What’s In A Name?

May 19 2014

 


Whether naming a person or a product the power of naming has been immortalized for centuries in the bible, through poetry and in rites of passage. Choosing the appropriate name is vitally important, nothing is used more than a name. Take my name for example, in Hebrew Jodi translates to bright, lively and social. Of course there was no way of knowing this when my parents named me but I would say my name does suit me. In some cultures they have a naming ceremony after a baby is born. Naming is taken so seriously in Senegal for example, that they wait a week to observe the baby’s characteristics, temperament and look at the shape of any birthmarks to determine the best name for the child.


Selecting a name plays a critical role in influencing buying decisions of products as well. A great name can enhance a company’s brand appeal, while a poor name can weaken an otherwise excellent brand. When it comes to names, brands only get one chance to make a good first impression. The name must capsulate the features and benefits of a product in a way that the consumers can relate to and understand.


At CNMI, when we develop a new name for our clients, we start with an idea generation session. As we go through our process we consider both internal and external criteria along with aspirational and symbolic qualities. 


External:

  • Ownership
  • Personality
  • Distinction
  • Reputation
  • Differentiation
  • Retention
  • Positioning
  • Share of mind

Internal:

  • Company self-awareness
  • Culture
  • Alignment
  • Cohesion
  • Individualization
  • Relationship
  • Bonding 

When determining a naming protocol, companies need to examine their target audience and key drivers, as well as how well the name resonates in tone and personality. Once this is done, consider how the name might be abbreviated and look at abstract uses. For example, Chevrolet employees are responsible for calling their vehicles Chevy. At first, management forbid the abbreviated but now it is consider a more modern way to describe their brand. People and companies spend thousands of dollars and multiple hours on the process of naming. Apparently Shakespeare was wrong when he wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” If a rose had been called a Monkshood instead, which means deadly foe, would we love it just the same?

For assistance with naming or marketing projects contact Jodi Cross at jcross@crossnm.com.