Does the Founder’s Name Always Provide for a Good Company Name?

Naming article in USA Today got this brand strategist’s blood boiling

Last week, my niece, Robin, forwarded me a naming article that ran in USA today which clearly advocated on behalf of using the founder’s name. I wasn’t sure whether to thank her or curse her. I think I wound up doing both. But before we dig into the relative merits of the eponymous company name (there are many), I’d like to raise three other points.

  1. Do we really think the fields of branding and brand naming readily lend themselves to one-size-fits-all answers? I’d like to suggest (remind, proclaim, shout) that these disciplines are about as far away from the binary as you can get.
  2. Do we believe our branding and naming questions should be answered with or without the benefit of context? For me, asking questions about a company’s name would be akin to asking an accountant, “What should I put on Line Twelve? No, you can’t look at the rest of the form… or the entirety of the financial situation, for that matter… just gimme an answer!”
  3. If we are going to engage in that perilous pursuit of determining definitive answers, then, before we solve, for once and for all, the age-old question of “What should we name our company,” shouldn’t this process begin with a shared definition of a name? What are its objectives? What should a business name do for the company?

For stickiness and differentiation, the founder’s name will most likely under-perform.

But for credibility, as the article’s writer points out, there’s absolutely something to be said for “putting one’s name on it.” I not only don’t disagree with this, I believe in it so much I actually appended my company name with my personal name.

So, as mentioned, the purpose here isn’t to say the argument is without merit. Naming after the founder should always be a consideration. But to do this in a vacuum… or to fail to consider all of the other naming approaches… which just may speak better to your current business and marketing objectives, that’s a mistake. A big one.

Some of the reasons why naming the company after the founder may prove to be a disappointment

  1. In certain fields, such as law, finance and, to a lesser extent, manufacturing, there is a long tradition of founder names. Standing out (for me, a prime branding objective) will be all that much tougher. A few years ago, I was actually interviewed on this topic of using the owner’s name as the company name.
  2. Everything we do in branding and naming should be driven by an overarching goal to simplify the buyer’s journey. This includes aiding the brain’s memory. The Smith Firm, The Jones Company and The Williams Brothers may sound unique in each of their individual boardrooms, but I assure you: in the minds of prospects, they all get clumped together. Very few will remember whether it was Smith, Jones or Williams who ran which ad, made which headline, etc. This may sound like a small point. Now multiply that lack of recall and ineffective awareness across all of your marketing spend.
  3. The cost of missed opportunity – is what we’re doing here, growing the business, more about you or should it not be more about them? This doesn’t mean necessarily that the business’ name has to be a direct promise, but it’s great when it can hint at the uniquely valuable experience in store.
  4. Creating greater distinction between the company and the person behind can be a very good thing. When what we, as marketers, most want is for our prospects, customers and employers to co-own the brand experience, I think making the company more yours than theirs stands in the way of forging deeper, emotional connections.

In the company names agency business, you work like Hell to make the whole thing look easy.

Think about today’s leading brands. Seriously. Challenge yourself (and your team) to make a list of the 20-30 brands that come to mind.  Now add them all together. My guess is that no more than 5-10% of these will be founder names. The other 90%?  Creative names that were generated with the specific purpose of accelerating growth, facilitating memorable and meaningful customer connections and increasing perceptions of  unique value. That said, if you want to read the article that triggered this rant, please feel free:  https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/08/28/whats-brand-name/599143001/

 

 

 

 

The Catch-22 of Financing Brand Strategy Initiatives

Dream: A Breathtaking Brand.

Nightmare: Getting Your Company to Understand The Need, The Costs and The Timelines.

The Catch-22 of Financing Brand Strategy Initiatives

For innovative, progressive companies, it’s a relative no-brainer. The competitive need for curiosity, discovery and the path of exploration (R&D) are already in the bloodstream. And certainly, no business area presents as much potential than engineering the entire company to be a stronger engine of customer creation. But in an era of tactical, today-only thinking and historic corporate myopia (wherein CMO and agency tenure average under 4 years), what gets eighty-sixed or left in the dust? Strategy and planning. Shame, too, because these are the very things that would enable these companies to get off the incremental performance crack.

(Did you know that almost 40% of clients cite a lack of strategic direction as the primary reason they can their agencies? Doesn’t happen here. Not ever.)

Worse yet, how can you get a line-item approved for a brand assessment, brand discovery or brand strategy and brand development when it’s really only after commencing that we begin to realize both the true need and the enormity of the benefits? Tough nut.

Brand-budget-branding-costs-strategy-development

Branding is the one marketing activity that influences everything else, both inside and outside your marketing budget.

Begin Before You’ve Begun!

Because genuine branding is something that benefits each and every department but its costs are typically borne by Marketing alone, it’s important for environmental leaders to do (at least) three things:

  1. You’ve got to make sure the organization isn’t still hanging onto old-school notions of branding as logos and other cosmetics… as if it didn’t strike directly at the heart of all of your company’s other business development opportunities and challenges.
  2. Beyond the cumulative impact, there are tangible benefits for every stakeholder – opening up a broader conversation about how the organization has come to define strategy, planning and branding helps create “lightbulb moments” even before you’ve begun the process. Go boldly, but don’t go it alone. Just as branding’s victories will be shared throughout the organization, the onus of making the sale needn’t rest on your shoulders alone. You can turn to your peers throughout the organization (and me!) to help you make the case. Beginning with a formal brand assessment (health check) can often be the best way to increase the entire organization’s understanding of its own brand, helping you create greater team buy-in.
  3. You may not be able to quantify missed opportunity costs (we are only human, after all), but you can certainly use brand strategy as both a catalyst to improved tactical results and a hedge against ineffective marketing spend. If your organization is slow to move or embrace new thinking, start with what you’re already doing and show them how working without a defined brand strategy in place is like working with one arm tied behind your back.

 

Brand is simply too important a thing, to the organization as a whole and to your marketing effectiveness, to be ignored. You may be wary of the costs and fees associated with genuine brand strategy. You may be nervous about treading into uncharted waters. You may have questions. You may be concerned about obtaining full buy-in. At the very least, the topic deserves a conversation. I invite you to have that conversation… with me. No commitment. No joke. (Okay, maybe one or two jokes, but then I’m drawing a line.)

Brands Use Storms to Show True Colors

Brands Use Storms to Show True Colors

Several brands have stepped up amidst these hurricanes and, in doing so, have reinforced their status as true leadership brands. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have undeniably brought tragedy and turmoil to those in their paths, but as I watched (too much of the) recent storm coverage, I was, of course, riveted by the scope of the disasters and found myself moved, almost surprisingly so, by the outpouring of corporate goodwill.

Now, obviously, the praise I’m about to lavish on these companies isn’t to diminish the work of the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, or the contributions of all of those everyday people, the family, friends and neighbors who simply put the welfare of others ahead of their own safety and comfort. Personal giving means more because, quite frankly, the sacrifice costs more and is felt more by the giver. Also, time and again, we’ve seen the “multiplier effect” – little financial gifts add up fast and in numbers that often dwarf the seemingly hefty single checks. But corporate giving speaks to me on another level. It takes quick decision-making and quick action in order to effect new and exceptional corporate policy, the eschewing of standard bureaucracy in favor of what is right and what is right now.

To me, this transcends even corporate philanthropy, however generous and needed. To me, this is more than strategic PR maneuvering. Could it be that we are actually beginning to listen to the Millennials when they say, essentially, “Less bullshit, more substantive action?”

Props for brands who let their values reign

Not that they need it from me, but I’d like to shine a spotlight on those companies that took action. I don’t doubt that many other companies have contributed in ways large and small, so let’s consider this a starter list:

>Airbnb offered evacuee support in the form of accommodations. I have no idea how they pulled this off, whether they, in turn, compensated the hosts or if it was an act of generosity by the property owners themselves. Either way, that is one vibrant culture of shared value buyers, sellers and broker. This has got to be one of the coolest companies on the landscape today.

>Perhaps most moving to me was to see the major cruise lines (Royal Caribbean, Norwegian) offer their vessels as evacuation vehicles in the Caribbean. Honestly, Friday was my first exposure to the tiny island of Barbuda (population: 1600) and to witness such a through devastation was truly heartbreaking. When all is lost, only hope remains. And those who salvage it and sew it are to be heartily congratulated. Putting their decked-out cruise ships into service, genuine human service, seems somehow, I don’t know, redemptive. Good for them.

>Delta and United both put a fare cap in place, hopefully making it just a little easier on those seeking to get out of harm’s way.

>Mattress Mack, a Houston retailer, put his showroom stock to good use turning his outlet into a evacuation shelter. Moreover, a CNN report recounted the story of an elderly woman’s daughter who, not knowing who else to call, phoned the store to tell them of her home and flood-bound mother. Not only did Mattress Mack put her up, he hired a crew to rip out the drenched drywall and prepare her home for its eventual re-building.

>Wi-fi providers Comcast, Spectrum and Verizon all stepped up, offering service to non-customers and unlimited data.

>Apple, a fairly consistent “good buddy” brand, has made donating easy via iTunes.

I don’t know about you, but moving forward I’m certainly going to have a different feeling about many of these companies. I’m positively predisposed to giving them by business. And isn’t that what every company wants from its prospects?

It doesn’t take a natural disaster, a catastrophic event or any other drama to figure out what we’re made of. Every day, companies who’ve taken the time to articulate what they stand for are able to demonstrate, via their employees and their actions, why they deserve our time, attention and money. Recently, I also saw a story about a returning vet who required the use of a service animal and was having a hard time finding an employer who’d accept the two of them. Lowe’s looked at the situation differently and hired him. Love you, Lowes.

Companies are not people. The only conscience they have is the one we imbue them with and codify. It was deeply gratifying to see these companies put their values into action with such diligence and confidence, and I look forward to seeing more companies follow suit.

On the other hand, personal giving is always good, too.

American Red Cross – text “Irma” or “Harvey” to 90999 to contribute $10.

Los Angeles Copywriter Shares 8 Tips

Los Angeles Freelance Copywriter’s Words to the Wise

Before we get into this blog post on copywriting tricks of the trade, I’d like to make a few points for those who may not be as familiar with professional copywriting. Often, startup entrepreneurs and small business owners fall into a dangerous trap of thinking that copy is just the words we need to fill in on our website or whatever the tactic of the month may be. Due to everything on their plates, they forget that clarity around why they even exist and how to properly communicate their value to their prospects are sales and success imperatives. Just as you wouldn’t hire a mumbling, meandering, monotone salesperson, you shouldn’t go to market without the aid of a professional copywriter at your service.

Another misconception is that copywriting is just about words, that what you need is a wordsmith. In my opinion, genuine copywriting has less to do with the actual words on the page than it does with determining the key concepts and ideas that will resonate with your targets. This is why the most highly paid and awarded talents on Madison Avenue are, first and foremost, the strategists. Then come the idea generators, and “writing” at this level includes the ability to conceptualize and think visually. After that, it’s those who can write on-brand, conversational copy across all media. Then, the media-specific specialists. Then, everybody else.

Watch your language!

All of that said, when it does come to the actual writing, you do need to keep things flavorful. But great copywriting is the art of balance: if you go overboard, you wind up with flowery, purple prose that may gild the lily but will fail to persuade or sell. But if you pay insufficient attention to the language tools and figures of speech that make reading or hearing something easy and enjoyable, you will lose attention, interest, excitement and, ultimately, readership.

Los-Angeles-website-copywriter-freelance-copywriter-Los-whitepaper-cover-Articulated-Brands-Scott-Silverman

A whitepaper on copywriting by Los Angeles freelance copywriter Scott Silverman is available for free download in the marketing resources section of this website.

8 Copywriter’s Tools and Tricks of the Trade

1. Alliteration is something we all probably remember from a class or unit on poetry. It’s the repetition of the same sound, occurring at the beginning of the words. Sentences with similar sounds show smooth style… but be careful of overuse. Blatantly boring.
2. Allusion is a reference to something other than the subject matter, used to illuminate the topic at hand via a (hopefully) known commodity. For example, if we describe your company as the King Kong of widgets, we know you’re big in the industry (and perhaps a tad angry.)
3. Anaphora is the repetition of a series of words. A series of words establishes a rhythm. A series of words can increase drama and impact. A series of words can make for more engaging speeches and marketing collateral copywriting.
4. Antiphrasis is just another word for sarcasm; we say one thing but the intention is the opposite. I’m thrilled about my recent weight gain. Aren’t you impressed?
5. Euphemism is when we “soften” the potential harshness of something. A trouble-making toddler becomes high-strung and curious. A warehouse full of unsold goods becomes a sea of opportunities. As you can imagine, euphemism is popular in advertising, especially when you need to describe the “before state.” Your clients’ businesses aren’t tanking; they’re experiencing cash flow challenges.
6. Hyperbole is probably advertising’s most commonly used figure of speech as the exaggeration of things helps us get to a more concrete understanding of what is being communicated. Also, it intensifies the emotions and promises that speak to the buyer’s desires. But before you dismiss it, consider this: many of the most effective marketing communications throughout history were deeply rooted in hyperbole. Taking things to their logical extreme (often via metaphor), provides copywriters (and comedians and screenwriters) a useful device for making their points memorably.
7. Metaphor is a comparison. While with simile we use the words “like” or “as” to make a direct comparison, metaphor cuts out the middleman, as it were, and simply substitutes the reference for the original. Whereas Chevy used to be “Like a rock,” a simile, Prudential used to promise you your “Piece of the rock.” Nobody was hurting for rocks; they got the idea. Want to be a better copywriter or marketer? Work on your metaphors. Rock on!
8. Oxymoron is the use of two words that seem to not go together, sometimes by outright contradiction, other times simply by the clash in their worlds of reference. For the former, familiar example would be “mud baths” or “deafening silence.” For the latter, Pluto, before it lost its cred, used to be referred to as the “dwarf planet”. Often used for sardonic, humorous effect, other examples could include “airline food”, “tax advantage”, and “bipartisan cooperation”.

If you enjoyed this first list of 8 copywriter tips and tricks, please let me know. I’ll get to work on the next 8 for you pronto!

8 Business-to-Business Branding Tips From A B2B Branding Consultant

B2B branding is quite a bit more challenging than B2C… maybe that’s why I love it so much!

As a Los Angeles branding consultant and the owner of a branding agency, I may not be able to simplify branding into a DIY project, but I can certainly share with you some of the fundamentals. When you’re trying to increase leads, revenue and market share, it doesn’t take long to recognize that you’re going to have increase interest, understanding and enthusiasm first. To do that, you can take a narrow approach – thinking only about the next “miracle” marketing tactic or your next campaign. Or, you can do what that wise third little pig did… and build your business house in brick.

When it comes to branding and business development, which little pig are you? Straw, wood or brick?

Building your house in brick means you’ve had sufficient marketing and general business experience to understand how perception management and the creation of customers truly happens. You know what you really want is not a series of one-note, one-off marketing tactics but an orchestrated concert. That’s why my job as a branding consultant isn’t just to make you look pretty; the real challenge for the consummate brand strategist is to build the seeds of your customer connections into your brand’s DNA. This way, every action and piece of communication can do a better job in helping you sing your company’s song. Not only does having a strong brand behind you increase performance on each initiative, but the cumulative impact is that you have established brand equity you can trade on in the future.

When I say “trade on,” I mean anyone who thinks sales are made in the moment is simply kidding himself or herself. To be able to “trade on” accumulated brand equity means you understand that a Sale is not a moment in time, but a culminating event. What is the event? The transfer of trust. They have heard your uniquely beautiful song; your consistency bespeaks your authenticity and your integrity. You can read more about Message-Centric Branding™.

Just as a great salesperson needs more than a come-on to run on, a company needs a brand. The straw and wood of this or that tactic often only serve to create the illusion of action. They don’t endure and they actually wind up costing you a whole lot more in the long run. Building in brick means your vision and values aren’t seasonal; you’ve taken the time to understand your target connections and your differentiators. Because if the creation of customers doesn’t sit at your company’s foundation, I’d like to ask you: what does?

8 B2B Branding Tips From A Los Angeles Brand Strategist

  1. Position actually trumps brand when it comes to long-term B2B marketing success… and that’s coming from a dyed-in-the-CMYK brand zealot! Know the unique pain points you exist to solve and be clear on the unique value your clients derive from working with you… instead of the competition. Position first, then brand.
  2. Be sure you have buy-in from every department from Sales to HR and Operations, but be wary of “creative by committee” and groupthink that will only interfere with what you really want: a memorable, cohesive, differentiated brand presence that advances your near-term Sale and creates equity that you will want to leverage in the future.
  3. If you’re simultaneously thinking about re-doing your website, start with clear objectives and a clean communications brief. Be sure that brief doesn’t stop at laundry lists; a stellar brand brief specifically spells out how we’re going to create interest and excitement with your most desired prospects.
  4. From there, establish a well-organized and intuitive site architecture. A streamlined and enjoyable user experience telegraphs a similarly outstanding customer experience.
  5. Just because it’s B2B doesn’t mean it has to be boring and dry. Just a sprinkling of creative panache communicates volumes about your business’ professionalism and marketplace maturity.
  6. Address the needs of different vertical markets with specific messaging. “All things to all people” most commonly leads to insufficient juice for anybody to get all that excited about.
  7. In today’s B2B world, remember: people are doing much more of their own research and decision-making pre-sale. To make it to their “short list,” be sure you’ve established the authority position with content that affirms your leadership and provides value along the buyer’s journey.
  8. SEO matters – even if your current plans don’t call for a major organic web marketing or Pay Per Click campaign, you want to rank as high as possible. Know your keywords and their contextual brethren.

Hope that gives you a little insight into how I help people build stronger brands. If you’d like more specific commentary on your business, I’m happy to help. You know where to find me! Though your soon-to-be-beloved brand consultant here is based in Los Angeles, I’m capable of serving from New York, Chicago, Nashville and Miami to Dallas, Seattle and Portland. (You get the idea.)

8 Branding Tips To Accelerate Small Business Performance

Branding tips so you, too, can increase customer/client interest and enthusiasm

You’ve heard (read) me saying it before, but it bears repeating. Branding isn’t what most people think it is. Sure, it includes fancy names, logos and websites, but beneath all of that, there’s something even bigger and more powerful. Done right, your brand is actually your customer creation formula. Done well, the entire company is reverse-engineered to marketplace needs and wants. When your brand is in the hands of an expert, it isn’t just your marketing that promotes company growth, but when the entire organization is properly aligned, its every word and deed serves in a virtuous circle of promise-making and promise-keeping.

As a Los Angeles brand strategist and copywriter, my job is to better connect you to the people who matter most to your success.

Branding’s holistic nature means that, by definition, it doesn’t readily lend itself to quick tip sheets and phoned-in work. You’ve got to want it more than that. And if you are looking to increase your organization’s strategic firepower and accelerate the pace of growth, sure, you can settle for fast and cheap. But is it reasonable to think results will somehow arrive disproportionately to the effort put forth? Nevertheless, it is my intent to be valuable in this blog post for you. So, what I want to do here is share with you some of the things I find myself thinking about when helping my fellow marketers crack their brand strategies.

8 Branding Tips, Or, More Practically Speaking, the 8 Principles of Branding Your Organization Needs to Understand

  1. Worry about aesthetics and marketing tactics only after you’ve arrived at a solid strategy for advancing both the near-term Sale and the company. This way, the wow that captivates and motivates is built into your very foundation; you get to experience the cumulative impact from every company action and sales initiative.
  2. Don’t stop at standard benefits. Pay attention to the emotional benefits, experiential benefits and self-expressive benefits your brand enables.
  3. Know how you’re different… meaningfully different!
  4. Pay more attention to the why of your existence (see the Simon Sinek Ted Talk, if you haven’t already.)
  5. Of course, be authentic. Your vision & values are immensely important, but it’s not only about you. What you really want to identify is the overlap between your beliefs and those of your various brand audiences.
  6. Prioritize the big concepts and ideas your company is about over laundry lists, and let those core messages help you organize the rest of your Sale.
  7. When expressing yourself, remember: if you can’t capture attention first, nothing else you have to say matters. Shoot for the moon. The bolder and brighter, the better.
  8. Both in B2B and B2C, a little humor conveys a warmth and congeniality like nothing else can… except maybe for an earnest welcome mat, possibly featuring Ziggy. (Sorry, Ziggy.)

“Hey, who put Branding into my Business Development?”

I did. And I’m not sorry in the least. Because business moves fast, and when you’ve got a chance to accomplish multiple business objectives in one fell swoop, you take it. If you’ve got questions about your company’s pace of growth, your marketing or your brand, you call me. We chat. If you think there’s a fit between your goals and my message-centric branding™ approach, we agree to roll up our sleeves and get down to business. If not, we thank each other for our time and move on. Easy-peasy. Come to think of it, what is that I see right there? A phone!? Wow. Talk about kismet. You should really use that to call me right now.

7.5 Ways This Los Angeles Brand Consultant Supports You

Brand-consultant-agency-Los-Angeles-CA-copywriter-Scott-Silverman-Articulated-Brands-Orgodomo-Website7.5 Ways This Los Angeles Brand Consultant Supports You

The people have spoken. They like lists. Specifically, numbered lists. Who knew?

So, without further ado, here’s a short list summarizing how I give my clients a leg up over their competitors.

What does a brand consultant do?

  1. Accelerates your near-term growth while building future, leverage-able equity
  2. Facilitates greater team understandings of what branding really is, bridges silos and engages all stakeholders by demonstrating how the brand applies to all departments from sales to operations to HR (recruitment, retention, engagement)
  3. Helps you communicate and lead by reducing your vision from the abstract to the concrete and operational
  4. Brings greater clarity and focus, as well as objectivity and fresh energy to your business development initiatives
  5. Defines your values, differentiators and benefits in a way that resonates with prospects
  6. Draws out from your core values the emotional benefits, experiential benefits and self-expressive benefits that invite greater connection, greater leads, greater market share
  7. Increases efficiency by creating greater organizational alignment and increases marketing efficiency by identifying a more robust set of strategic communications criteria

7.5  Lastly, only lastly, tends to the superficial, making you look, sound and perform like the creative marketing force you want to be

The image above: a recent branding and website example

One of my all-time favorite things to do is leverage the principles of big business branding on behalf of the smaller business. It’s not that I don’t have valuable things to say to Coke and GE; it’s just that I’m not as passionate about it. I’m relational. I like to connect with people in a way that makes a concrete impact on their lives and businesses. (Visit the live website of white-glove relocation and home organization specialist Orgodomo™.)

To brand or not to brand? That is NOT the question.

You already have a brand. The question is whether that brand sits atop the right position; the question is whether your brand fully leverages who you are in light of what your best prospects need to hear from you. Message-centric branding™ offers you a more practical approach to increasing performance across the board. If you’re ready to look beneath the surface of logos and pretty websites and find out what genuine brand strategy can do for you… I know just the right guy: me. (Operator standing by.)

Small business naming agency’s ideal client

Are you this small business naming agency’s ideal client?

This naming agency business is full of war stories. Just the other day, I had the good fortune of sitting down with a tremendously bright and experienced trademark lawyer. He’s seen his share of lackluster names, seen the results of well-intended punsters and he knows what’s out there service-wise. Our discussion prompted me to riff a bit here on why the process goes so badly for so many so often and how I think I’ve been able to defeat the odds. (No time for humility here – that’s on reserve for the brand vision inside you. For me, the only way to truly honor that vision is to meet it head-on: with whip-smart strategy and a process that mitigates the risks smaller businesses and smaller budgets face when trying to tackle creative projects.)

But, full disclosure: my ideal naming client doesn’t really need to be sold on the value of a good name. If he/she could afford it, he/she would absolutely be talking to the larger naming agencies.

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Recent name for a golf app by small business naming agency Articulated Brands of Los Angeles.

The more you understand naming’s unique objectives and challenges, the more you recognize the value here.

Thinking back, my ideal client has already tried to come up with names. Cocktail napkins. Endless hours on Google. Often, they’ve already gone the crazy Uncle Lenny and the crowd-sourced naming routes, coming up not only empty-handed but delayed and demoralized. If that’s not bad enough, on a few occasions, I’ve actually had to do cleanup work for clients who were utterly dissatisfied with the work of other reputable firms.

(That said, do I mind if you need some reinforcement about the investment you’re about to make and why? Absolutely not. It really is my privilege and my pleasure to answer all of your questions, even the tough ones, and to help demystify some of the notions around naming and branding in general.)

Where do many naming agencies and company namers get it wrong?

  1. Monkeys typing Shakespeare (Myth: the more people working on my project, the greater the chances of success. Reality: only one person is going to nail your new name by “getting you” the most. “Safety in numbers” simply does not apply to the company naming and product naming disciplines.)
  2. Inadequate listening.
  3. No real investment into the underlying business model.
  4. Branding over positioning. (Big, hairy mistake. And just asking you simple questions, without challenging you on the premises or analyzing the business imperatives, does NOT qualify as a legitimate briefing process.)
  5. Puns and misspellings and pedestrian polyglot, oh my!

How I’ve achieved success as a business naming consultant:

  1. A unique combination of analytical and creative strengths.
  2. A deep understanding of branding, positioning and business development.
  3. Uncommon focus and tenacity.
  4. A proven desire to help people get where they want to go.
  5. Infectious humor and enthusiasm – a happy process leads to happy names.

When it comes to the high costs of company naming, it pays to get it right the first time.

If you, like Goldilocks, have been searching for a just-right, priced-right option, I’m here for you. Clearly, naming is not an inexpensive undertaking. Not for you and not for me, either. (When you add up the hours that typically go into a naming assignment*, it’s not what you’d call a profit center. It just happens to be something I love doing for people.)

Is it a big naming agency you’re after or simply a killer name?

You: an innate appreciation for BOTH creative abundance and a streamlined creative process, a passion for bringing your new brand to life in the most meaningful manner possible, and a budget of five to ten grand, depending upon the number of options you desire and a few other factors.

Me: a total commitment to your naming success.

Call me on it.

*A naming assignment requires 48 – 68 hours of high-speed name generation work, depending upon the category and the number of options you’ve requested. In a future blog post, I’ll explain why the caffeine-fueled journey takes “so long,” even for a quick thinker.

Brand Discovery Objectives

What are the objectives of brand discovery?

While brand discovery can range from superficial and cosmetic to deep and probing, a typical goal is to provide a starting point for a comprehensive brand assessment. Brand discovery may then be said to share objectives with both brand assessments and brand strategy: more pronounced differentiation, greater impact, resonance, consistency and alignment, the establishment of guidelines for a brand refresh, and the opportunity to bring new ideas and new solutions to marketing or business issues to the fore. In order for a business to garner a competitive edge or maintain its success, it must remain in step with an ever-changing marketplace.

Brand discovery often serves as a check-in point or re-focusing milestone for the company: we said we needed to be x in order to capture opportunities a, b and c… are we doing that? Have we gone astray? Are we missing something essential? Are we proactively identifying the ideas and opportunities that will increase success and widen the competitive moat?

Companies take advantage of the brand discovery exercise because they want:

  1. To express their authentic vision, internally and externally
  2. To more effectively and efficiently garner attention
  3. To influence perceptions and cultivate positive predispositions
  4. To influence behaviors (both customers and employees)
  5. To increase engagement and foster loyalty (both customers and employees)

Is brand discovery similar to other strategy sessions or planning workshops we may have already done?

Today’s brand discovery, assuming you are working with a qualified and experienced brand consultant or agency, is not your father or mother’s “let’s all get together and work on our mission statement” agony session. Similar to any other strategic planning or organizational development initiative, but quite possibly the parent of them all, brand discovery is an exploration into the essence of the company. The branding team and other stakeholders assemble to ask who we are today in relation to who are customers are, who we want to be and who we may need to be, in order to better leverage strengths and overcome weaknesses as the company identifies and seizes opportunities while mitigating threats and risks.