BRANDING | 10 Most Common Naming Mistakes | Part One

May 1, 2018

BRANDING | 10 Most Common Naming Mistakes | Part One

A Great Name is Vital. Don’t Omit Crucial Steps.

When it comes to brands, the name is one of the most important elements of its proposition. A name is often the first act of public branding and helps establish the tone for a product, service, or company. It acts as the primary handle for a brand: It’s a recall and recognition device, it communicates desired attributes or specific benefits, and, through time and consistent use, it becomes a valuable asset and intellectual property.
However, many organizations take a very haphazard approach to naming, often omitting crucial steps that end up making the naming process longer, more arduous—and more expensive.
Following, I’ll explore some of the most common mistakes made when creating or choosing a name, and some tips to avoid them.

1. Treating Naming As An Afterthought

Any serious brand manager approaches a product or company launch with a systematic and clearly defined path—from concept development through to implementation. But naming can often be an afterthought, and usually results in a mad scramble.
Naming is a far more complex process than most people imagine. Creative names are only the beginning of the journey, with many legal and linguistic hurdles that follow—hurdles that often mean the name you thought was great is not available or even that it’s inappropriate.
Start the naming process early in the development phase. Outline the critical steps and build your timing around these. While legally cleared names can be used as early as a month into the trademark process, full trademarks can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months in the U.S. And that’s after you’ve decided on a name.

However, even if after careful planning your timing is tight, call in the professionals. They will make sure you have a name you love and that you legally own.

2. Forgetting That Naming Is As strategic As It Is Creative

Companies often don’t spend enough time defining—and agreeing on—the strategic role of a name. But a great name is rarely that simple because it is different or creative. A great name is one that clearly communicates the positioning and personality of the brand.
In today’s highly competitive environment, the strongest brands are ones that transcend the physical attributes of a product, service, or company to form emotional connections with customers. Names can help do this.

Set out clear strategic objectives, and you’ll find it also gives you clear criteria by which to measure and choose a name. Take into account what the name needs to do today, as well as how it can continue to meet business objectives in the future.

Remember, naming is as much an art as it is a science. Your brand strategy will help you create a name that is relevant and that has stretch and flexibility as your business, and the market evolves.



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