What's in a Name?

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Siegel+Gale's Global Director of Research Insights Lisa Bertelsen and Global Director of Naming Nik Contis co-presented the session "What’s In a Name? Unlocking powerful brand names through market research" at MRA 2012 Annual Conference and Expo. The session looked at naming from the perspective of a market researcher and seasoned "namer," offering guidance on name evaluation and research design.

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What's in a Name?

  1. 1. The next 60 minutes+ Nuts and bolts of name research+ What name research can accomplish+ How to prepare for research+ Different research methodologies+ Pitfalls to avoid when designing research and interpreting data 1
  2. 2. Naming: A high-stakes game+ Trademark clearance+ Linguistic reviews+ Registration of domain names+ Positioning+ Visual identity 2
  3. 3. Why validate a name?+ To determine whether a name accomplishes its purpose: + Distinctiveness + Consideration+ To understand how a name affects perception: + How does it contribute value to the brand? + What is the brand personality that the name helps to create? + Does the name help the brand stretch (e.g., price tiers, need states, different product categories)?+ To mitigate risk (e.g. perform a disaster check)+ To help inform the rationale for a name decision and overcome factors that can sway decision-making: + Biases + Internal politics + Idiosyncrasies 3
  4. 4. Scenarios in which name research is useful+ Merger or acquisition + When a new company name is a possible outcome, you can determine the equity of that name and how it maps to the equity of the existing company brands+ Complex issues surrounding brand architecture + The ability of a name to encompass different price tiers or need states+ Regional performance of various names+ Competing agendas or company politics+ Consensus-driven corporate culture 4
  5. 5. What name research should not be used for+ To pick a ―winning‖ name+ To determine the likeability of a name+ A means of soliciting ideas from consumers+ When options are so similar or extremely literal Which do you prefer… - “I.Q.” - “Smart” OR - “Professional” ? 5
  6. 6. AssociationsThoughts, feelings andimagery that people tie towords 6
  7. 7. DimensionalityGreater dimensionality is a keyindicator, at face value, of aname’s ability to be memorableand engage consumers at anemotional level 7
  8. 8. FlexibilityThe more flexible a name is, theeasier it is to adapt to differentproduct line extensions or price tiersNames with greater flexibility canprovide companies with more up-market (or down-market) stretch 8
  9. 9. ValuecontributionHow well the name contributes value tothe concept, category or brand 9
  10. 10. Messaging,voice andpositioningDeveloped from the language people use todescribe their needs and the personalitytraits they assign to the brand 10
  11. 11. EmotionalengagementHow a name makes a person feel 11
  12. 12. PronounceabilityHow can you remember (or recommend)a product if you can’t say it? 12
  13. 13. AuditoryresonanceHow a name sounds and whether thename matches peoples perception ofthe product or category 13
  14. 14. Consumerneeds- Functional and emotional benefits- What drives preference- How you measure up 14
  15. 15. Linguisticcheck andtrademarksearch 15
  16. 16. Brandarchitecture- What role it will play in naming- Competitor/category naming conventions 16
  17. 17. The pros and cons of different methodologiesIt is important to remember that, regardless of the methodologyyou choose, qualitative thinking drives name research Qualitative Quantitative+ Explores respondents’ + Results are projectable perceptions, feelings and the (representative of the entire associations they have with population being researched) particular words and brand + Confers statistical rigor and+ One on one (IDI) format validity+ Respondents can fully + Can also be more time- and interact with stimuli cost-effective 17
  18. 18. Eliciting feedback–the phased reveal+ Round I: The name at face value+ Round II: The name in context+ Round III: Association with the corporate brand 18
  19. 19. Certain names may test better than othersCoined words Evocative words Suggestive words(Kleenex) (Cloud tissues) (SofTish tissues)+ ―Made up‖ means + Rich range of + Literal and more these can be difficult to associations familiar, so tend to connect with functional perform better attributes + Tend to engage, support an experience + Require less ―thinking‖+ Can be more or interpretation distinctive (implications + Not as transparent as for trademark suggestive names + May not stand out clearance and domain name searches)+ More ambiguous = more flexible+ Less polarizing 19
  20. 20. Context is important…+ Ecological validity is critical+ Without it, our understanding of human perceptions and decision-making is flawed+ Notional applications (e.g., a business card, an advertisement) contribute to what is being communicated about the product, so they should be tested when possible 20
  21. 21. With brand attributes, more doesn’tmean better+ Names should deliver on the characteristics that your product or company wants to be associated with+ But names alone do not need to convey all the desired attributes+ Look also to typography, logo, in-store experience and advertising 21
  22. 22. Memorability is good, but difficult to measure+ You need to be top-of-mind if you want people to buy+ High imagery names are easier to remember than low imagery names+ Memorability can lead to greater word-of-mouth sharing, making it cheaper to build brand awareness+ But true testing requires a time lapse, ideally when the decision-making takes place 22
  23. 23. Brands and categories fit differently+ ―Fit to brand‖ and ―fit to category‖ are typical metrics+ But ―fit to category‖ can be at odds with differentiation+ Differentiated ideas are initially disliked by people because they are unfamiliar 23
  24. 24. Key takeaways+ Name research can reveal what a word does for a brand+ It can also mitigate risk+ But it is critical to understand what research can and cannot achieve+ If done well, research can provide insight into: + What associations words can create—be they imagery, sounds, feelings or experiences + How people respond to particular words + The impact of a name on their relationship to your product, service or corporate brand 24

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