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There’s nothing we love more than an empty whiteboard and the thrill of beginning a new brainstorming session. Spouting off ideas is like striking stones together and waiting for an exciting spark. But many of our clients find that blank space daunting, and for good reason — naming a business or brand is a big deal. Your brand is going to hitch its wagon to that name for years to come, which means it needs to be original, memorable, and indicative of your mission as a company.

As intimidating as that sounds, your company’s brand name brainstorm session doesn’t need to inspire dread. With a few key tips, you’ll be NameStorming like the experts. Ready?

Determine Your Target

Most companies, even fledgling ones, know who their target is. The problem is that instead of actually zeroing in on that target during the brainstorming phase, the owners or marketing executives often focus on themselves. They think that if they are drawn to a name, their target will be, too. But — and brace yourself for this one, folks — your opinion is the last one that matters. The primary focus should be what your target thinks of the name.

Putting your target at the center drives the entire process. Check your own opinion at the door and try to think like your audience does.

Determine the Name’s Ultimate Objective

This one can be more difficult to answer succinctly, but it’s imperative to nail down before you start tossing around ideas. Surprisingly, when we ask this question, many clients end up meandering for a while and listing a dozen or so attributes they want their brand name to have. Maybe they want a fresh feel, but they also want it to be entirely self explanatory and not too jarring.

However, you can’t have everything in a name. In fact, the strength of a name is inversely proportional to its scope. That’s why you want to narrow your list down to a single, strong goal that you want to accomplish before you even pop off the cap of that dry erase marker. The narrower the focus, the better the name.

Brainstorm Like There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Idea

We’re the first to admit that it can be scary to put ideas out there. Being creative means being vulnerable, and it’s possible that the people you want in the room with you wouldn’t even consider themselves the right-brained type to begin with. Not everyone with a worthwhile opinion is automatically comfortable with the collaborative creative process.

Our NameStormers team subscribes to the notion that there’s no such thing as a bad idea. If you write off or disparage ideas, you could be shooting down brilliance without knowing it. Maybe the name that doesn’t inspire you could be a stepping stone to one that does, but if your team members are afraid to piggyback on it, you may never know. So take the negative off the table. Disallow criticism and give your group freedom to explore any idea. Wait to start culling name candidates until after you’ve gathered an extensive list of ideas.

What Makes Our Process Effective?

While we take great pride in our brainstorming methods, that’s only the beginning of our process. We often vet our top name candidates to make sure they stand up to our rigorous trademark screening and web screening. Not only do we check for potential legal hindrances, but we also check for domain and social media availability. Our top candidates might go through a linguistic screening as well, to prune the names that might strike your audience as offensive or off-color. If needed, we consult global partners in targeted regions and languages to screen for cross-cultural viability.

And finally, we share the favorite names that clear our screenings with you, the client. But we don’t just leave you with that list like an automatic name generator would. As professional brand name consultants, we take your feedback into account and, if necessary, go straight back to that empty whiteboard for another brand name brainstorm, as many times as it takes. Reach out to us today to start your brand naming journey.

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