Naming your company, product or service – Tips & Tricks

So you have that great idea and you just can’t wait to approach investors or roll it out in the market. But it needs a name. And it needs that beast of a name which’ll stand out immediately and create recall. Do you hire an agency or do you do it yourself? Whatever the case, the process is simple. More often than not, you won’t have the time to follow the process thoroughly. Enter the creative agency. But how do you take a call on the names they submit?

The Basics – All names need to do the following:

  1. Easy to remember: Yes, like the Googles and Apples and Vodafones of the world.
  2. Easy to pronounce: Especially in a country like India, it’s important that people from all walks of life can pronounce it easily. You don’t want the courier guy giving you a piece of his mind by the time he finds you.
  3. Propel engagement with your audience: A good name can help lay the foundation for your tone of voice, imagery, communication and even the advertising.
  4. Basics of basics: Trust your agency to do the very basic checks – does it mean anything negative in another language? Can it be broken up to sound like something negative? Can it be made fun of? And hundreds of other such hygiene checks.

The Process – A good agency should follow this process. Somewhat.

  1. Market Analysis: Who are the other players in your domain? What are the common trends in the naming of such entities? What is their positioning? And a lot more otherwise boring information. Here’s also where you can contribute by listing out some of the names you
    find inspiring. It’s important your agency knows your taste; after all you take that final call.
  2. Positioning: Most agencies will send you a questionnaire, through which they’ll be able to narrow down on your positioning. If you already have one, then let the agency fine tune it. Here is where you freeze on your USP’s, your market positioning, your target audience, etc. Do not, I repeat, do not breeze through this step. It’s what will define your name.
  3. Naming Options: The fun part. Using the positioning and analysis, your agency will get back to you with rounds and rounds of naming options packaged in a presentation with complex interpretations and reasoning. Remember! No name sounds good the first time around. When the name “Google” was first suggested, it probably would have evoked mocking laughter. Run the list with your friends and family. Look at it again the next day. Give it time to sink in before you decide to sack the agency.
  4. Testing: More for the bigger brands, at this stage you test it with a sample audience, maybe create sample logos or advertising material, just to see which of the shortlisted names make the most impact and what are the shortcomings.
  5. Final Name and tagline: The last step, of course could also involve creating a final tagline. Don’t let the agency tell you the tagline was not part of the costing. The tagline is standard on a naming project.