16 Aug

Developing Brand Names

Naming Process Overview Post Header Infographic

In addition to the work we do that you'd expect from a brand communication firm, things like websites, sales materials, presentation design, and logos, another service that we provide is naming. We've helped develop many names for brands, companies and products. Over the years we've learned a few things about how to develop names. Here are 5 things we've learned that makes the process successful.


Graphic Above: The Stressdesign 10 Step Process for naming. Download a detailed version here.

1. Responsibility

No matter how well planned and thought-out your team is, there's got to be someone at the customer level who is responsible for all internal communications and approvals. Ideally one person, or a small group. 3 people max. Without this person in-place, the process dies. This person at your client will be the Brand Advocate for the new launch.

2. Transparency

Transparency is really important in order to communicate plans, launch schedule and buy-in across the organization. You're not going to make everyone happy, so forget that notion. However, there will be people at your client who are excited and who can help spread the excitement by being "Brand Cheerleaders." The more you can share by way of leading the team and your client through the process the better. You can also help the client by providing talking points and setting the compass to where you're going. 

Important note. When your team is preparing to announce the name forward, positive momentum is important for success. Typically, new naming updates are shared as informational, not for large group approval. As such, open questions like "What do you think of our new name/logo" is detrimental. Instead, direct the conversation by saying "Our new name/logo is [new name here] and we'll be using it starting on [specific date here]. Identify internal, external, and "VIP" audiences who need to know this info, and help support the name change or introduction.

3. Staging

For a successful roll-out it's important to stage things out over time. There should be a concrete date when the new name takes effect, but it may be months before that new sign goes on the building. Setting expectations here is key. Everything can't be done at once, so don't try. Setting expectations and a phased launch schedule supports transparency and builds-in the ability to be flexible.

4. Celebrate

Create ways to celebrate the new brand. A company event where everyone gets a t-shirt or pen or a custom notebooks with the new name on it. A public event — depending on company size— where officials, press, and partners are invited to help generate broader awareness and word-of-mouth.

5. Guts

Naming takes guts. The process must be rooted in confidence and direction. Committees don't have confidence. Company wide consensus is not confident. There must be someone with approval authority driving the process who — when all the research, process and options are presented — says this is our name.

Then what? Then it's time to make it real. Promote the new brand to your world.


Download a PDF of our process overview. The PDF contains more detail to accompany the infographic above.

Coming Next

In our next post, we'll share a roll-out schedule on how to approach a naming for a small to mid-size organization or brand name, and a list of things to consider for a corporate naming exercise.

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