8 Simple Rules For Judging Names

It’s all in the name, well rarely. But finding the right name for your business, product or service sets the tone for what you’re working hard to achieve.

Here are 8 do’s and don’ts we use when we’re thinking about a new name.

1. It’s not about you, it’s about the brand
Naming can get highly emotional and very personal. Try to avoid this. It’s not about what you like, but what’s right for the brand. Try not to let biases and personal reactions creep in…This is why we have our brief. It includes the criteria we’ll use to judge the name. This helps us stay focussed and as objective as possible. If you have an objection, frame it in terms of how it goes against the brief.

2. Make up your own mind
Some voices are always louder and more assertive than others. Don’t be swayed. Take some time after you’ve seen the names to reflect and make up your own mind. All opinions are welcome and all opinions are important.

3. Stay positive
It’s easier to get to an answer if we focus on what’s working. Negativity isn’t a useful frame of mind for a creative process. And it can cause people to lose confidence in expressing their opinions.

4. A name can’t do everything
At best, it can reflect one or two aspects of our brief. It’s impossible to choose a name that says every single thing you want to say about the business. So we’ll focus on the most important criteria and do our best to hit those. Which leads us on to the next point…

5. The name is at its weakest now
In black and white, on a page with no real meaning attached. To accompany it, you’d also usually have a logo and visual identity, your communication with the world and all the actions your people take every day. The name is just one part of building your brand. For example, the name could be quite straight and the visual identity could be a vibrant counterpoint (or the other way around).

6. Be brave
Once upon a time, the names Netflix, Google and Diageo didn’t exist. They were bold leaps for the businesses that took them. Think back to the first time you saw them and how you reacted. You might have hated them, loved them, or felt indifferent. The same will be true for your name. If you feel exposed and uncomfortable, it means you’re doing something different. And that’s most likely a good thing.

7. Don’t fall in love with one name at the start
It’s very rare that the first choice makes it all the way to the final brand. We’ve got to do full trademark searches…we need to make absolutely sure it doesn’t mean something silly in Swahili or rude in Romanian… There are many reasons why names might fall down along the way, so we advise clients to pick a shortlist of 4-10 names (depending on how many we generate and like). Be prepared for any of them to win.

Note: We’ll do our best to make sure we don’t suggest anything that’s obviously taken already, or has a negative connotation. We check the trademark databases in the UK/EU, USA, Australia and Singapore as a matter of course. But it’s only your lawyers who can give us the final ‘thumbs up’.

8. Don’t get too hung up on the URL
Tesla doesn’t own “tesla.com” – its URL is “teslamotors.com”. If the name you like isn’t available as a URL, we can always find a way to work around that – by adding “PLC” or some other suffix.

 

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