How To Choose The Darn Name

The perfect name doesn't always jump right out at you, and (surprise, surprise) different people may have different opinions about what it should be. Here's how to get across the finish line.

 Our recommended approach for a group to choose their top six to eight names is as follows:

After the final presentation, do nothing for 24 hours. Well, at least not much. Don’t make any decisions. Limit or avoid discussing the names with others in or out of the group charged with making the selection.

Go back to the creative brief. If the team (client and agency) did a good job with the creative brief it is just as good of a tool to review names as it was to create them. Evaluate the names against the criteria and the creative directions.

Eliminate the names that just aren’t working. If you’ve got a list of 20-25 names, knock out the five to ten names you know are not candidates.

Spend time with the remaining 15 or so names. Envision them in context, e.g. packaging, on the website, etc. Add the likely corporate or product descriptor or legal entity, e.g. Inc, LLC.

Regroup and discuss the names. After 24-48 hours, get together with the group responsible for selecting the names. By now, everyone will likely have their top three – five names. Focus the discussion on the names that don’t have consensus. If there’s a name that’s on your short list but not others, make a case for it. You may see something – a design opportunity, a connection to the positioning – that your colleagues did not see. Along those lines, be open minded to same cases made by others.

Half the battle is simply understanding that you’re building a brand – not picking one. It’s a bit like your home. Ever noticed that you buy a house, but go home? It takes the decorations and landscaping and more than that, it takes living in the house – holidays, parties and, well life for a house to become a home. A brand is the same way. The name isn’t the brand. It’s just a part of it. Follow a process and months later, you’ll look back at that list of names and wonder why that brand didn’t just jump off the page… it seems so obvious now.