Of course, the little exercise mentioned in the prior blog past is just a preliminary, superficial examination… a prelude to an authentic company naming process. A comprehensive brand assessment designed to ensure optimal positioning and maximum marketing effectiveness will take a deeper look. It takes a more serious and analytical gaze at your business, its revenue drivers, its values, its offerings and the competitive landscape. All of this work is undertaken in order to get a more accurate picture of the role and power your name, tag, logo and key collateral are playing in your strategic brand development. But at the level of “pop and sizzle,” that top ten percent which can render the other 90% of your marketing expenditures either totally ineffective or wildly successful, we’ll at least know whether we’re commanding target attention. Analyzing the deficits within the existing name and/or the opportunities in the current marketplace are where every successful company naming process begins.
When performing 360-degree brand assessments (on the road to a clearly articulated brand strategy), we measure the name against those criteria established by the organization as being, at the very least, of some relevance to it’s a) history, b) vision and near-term future possibilities, c) external audiences, and d) internal audiences. An analysis of prior marketing collateral and an in-depth review of the competitive forces helps to highlight areas of challenge and opportunity. All of this informs fundamental positioning and messaging, and therefore serves to put some strategic criteria in place for the company name and tagline. NOTE: A company naming brief that indicates only name type and style preferences misses the point entirely. A brief that examines communications strategy is better, depending, of course, on the strategic teeth of your company naming provider, but in an ideal world we would dig even deeper into the business plan and business development fundamentals.
A brand blueprint that spells out the entire brand messaging platform, and how the company name and company tagline will fit into the whole serves the organization well beyond its naming and tagging near-term needs. This way, even if company re-naming isn’t in the cards, one still has the opportunity to find “compensating” elements throughout the marketing & messaging plans. But either way, all of this strategic work needs to precede the creative part of the company naming process. As potential name candidates are identified, they are vetted internally for strategic adherence and for any additional insights that may direct future name generations.
By the time the client is presented options, the naming firm should have one, two or three solid recommendations – and if they don’t, get nervous! You don’t need wishy-washy. Your business doesn’t need obsequiousness. You want a company naming agency or naming copywriter who has “gone off on a valiant quest to capture the name the strategy described.” Having returned from this somewhat perilous adventure, there’s no need to mince words. He/she/they simply needs to explain how they got there. If a second round proves needed, it is to tighten the criteria only. In my experience, most times they aren’t required. When clients exercise them, it is because a) they lack full faith in the exploration that just occurred, and b) they feel like it’s how they get their “money’s worth.” My take on this part of the company naming process is this: anybody who goes into something, anything, thinking there’s going to be a do-over, probably isn’t going to swing for their fences. That’s human nature. Of course, it’s pretty easy to read dissatisfaction (as opposed to fear) in the eyes of a client. If one is truly unhappy (rare), I will, of course, offer an additional round. But it seldom creates any new value for the undertaking or the relationship. Tight briefs from the get-go, that’s my mantra. Or, from another discipline…
<h4>”Measure twice, cut once.”</h4>