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Linguistic Screening

What’s in a Name? 

The answer is: a lot, especially when looking for the right product name that doesn’t just showcase your brand creatively and gives you a global reach. Linguistic screening is an important part of discovering if your brand name will go the distance.

Taking your business into a foreign market is an already complex task due to the red tape that needs to be covered. The name is what will hook your audience, and it needs to convey your product or services while also being universal.

If you have greatly underestimated the meaning of your business name in other countries, we can ensure that your English product names always travel.

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Why is Linguistic Screening Important?

As part of our service we will help you get a greater insight into something that you may have considered was so simple. Linguistic testing does not just make sure you’ve got a great name, but it provides valuable information and insight:

Improved Understanding of Connotation 

There are countless examples of brand names that have not hit the global market for a number of reasons. Take, for example, the “Snob” brand. This popular Italian sweet treat is baked into the fabric of Italian confectionary lore, but when we dig deep into the connotation of the word “snob,” it brings out two different meanings:

Snob: a person who does not associate themselves with anybody beneath them in a social sense. 

Snob: British slang for a booger.

Clearly, there are two different meanings and neither will help the Snob empire expand further afield. Linguistic screening is there to help you avoid potential embarrassment to your brand when you enter a new market.

If the Brand Name is Easy to Pronounce

Western businesses greatly overestimate how product names travel. Linguistics screening takes into account how a product name can be pronounced in its target language. Understanding how a product name sounds in your target market is critical when attempting to sell products in countries like China. The Chinese language has wildly different tones, and even the sounds chosen by the speaker can be framed as positive or negative, greatly affecting the meaning.

Its Cultural Impact

There can be powerful associations made with specific words in completely unrelated industries. It’s important for you to identify your product name and if it will have an impact on a country’s cultural connotations or your target market. For example, gender roles can differ from country to country — male-dominated countries, where the patriarch of the household makes all the product purchasing decisions can greatly skew your meaning if you are marketing to a female or a child.

The Potential to Cause Offense

If you have a product name that causes great offense, it will put up a major barrier to getting your products sold in that country, even if it is intended to be humorous. A brand like Sweden’s “Plopp” chocolate may raise a giggle with school children, but older generations may not take it too kindly, and you’ve immediately locked them out.

Linguistic screening process for branding success in an internal workshop

It’s Time for Linguistic Screening

A name may be a great idea for primarily English-speaking American customers, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for every demographic. If you plan to launch globally, we can conduct a search for offensive meanings in other languages and cultures.

This is so much deeper than a quick online translation, which, again, only covers exact spelling. It won’t tell you if something sounds the same, or similar to, an offensive word or phrase. If relevant, we consult native linguists who will make sure the name is at least contextually neutral.

Connotation screening service being conducted by team members to ensure brand success

Why You Should Let Us Solve Your Company Naming Conundrum

Our decades of experience have sharpened our skills and made us pretty savvy name screeners. But we don’t rely too heavily on past experience — we stay abreast of the shifting trends so that your name is relevant in today’s rapidly changing culture. You can feel fully confident that the names we pitch to you have cleared all of our preliminary screenings — reducing the chances that your legal will reject the name because it’s too high risk for your company, brand, product, or service.

To top it off, we work for a flat fee, which means we repeat the screening process as many times as it takes to earn your satisfaction. That’s why we’re here!

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