions and uses all of your feedback for the next round of name development.

For your short list of favorite names we can also help you survey others in your organization to collect their rankings and comments. The name rankings can be analyzed by average score, number of votes received or other metrics. We recap the feedback for each name by individual, sales office or country, including specific comments and new name suggestions. We then review all feedback with you, using it to guide the development of more focused and on-target names.

This creative, name generation and ideation process is repeated as many times as necessary, at no additional charge, until you are satisfied with your short list of name ideas. Typically, this requires two or three rounds of names over a two to three week period, although this time frame can be compressed or expanded, as necessary.

You may also want to consider one of our optional services at this point like Global Cultural & Linguistic Screening. This more in-depth preliminary linguistic and cultural screening process uses multiple linguists that live in each of the countries you are targeting to evaluate names on a variety of criteria including contemporary usage issues, pronunciation, likelihood of confusion and more (at a cost of $200/linguist for up to 20 names).

6) Test

Optional Quantitative Name Evaluation Research

NameStormers can test your top names with hundreds of targeted prospects. This testing includes asking a few standard questions to see how well your names are performing compared to many other names we have tested over the years. The testing also includes asking some open-ended questions to provide useful insights into why certain names are preferred over others. And we often conduct a second,  follow-up memorability study to assess the “stickiness” of each name.

Key deliverables from this Name Evaluation Research step include:

  • Top line report containing key results within a week of fielding the research
  • Recap of insights regarding each name’s compatibility with concept, ability to drive purchases / promote interest, differentiation from competitive names,  and other key issues
  • Analysis that is summarized in an Executive Summary together with specific recommendations and the supporting data
  • Open-ended verbatims for your perusal

7) R.O.I.

Upon completion, you’ll have a set of strong name candidates with supporting rationale, tag lines and preliminary screenings. Rationale that provides you with a solid understanding of how each name fits your positioning and differentiates you from the competition. If NameStormers also conducted name testing research, you’ll have the hard data, the comparisons to national norms and the customer insights needed to help you select your top name candidate.

Oftentimes, the initial launch of your new company or brand name pays for itself in just days or weeks, not months or years. Many of the brand names we’ve developed for clients have proven to generate an internal excitement and energy that is contagious, self-propagating, and almost viral in nature. It’s not uncommon for our clients to tell us things like, “We paid for the entire name development and roll-out effort with the first trade show!” This is what a great name is all about. That is what we will make sure your name can do for you.

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