Secrets of Strategic Naming - A.C. Peterson


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Why you need to think about naming as a marketing strategy - not just a clever word.

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Secrets of Strategic Naming - A.C. Peterson

  1. 1. Secrets of strategic naming Amanda C. Peterson Brand strategist & geek
  2. 2. “I want a _______ name.”
  3. 3. It’s not about you.
  4. 4. Your name is the way you help others understand who you are.
  5. 5. It’s for the audience OK, but what is it? What does it do? What’s the difference? Why on earth would I want it? Why is it in my data center / kitchen shopping cart / sales invoice?
  6. 6. A name is more than a combination of letters.
  7. 7. What does a name really do?
  8. 8. A name isn’t a brand – but it is a mental bookmark for the brand.
  9. 9. Infinity =
  10. 10. Dove =
  11. 11. Names help a customer understand who it’s for and what they can expect. But it gets meaning from all the other elements aligning to the promise. So, what are we really able to promise?
  12. 12. No strategy is worse than bad strategy.
  13. 13. Target market insight Who are we talking to? What do they want? Unique value proposition What do we offer? What can we deliver? How are we different from the competition? What we will never be Who are we *not* for? What will we never do? What needs don’t we meet? Positioning
  14. 14. A name can only do one or two things. Names rarely live out of context. Names shouldn’t change – but sales pitches and copy can. The product should ALWAYS be cooler than the name on it.
  15. 15. Relationship to the master brand How descriptive is the name? How will the master brand appear? Name attributes What kind of conversation are we having with the customer? What part of the story does the name need to tell? How unique are we? Who are we like? Who are we different from? How will we invest to tell the story? Naming strategy
  16. 16. Naming, even with expensive experts, is the cheapest part of a new name.
  17. 17. How much money, time and effort will it take it build that mental bookmark?
  18. 18. Type of name Descriptive Suggestive Abstract Examples Bed Bath & Beyond NetFlix jetBlue Fidelity Swiffer Xerox What it does Describes what it is or does Suggests a benefit or experience Arbitrary Words it uses Real words Real words or slight tweaks Unconnected real words or coined words Connection to brand Relies on the master brand for distinctiveness Creates some distinctiveness – and distance from what the master brand stands for Demands ongoing, heavy investment – and disconnects from the master brand Clarity Requires little to no explanation Requires explanation Requires long term investment in explanation Legal issues Easy to use, hard to protect Harder to use, some protection Difficult to clear, can be more protected Strategy Investment in strengthening the master brand Investment in stretching the master brand Investment in the term above all else
  19. 19. “Consumers are enthusiastic about adopting new product innovations but somewhat apprehensive about embracing new brands. In order for consumers to adopt new brands, marketers need to launch very strong awareness and trial-building campaigns, supported by a positive product experience.” 60%Of global consumers with Internet access prefer to buy new products from a familiar brand rather than switch to a new brand Nielsen Global Survey of New Product Purchase Sentiment – January 2013
  20. 20. “But we need something cool!”
  21. 21. Having to build a new brand isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Having a brand to build more into is cool.
  22. 22. Use just as many brands as you need to tell the story
  23. 23. A brand-distant name is not a reward.
  24. 24. You can’t just sit with the master brand.
  25. 25. How much people pay attention to your master brand Style determines perceived distance + - + Purely descriptive name Totally unexpected name - How unique your product name is Suggestive of the category space
  26. 26. When should we develop a new brand? • You’ve got a new, clear, specific promise to a well-defined target audience for your brand • That isn’t easily described • With enough products to give that promise meaning • With design, features, distribution, pricing, availability, marketing and usability to live up to that promise • The target audience is critical to the business – and is not currently loyal • The marketing budget is established and large enough to make a dent • You are going to be able to stay in the market long enough to build up recognition • …Long enough to build meaning with the customers (long after internal folks and investors get “bored”)
  27. 27. There is no such thing as the perfect name.
  28. 28. The devil has more advocate than angels… …until you succeed.
  29. 29. Establishing criteria is critical The least important criteria in naming is whether you like it • Does it help with navigation and understanding? • Does it tell your story? • Does it speak to your target audience? • Is it memorable? • Does it do something your master brand doesn’t? • Are you sure it doesn’t mean something awful in a language where you might do business? • Is it legally available?
  30. 30. A non-scientific chart Clarity and availability Useable Intuitive Abstract A descriptive name A “cool” name that clearly evokes the category. So cool everyone else already registered it. A name so unclear, obscure or vague that no one wants it. Unavailable
  31. 31. Naming strategy is trademark strategy is brand strategy is business strategy.
  32. 32. You’re only as clever as your lawyer is good. Naming and trademark are one team It’s a risky world. If you’re going to name an omelet, an egg might get cracked and sue you. Legal advises. You make the final decision. • Who else is using it? And how much do they sue people? • How similar to us are they? • Are they in the same international class of goods? The same category? Would a customer get confused? • What impact would it have on our business, our reputation, our stock, our marketing, our PR if we had to cease & desist? • What impact would it have if there was a lawsuit? • How rich does your company look to trademark trolls?
  33. 33. No name will make everyone happy. There is no such thing as a perfect name. And even the perfect name is the wrong name if it makes you late to take advantage of the opportunity. At some point, you have to hold your breath and jump into the void.
  34. 34. Happy naming. May the trademarks be forever in your favor. “Leap and a net will find you.” – Sally Hogshead