A client is developing a new product, and wants help with naming it. What do you do? What techniques work?
Following a recent e-group post, here are some hints and ideas as to how to approach this problem…
Before the session
- Manage the client's expectations. It is not fair for clients to assume that consumers will come up with amazing names (after all there are consultancies that charge a fortune for doing this)
- Think about the group make up – do you want particularly imaginative/ creative respondents?
- Run an identicle workshop with the client first – not only does it get them thinking (and appreciate the process), it could also generate stimulus that could then be incorporated in the consumer work. I could also be useful to generate criteria or 'name rules' that need to be applied
Design some stimulus to help creativity
- Often people apply assumptions and preconceptions to a sector re what is/ is not possible. It may be a good idea to give people 'permission' to think 'outside the box' by providing examples from different sectors/ industries
- List the different types of names that are possible and take them in turn during the session to see if they are relevant – these may include:
– Proper name – e.g. Hewlett Packard
– Generic: e.g. PC Specialist
– Manipulated: e.g. MicroMax , Lenovo
– Symbolic: e.g. Apple
– Promise: e.g. Precision, Portage
– Meaningful initials: e.g. IBM
– Simply different: e.g. Satellite
- Provide lists of random names as stimulus. Horse names are always a good bet – get hold of a Sporting LIfe and print out race cards. there are usually a wide range and variety of interesitng names which could be used as jumping off points – how could this be made relevant in this field?
- Show the product 'in situ' – physical and situational images showing when/ how the product will be used, the target audience, the problem that the product solves can be used to spark ideas
- create images of different brand Archetypes with examples (e.g. The Hero, The Outlaw etc) and get the groups to work out which characters they want to be and choose a name which fits that character
During the session
- Define (or summarise if already clearly defined) the objectives for the name: what it should communicate in terms of brand values, type of product, any distinctions from competitors / other issues to avoid. This goes up on the wall as key objectives for session to deliver on. This exercise may well follow a more intense 'product developemtn' session where the product features are being discussed/ ranked etc.
- Set up rules separating name generation from name selection (otherwise early criticism can stifle creativity)
- Do some brand projection exercises to make brief come to life – if it was a pet it would be…, if it was a car it would be…, how describe to visitor from Mars etc. Maybe use this to add more detail to naming objectives.
- Put participants into small groups and get them to come up with name ideas – maybe different groups covering different directions. Have copies of Thesaurus / dictionaries to hand for them to use.
- After groups have presented back, run voting to get shortlist (maybe people voting with stickers)
- …repeat as necessary!
After the session, remember to;
- Consider running a second client workshop, or even a client/ consumer workshop to review the names that have been generated and come up with some clear winners
- Check the name/s with as many colleagues as possible who speak different languages and of different generations to make sure we have unearthed any cultural/ colloquial / generational issues
- Check the names online to see who the competitors are / which other industries the name is used in
If you have any more ideas/ techniques, please email and we will add them to the list…