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Unveiling the Superpowers of Naming Experts: What to Look for When Hiring an Agency

Key Takeaways:

  1. Recognize the Value of Diverse Skillsets: By acknowledging and harnessing skills like simplification and perception to organizational mastery and legal acumen, you can enhance collaboration, streamline processes, and achieve naming success.

  2. Embrace Visual Thinking: Visualization plays a pivotal role in the naming process, allowing stakeholders to envision the brand’s identity across various mediums. 

  3. Prioritize Client Relations and Organizational Excellence: Building strong client relationships and maintaining organizational rigor are cornerstones of successful naming endeavors. 

  4. Stay Ahead of the Curve: By learning from past experiences, anticipating future trends, and mastering legal and technical nuances, you can navigate the complexities of naming with confidence and foresight.

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Unleashing the Superpowers of Naming Experts

In the dynamic landscape of branding and marketing, naming is a crucial aspect that can make or break a business. Whether you’re embarking on a new entrepreneurial venture, brainstorming with a team, or seeking professional assistance from an agency, understanding the superpowers of naming experts can significantly enhance your journey. Recently, NameStormers shed light on the remarkable skills and insights that drive successful naming endeavors.

The Power of Simplification

Ashley, drawing from her background in education, brings a unique superpower to the table: the ability to simplify complex concepts. In the world of naming, clarity is key, and Ashley’s knack for distilling ideas into understandable nuggets is invaluable. Whether it’s explaining the rationale behind a name or breaking down intricate processes, her skill enhances collaboration and ensures everyone is on the same page. 

The Art of Perception

Mike, with decades of experience under his belt, possesses the uncanny ability to perceive what remains unspoken. Through keen observation and intuition honed over years of engagements, he navigates the nuances of client needs and market dynamics with finesse. His foresight into industry trends and understanding of competitive landscapes enable him to craft names that resonate and endure. 

Visual Acumen 

In the realm of naming, visualizing how a name translates across various mediums is paramount. Visual orientation adds a layer of depth to the naming process, allowing clients to envision their brand identity in real-world contexts. Whether it’s packaging, signage, or digital platforms, the ability to breathe life into names fosters a deeper connection and fosters buy-in from stakeholders. 

Organizational Mastery and Client Relations

Organizational prowess and commitment to nurturing client relationships set a gold standard in the industry. By meticulously managing timelines, follow-ups, and communication channels, you want someone who ensures seamless collaboration and client satisfaction. A relational approach fosters trust and transparency, laying the groundwork for successful partnerships. 

Adaptability and Industry Perspective

Mike’s wealth of experience offers clients invaluable insights into the evolving landscape of naming. From the pre-digital era to the complexities of today’s global market, he has witnessed the transformation firsthand. The ability to adapt to changing paradigms and anticipate future challenges equips clients with a strategic advantage, ensuring their names stand the test of time. 

Mastery of Legal and Technical Nuances 

Navigating the legal and technical intricacies of naming requires expertise beyond the surface level. By employing risk assessment strategies and leveraging industry best practices, you want a team that mitigates potential pitfalls and safeguards clients’ brand integrity. 


Mike Carr (00:03): 

So this week we’re going to talk about superpowers, especially when it comes to naming and what to look for in an agency. If you’re fixing to hire an agency or in a team that you’re building internally or just if you’ve got a group of friends around the table and you’re ideating around a name for your new business or your new product, there are certain skills, there are certain things that if you can find folks that bring that to the table, it really makes the whole process a lot easier and the outcome a lot better. So with that, Ashley, what is one of your superpowers? 

Ashley Elliott (00:38): 

One of my superpowers, I would say just coming from, I mean, the whole family are teachers. I’ve always asked why, and I always assume that everyone else wants to know why. So I think really trying to simplify things, helping explain the why or explain it in a way, whether it be a name, whether it be our process, the project, just really trying to simplify things down. I mean, we’ve worked on doing infographics and just making information readily available online as well as in our projects, and I think that’s been one of the things that I realized is kind of that way with my kids with business. It’s just kind of who I am is trying to simplify things 

Mike Carr (01:14): 

And see. I think that’s great because I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years, and so I don’t realize what folks don’t understand. I take way too much for granted, and so we’ll get into client presentations where I’m glossing over things that you, with the teacher background and not having done it for nearly as long, say, no, that’s probably not obvious, Mike. And so you’ll interrupt me and then you’ll provide some additional explanation, which really helps everybody through the process. So I agree with you. I think that’s an important superpower to have. 

Ashley Elliott (01:45): 

I think that’s a good point too, is I feel like I’m a doer in some ways, but I’m an observer and others, and so I’m watching everybody on the call where if you’re presenting, it’s nice to have that balance of someone else watching the reactions of people, because sometimes it’s not spoken, but I can tell that maybe we need to explain that a little bit more. So that was a good point. What do you think one of your superpowers is? 

Mike Carr (02:05): 

I think this is probably because I’ve done it for as long as I have, but you can sort of intuit or sense what isn’t being said. And because I’ve gone through a lot of engagements, probably for the same type of product or the same type of client or the same industry, I have some idea as to here’s probably what’s going to work, here’s what’s been done over and over and over and over again, and it’s not going to work. It’s just old school. So that ability to sort of get a sense for, okay, what is it you want? What’s your value prop? What’s going to set you apart? What’s your sustainable differentiator? And understand, well, how does that play into the competitive field? And then diving into strategy right before we get into actually naming things strategically, how is the name going to work? I think a lot of that’s from experience, but I also think it’s one of the things that I can bring to the table that someone that has been doing this for decades has more difficulty bringing to the table. And a lot of clients I think, appreciate that. 

Ashley Elliott (03:05): 

Well, as a person who’s new to this specific industry, I think that you bring stories and you’ve seen, I would say almost eras of naming and the naming industry and things that have worked or what hasn’t worked or the trends throughout the years. I think also one thing for me, I’m a visual person. I like to see things in context, and that’s something we’ve been trying to work on is can I picture it on packaging? Can I picture it on a building? And that also takes our clients that visualization. But I think you have the visualization all up here. We just got to get it all 

Mike Carr (03:33): 

Down right on paper. Got to get out of the head for sure. Okay, so what’s another one of your superpowers? 

Ashley Elliott (03:39): 

I’m very organized. That is for true. I’ll say I make my own deadlines and then I stress myself out sometimes about those deadlines. But I do think that follow-ups and maintaining that cadence with clients and checking in with clients is something that I’m a relationship person by nature, and I think that helps a little bit with, when it comes to client relations, 

Mike Carr (03:58): 

There’s no question about that. I think it’s extremely important, is something that you’re really, really good at. 

Ashley Elliott (04:02): 

I think you have, we could be here for an hour on your skills. What’s another one of yours? 

Mike Carr (04:07): 

Well, there are a lot of things that have changed since we started doing this, and I think having that perspective for clients as to what’s really hard today that maybe they undervalue or they don’t appreciate. So when we started this company in 1985, we didn’t even bother doing trademark screenings. There was no internet other than an academia. There were no smartphones. So the world was just a much smaller world, and it was so easy, so, so easy to get real word names through the process, and the legal wasn’t that big a deal. Well, today it’s just the opposite. It’s so hard to clear a name. Legally, a lot of our clients want to move beyond just the domestic market to a global market. So you’ve got to think about linguistic challenges. How is it accepted culturally? There’s just so many things that complicate naming today, and a lot of folks don’t appreciate how hard the legal clearance is. They think, well, you go to the US PTO website, you do a quick search, and if you don’t find a match, that’s it. That’s like 5% of what you need to do from a legal standpoint, as you know, what are some of the other things that we do when we do a screening that we’re looking for that maybe clients don’t understand or aren’t aware of? Oh, 

Ashley Elliott (05:24): 

I feel like this is, I only know the tip of the iceberg. There’s so many things that I still have yet to learn specifically with trademark screening, but just the likelihood of confusion and the layers of that. And we have a great team, so I think that’s very helpful. We also color code it like a risk assessment, like a stoplight. I think that helps also bring it to life, the clients. But for me, navigating that difference between what’s a green and what’s a yellow and why is it green and why is it yellow? What indicates the next layer of risk in terms of if it’s in the same space? Are you registered in what categories? We have a lot of different countries that have different ways that they register things. That adds a whole nother layer to it. It’s phonetically based. I mean, there are so many things that I’m learning as we’re going that I’m sure I haven’t even scratched the 

Mike Carr (06:08): 

Surface. A lot of folks don’t understand that a domain name is based upon spelling. So you can change a single letter in a domain name and all of a sudden you’ve got a registrable domain. You go out and get for 40 bucks on GoDaddy or whatever. It’s like a license plate. That’s not how trademark law works. It’s based upon phonetics, it’s based upon sound. So regardless of how you spell the thing, if it sounds similar to another name, you have a potential problem. However, clients also don’t understand that it’s by class. So you can see exactly the same name used over and over and over again in the same country as long as it’s for different stuff because you register a mark a name in a particular trademark class. So if you’ve got software, you might register that in Class nine. If it’s a desktop piece of software, you might register it in Class 42 or one of the service classes if it’s a SaaS software. But if you’ve got an automobile, totally different class doesn’t make any difference. If there’s a piece of software with exactly the same name, you might have Odyssey, the minivan registered in Class 12 and Odyssey, the software registered in Class nine, no problem because so different from one another. But understanding all that, all the intricacies of how you determine the likelihood of confusion, that’s really, really hard. And that’s where you get into, is it green? Is it light green, is it yellow? Is it out? That’s just a really hard call to make. 

Ashley Elliott (07:34): 

So tune in over the next 40 years as I learn how to do this like my cats. 

Mike Carr (07:40): 

For sure. Okay, you guys have a great week. Thanks. See you now. Bye. Bye.

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