We specialize in partnering with brands to help them create overarching naming systems and solve complex naming problems. Whether it’s an individual name we’re creating or developing brand-wide naming guidelines, we always have the namescape in mind.
Our services fall into three categories:
We specialize in solving complex naming challenges, serving clients who are creating a series of names or want to approach naming more holistically.
As humans, we look for and trust patterns and order. We don’t like sudden left turns (out of place names). Because names are consumers’ initial touch points, when a brand presents an orderly naming front, consumers perceive it as strong and organized, establishing brand trust from the outset.
Particularly important for large companies with many brands and products that have proliferated over time, creating strong naming architecture starts with thoroughly examining the existing namescape, conducting interviews and in depth brand research to understand what and how names have been created in the past and any systems and rules in place (spoken or unspoken). We look closely at competitors and out-of-industry leaders to determine best practices, ultimately presenting a set of structural recommendations we’ll hone collaboratively. We’ll determine which parts of the namesape should be preserved, which parts should change and how to change them. The result is an overarching blueprint for how an organization can use naming to lead future brand direction.
We believe every brand should have a section devoted to naming in their brand handbook. With naming guidelines, we create a clear vision and approach to how names are developed and decided on brandwide; answering key questions such as: What types of names should we create? When should we name and when should we not? Who should be involved in making naming decisions? What themes must names channel to support our overall brand positioning?
With clear guidelines, clients benefit from a more organized and strategically purposeful approach to naming, CMO’s sleep better at night and marketing teams rejoice in efficiency.
More often than not, creating a strong namescape isn’t as simple as drawing up naming guidelines and developing a few names. We believe in training corporations to be self-sufficient from a naming perspective and that starts with forming a strong, ongoing relationship with the company. We partner with brand teams and executive leadership to define brandwide naming opportunities, improve the naming perception, process, and ultimately the names themselves within the organization – answering the central question of how naming can be used to advance the brand before naming decisions are made.
Whether re-naming, naming a company or a product or service, we use the same airtight four-phase process to support and advance strategic brand objectives.
When has a new name (or logo for that matter) ever been launched with an overwhelmingly positive review from the media and consumers? We hate change – even if it’s the name of an old compact car model we never drove.
Whether it’s a merger or acquisition or simply time to project new brand meaning, re-naming creates a pivotal brand moment of equally high risk and reward. Perhaps the greatest of all naming challenges, re-naming brings with not only the question of brand equity with consumers but also emotional attachment from stakeholders and employees. As such, for us, re-naming doesn’t mean simply developing a new name, but also designing comprehensive internal and external communication rollout plans ensuring a smooth transition accounting for all possible reactions.
The company name is the keystone of the corporate namescape. From this one to two words, every subsequent brand name (or social media handle, hashtag or employee title) must flow seamlessly. You can update your logo and launch a different ad campaign every quarter, but this is the one brand decision you NEVER want to have to change.
The pressure of that decision creates one of the more challenging and emotionally fraught naming environments. Before any names are created, we align all key decision-makers around decisioning criteria that support a corporate naming strategy. This ensures that this mega high pressure decision will be based on predetermined, brand-advancing objectives (never a whim or gut instinct).
If the company name is the keystone, then products and services are the individual bricks that comprise any strong corporate namescape. Whether launching a product that is defining an entirely new category or strengthening an existing suite of services, we work alongside brand leadership to guide the strategy, process, and culture needed to select brand-advancing names.
While so many brands and agencies create names in a vacuum, only thinking of the immediate product or service at hand, The Naming Group creates names with a dual purpose: to intrinsically define and distinguish the offering, and to collectively strengthen the overall corporate namescape.
Beyond creating names and the systems that drive them, we also partner with clients and firms to deliver naming-related advisory services.
There is a right way to conduct naming research and a wrong way. A consumer not “liking” a name, isn’t always a bad thing. There is an important difference between a name that is uncomfortable and a name that is offensive. That’s why, we feel strongly about using consumer research to aid in the naming process, particularly during the up-front positioning phase, and, not determine it. We partner with client analytics teams and market research firms to design and conduct careful naming research that asks consumers the right questions at the right time during the name development process.
The name development and visual brand development processes are intrinsically linked. We can’t develop names without thinking about how they’ll live in the world – what colors they beg to be written in, the forms that would further tell their stories. We work with in-house design departments and small design firms to act as a bridge between the names we create for clients and the visual brand in which they’ll flourish.
Sometimes it’s unclear whether a product or company should be named or re-named in the first place. When the road ahead is less clear, we work with clients to research and determine the risks and opportunities in a potential naming venture. For us, the thrill of our work is not just in creating new names in the marketplace, but in making sure that the right naming decisions are being made, even if that means maintaining an existing name or deciding not to develop a new one.