What exactly do name developers do, and how do they tackle a naming assignment? In my latest column for the Visual Thesaurus, I look at the naming process and share some tips for naming products and companies.
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Like a writing project, a naming project begins with research. What is being named — a company, a product, a feature, a program? Why was the company founded or the product invented? What does the name need to communicate — playfulness, security, speed, luxury, practicality? What's the competitive namescape — that is, what do rivals and partners call themselves? Who is the customer or audience — hospital managers, software developers, single parents, international travelers? Where will the name appear — website, magazine ads, T-shirts, trade-show booths, packaging? Will you require an Internet domain? Trademark protection?
Then define the personality of the company or brand. Big and serious, like a global cybersecurity company? Cute and friendly, like a children's clothing boutique? If the business is new, ask about the founders. Are they professors, gourmands, rock-climbers? What makes them tick and what turns them off? Do they share an interesting connection? I once was hired to name a startup whose founders were five brothers; “five,” “brother,” and “family” gave me lots of ideas for an initial round of creative work.