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How to Effectively Name Your New Offering

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White Paper December 8, 2016 by Jean-Pierre Lacroix
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How to Effectively Name Your New Offering

Product or company brand names are critical as they represent a significant portion of the value of an organization. When effectively thought out, a strong name reinforces an emotional benefit of the brand, which is critical to being considered during the decision purchase process. Our experience, having developed names for such companies as Dairy Queen, A&W, KFC and Popeye’s to name just a few, has demonstrated there is a proven process that can ensure the name is well received by consumers.

In the age of globalization and the internet, naming is a much more complex challenge than it once was. URL availability and consideration to how the name translates in different languages are now key factors, and options such as crowdsourcing are now easy for anyone to initiate. However, given the overwhelming competition and the new ways in which people are searching for and choosing places to eat, a good name is more important than ever. A catchy name is good, but not good enough unless it meets other conditions as well. The criteria Shikatani Lacroix Design considers when looking at name options are:

  • Trademark and URL are available
  • Can be easily pronounced in the native language
  • Has no negative pronunciation or phonetic impact in other languages
  • Is memorable with strong recall capabilities
  • Differentiated
  • Reinforces the brand promise
  • Easily transferrable to a visual metaphor
  • Will not be easily dated

These criteria are based on over 30 years of name development experience, and make up a key component of the Think Blink naming process, which we have leveraged for numerous companies with enormous success.

Crowdsourcing is one route to go when choosing a name, however we consider it to be appropriate in certain circumstances only, for example when naming something that is connected to a particular community, such as a sports team. If you are naming a restaurant entering today’s competitive environment, an open forum is not advised, as it is unlikely to result in a name that meets our above criteria. Given the enormous advantage a strong name can bring to a brand, we advise consultation with a naming or branding firm, following a process like our Think Blink process.

A strong name will become a tangible, valuable asset for your company, and the even better news is that the process of choosing a name, though challenging, is also generally enjoyable. A brainstorming session allows your team to come together and really consider your offering in a way that requires everyone to think past convention. Laughter is a big part of the process as participants become more relaxed and creativity starts to flow. Given the right structure, time and participants, a naming process will help you define your restaurant in the minds of customers through a brand name that reinforces your unique point-of-difference and value proposition. In the following paper, we outline in detail our Think Blink naming process, which we have developed for guiding clients towards such a name. We hope this white paper may be helpful as you consider what to call your next endeavor.

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