What’s in a name?

The name of your product, business or services might just be the most critical element of your brand. Maseem Javed is one of the foremost corporate naming gurus on the planet. He says, “A poor name is the fastest way to hit oblivion.” Maseem’s best-known name is probably “TELUS”, but he has worked with a long list of corporations including: IBM, General Motors, Texaco, Honeywell, Bell Canada and many more. One of his name creations can set you back a cool $100,000. So is it possible to come up with a good name without enlisting in the help of a professional? Perhaps, but it is a tedious process. Below is a strategy that has served me well in the past. You can also check out Masseem’s naming guide for more advice.

  • Research – Who’s your competition, what are they called? Don’t steal names.
  • Brainstorm like a fiend – You should come up with literally a hundred words or more related to the products, people and services you offer. Don’t hold back or filter, that step comes later.
  • Shortlist – Pick your favorite words from the brainstorm and try all manners of combining, conjoining, reforming, and refining.
  • Refine – Think of how the name sounds to speak (does it roll off the tongue?). Is it phonetically correct? Does it sound like something else? Does it mean something else in another language? Can the letters be changed for enhancement? Should the letters be changed for enhancement – or is that cheesy?
  • Test – pick the best names you’ve come up with and do some surveys on what kind of impression they make. Analyze the data and see if you’ve got a winner.

Naming is a skill. It takes a specific understanding of language, creativity, good insight, and practice.