The Name Game, Part 3

This is the third and final piece in this series on naming. The first column dealt with how to select a naming firm, the second one addressed the components that go into creating a great corporate name, and this final piece will deal with other venues within the naming field. A lot of focus and attention is brought to bear on the topic of corporate naming as this is the most visible high impact area of naming. However naming applies to products, services, projects, reports, books and publications, newsletters, microsites, blogs, intellectual property, business practices and a long list of other areas that often receive less attention. Unlike corporate naming, which receives everyone’s attention, the smaller naming genres are often left to individual brand managers or staff members. Regrettably these people often operate with a singular focus or agenda, outside of best practices, and without a global perspective. This focus at the granular level can sometimes have the opposite effect of what is being sought after in the way of desired results. I have seen many a product or service name actually dilute brand value as opposed to increase it. Every company should have a naming strategy and process that is consistent with corporate vision, and as a subcomponent of the overall brand strategy. Naming should have an integrated process across the enterprise to insure that an individual naming effort doesn’t detract from the overall brand strategy and dilute brand equity. Brand guidelines need to specifically address naming conventions and protocols such that cross product, business compatibility, color pallets, phraseology, font style and sizes, and other criteria are considered in the process. The keys to ensuring a proper outcome across business units and product lines is having continuity, clarity, and consistency in your naming conventions. Each new name created and implemented should add value to the overall brand by enhancing and strengthening the preexisting names. So rather than pushing naming down, I would suggest that most firms would be better served by elevating all naming up the chain of command, along with engaging an outside naming firm for advice and counsel. The time spent giving naming the proper attention and focus will lead to a stronger brand and solid return on investment.I hope this series on naming has been of benefit. Good luck and good branding!