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Naming: steps to create a masterpiece

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Саша Антонишин

Naming. Everything seems easy and simple; it’s just a word or two, isn’t it? Only by the time you’re finished, you realize what a hard task it was.

Brand name is the first thing people remember about a product. Well, if it really is a clever and catchy name. In this article, let me lift the veil on our methods of naming and prove to you its importance for your business.

How does it happen in COI and what do we name?

“To find the perfect brand, leave no word unturned.” These words by Anthony Shore, a founder of Operative Words, the US naming agency, describe what naming is actually about. We seek words, play with them, change them and invent the new ones. To be honest, we go to all the trouble just to find a perfect word match.

Naming is not only about brand's name; in COI we deal with names for specific products and services too. So far we’ve worked on naming for taxi services’ company, sofas’ store (names for its goods), embroidery clothes store (names for its goods), confectionery, wedding agency etc. 

Creating a name: learning, brainstorming, choosing the best

Step 1. We learn everything we can about company or service we’re about to name. What are the company values, what associations do they want to create with a name, who is the company’s target audience? The more you know, the better name you can create.

Step 2. We brainstorm. We create a list of all possible names: good, bad, and even ridiculous ones. If you do not write down ‘stupid’ alternatives, then instead of coming up with new ones you will return to the options that you did not write down, wondering if they were really that bad. That’s why our main rule at this stage is no criticism.

Sometimes we create poems or just rhyme a name with other words, based on company’s specialty. We watch issue-related movies for inspiration. We say the name out loud to hear how it sounds, because it needs to have its special taste. For example, ‘Fellini’ — one of our naming options for wedding agency — sounds soft, tender; reminds of flight, clouds, wings. Another one — name for taxi services — is ‘Pick Up’. Being short and easy to pronounce, it shows that a taxi will get you to the place of destination in the snap of a finger, meaning very fast and easy.

As part of testing a name, we involve our coworkers who are foreign to the naming matter in hand. It helps us to see how an average person would react to the name.

Step 3. After we gather at least 20 suitable options, we google each one of them to see if they already exist. This is how we dismiss the majority of options. Some are taken, some might have a negative connotation in other languages, and sometimes the domain is unavailable. So we work with options that survived googling, and pick the best ones. Our experience has proven that you need to have at least three final choices, but no more than six. All of them should be equally good, so that whichever name client chooses would work like a charm for their business.     

Naming is a hard and complex thing to do, but it’s also an immense field for imagination and a great opportunity to push the envelope. Contact us if you want to create a great name for your company or products. We’ll be glad to help you out!