Hello My Name Is Awesome

Hello My Name Is Awesome


Alexandra Watkins



Naming anything inside a company is hard. It’s hard because there isn’t an agreed-upon scientific approach to selecting a name, and everyone has an opinion.

The author of this book Alexandra Watkins runs a naming studio in San Fransisco (EatMyWords). Alexandra must have done this 100 times. The fact that she’s given this book to the world is a gift - and it’s not a plug for the agency, it’s an actionable set of steps to generate names and get them signed off.

Read this book before naming a product!

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Key Takeaways

The 20% that gave me 80% of the value.


Great names evoke the right imagery and emotions in people. Use the right methods, and it's easier to generate and select impactful names that you'd think.

Why Names Matter:

Your name will have countless impressions over its lifetime. Powerful names evoke the right imagery and emotions in your customers. Getting it wrong can have big consequences. You don't want to spend anytime explaining, spelling, pronouncing or apologizing for your name.

Qualities of a great name (SMILE):

Customers are more likely to share, appreciate and remember a name that surprises, entertains or makes them happy. A good name should make you smile, not scratch your head.

Suggestive: The name should evoke something about your brand. It can't say everything, but it can suggest something. Doing so in a non-obvious way, that triggers your imagination is more powerful. E.g. OakTree (an investment firm) evokes stability and longevity.

Memorable: A memorable long name, is better than a forgettable short one. Humans remember things better that we can associate our existing knowledge with. The stickiest names are associated with words and concepts that mean something to us.

E.G. Super Evil Megacorp is a name few forget.

Imagery: Evocative visuals make a strong impression and are hard to forget. The name should conjure up the right imagery. E.g. Timberland (outdoor gear)

Legs: Consider using a name that lends itself to a theme if you need to extend your brand to a family of products.

Emotional: Buying decisions are often driven by emotion. Customers are more likely to buy if a name makes them feel good. E.g Lush (soap), Lexus (luxury)

Qualities to avoid (SCRATCH):

Making excuses for your name devalues your brand. You want customers to understand it, and use it with confidence.

Spelling: If your name isn't spelt how it sounds its a mistake. You don't want it to look like a typo either. Ask how many ways your name could be spelt? Don't change the spelling of words or substitute letters for numbers. Doing so will forever frustrate your customers, embarrass your employees and annoy writers.

Copycat: You'll look like you lack imagination, and open yourself up to trademark disputes if your your name resembles a competitor. Avoid trends like iandything and eanything. It's possible to use words adopted by companies in unrelated industries but be careful. E.g. Pandora (internet radio, jewellery)

Restrictive: Don't restrict yourself with your name. Amazon had a lot of room to grow out from selling books. 24hr Fitness on the other hand can't easily change their opening hours.

Annoying: Avoid frustrating your customers. Make sure your name feels natural, and not nonsensical, grammatically incorrect or contrived. Resist the temptation to be mysterious. Avoid overused suffixes (___ology, ___ly, ___icious, ___ster)

Tame: Flat, overly descriptive and uninspired names won't stick. they don't challenge, excite or stimulate. They require little imagination and reveal nothing about your personality. You'll need a huge advertising budget to overcome this.

Curse of knowledge: When your name speaks only to insiders. The name shouldn't require prior knowledge or a classics degree to mean something. Check the urban dictionary, and other languages for accidental alternative meanings.

Hard to pronounce: A hard to pronounce name confuses and distances customers. We associate clear simple language with positive qualities, such as confidence, intelligence and capability. Don't use all caps, camel case, random capitals or acronyms. Avoid names that can be pronounced in multiple ways. Don't start a name with X

Random Rules:

  • If you have a strong product, don't give it a weak name.
  • B2B companies don't have to pick conservative names. Pick something that says, we love what we do, and you will enjoy working with us.
  • Creative firms all have cool names, so they're harder to name

Different Name Formations

Invented or (coinded) names should feel like a real words and be intuitive to pronounce and spell.

Proper names: Real words or Surnames (Apple, Dell)

Coined Original: Generated from scratch (Kodak)

Lightly Coined: Based largely on real words (Speedo, Samsonite)

Coined Mashup: Combine the sound or meaning of 2 words to form a new one (Pinterest, Labradoodle)

Coined Compound: Linkedin, Facebook, Paypal

Domain Names

You don't need to start with the best domain. Get the name right, make the company successful, come back for the domain later. Plenty of companies have followed that pattern (thefacebook, teslamotors, getdropbox, squareup, basecamphq).

Customers can find you without the perfect domain, search engines and social mean you're easy to find.

Always start with the brand first, don't change the brand for the domain, that's backwards. A creative workaround can solve domain issues. Some of the best workarounds include:

  • Adding a modifier (buy, eat, get, the, try, store, world)
  • Use a domain name suggestion tool line (NameStudio)
  • Try a memorable phrase, that doesn't have to match the name (JoeKnowsCoffee)
  • Make your domain a call to action (just do it, think different)

If there's a price on the domain, offer 30% under the asking price. Otherwise you'll be able to find the owner through whois.net or a broker.

Short isn't always better. Memorable, long and easy to pronounce name is better than a short meaningless one that isn't.

Avoid names you have to spell, using obscure domain extensions to finish your na.me and make sure the words don't spell something unintended (therapistfinder)

The Creative Brief

A brief provides inspiration and focus. It helps you clarify your intentions. It's a great way to engage stakeholders early, and avoid last minute interventions.

1. Goal. What do you want to achieve?

2. In a nutshell. Sum up your brand/product in a sentence

3. Positioning. Where do you want to position yourself in the marketplace? Vs alternatives. Premium? Ethical? Fun?

4. Consumer Insight. Behaviours. Stats.

5. Target Audience. Who are the customers you want to reach? Primary. Secondary.

6. Competition. List your competitors.

7. Brand Experience. How do you want people to feel when they hear the name or use the product?

8. Brand Personality. 5-10 adjectives that describe the tone and personality of your brand

9. Words to explore. List a few words that you might want to have in the name

10. Words to avoid. List words that you don't want to have in the name

11. Themes / Ideas to explore. List anything you'd like to explore

12. Domain name modifiers. Modifiers that can help you secure a domain. E.g. eat___.com

13. Name style likes and dislikes. From your industry. List 5 brands and the reasons you like or dislike them. E.g. Mercedes - established, luxury.

14. Acid Test. A real world sentence that the name will have to slot into. E.g. ___ is the best steak restaurant in Europe.

15. Anything Else. More background on the product, service or company if its helpful.

Add a caveat to the brief. It will not be possible to pick the perfect 1-3 words that solve for everything.

How to generate name ideas

There are highly effective methods for name generation. You'll be able to generate lots of options. Don't generate ideas in a group. Group dynamics are not suited to name generation. You'll end up choosing a name that has the least resistance, not the most impact.

Splitting up, and generating ideas alone is much more effective. You don't need to go outside either. The internet is the best tool for idea generation, so sit in front of the computer and get comfy.

Name Generation Session (Tactics)

Before you start. Sit in front of the computer alone. Have to hand the brief ready for inspiration. Have the SMILE and SCRATCH qualities for quick evaluation.

Mindset. Your goal is to generate as many viable names as possible.

You need to get into an exploratory mindset. You're going to need to follow leads, put the unexpected together, change the way you look at things. Be fearless, there's nobody here to shoot down your ideas.

Capture. Write down every idea that could be viable. Put them into 3 groups as you go. Spot on, maybe or Spark. Sparks have potential to be turned into fire later.

The tried and tested method. Write down 12 words that relate to your brand or brand experience. These words aren't candidates themselves, they act as themes to explore. Move through the steps below for each theme. When the rate that you're generating candidates drops off, move onto the next theme.

  • Start moving through the thesaurus exploring your theme. Go down tunnels, think around words that come up. Words you discover can be candidates, or just words that you explore
  • Pictures say 1000 words. Go to google images, unsplash, shutterstock etc and explore your theme there. What's in the images? (Staples - Stationary Shop, great name)
  • Further sources of inspiration (not always appropriate)
  • Freedictionary.com (for idioms, phrases etc)
  • Glossaries of terms, slang in your industry
  • Movie, music, book titles.
  • Puns (rhymezone.com, phrases.org.uk/phrase-thesaurus

Having moved through 12 themes, you'll have generated a few dozen candidates.

Circulate the names for review

You can get a group to agree on a name if you follow these steps. The key to building consensus is to avoid discussing the names in a group.

  • Distribute the name list to stakeholders
  • Everyone gets a few days to review names independently
  • They can enjoy the names without trepidation and intimidation

The name list should include a few dozen candidates. Next to each name, write a few words that explain why it fits, with the view of selling it to the reader.

Show how the name might be used in a sentence. Print the list and circulate a hard copy if you can.

Reviewers should review each names a few times, over a few days. Include SMILE and SCRATCH tests to help remove troublesome names.

Include your brief to remind people of the goals you agree to.

How to review names

1. Reduce your personal bias. Don't ask "Do I like it?". Instead, ask "Is it right fore the brand?

2. Don't share your name list with outsiders. You need to context to have an informed opinion

3. Don't log negative comments, they don't help . You'll have more luck reaching consensus if you focus on what works about each name.

4. Remember that the name can't say everything, and solve the brief entirely

5. Review the list a few times, over a few days

6. To avoid being influenced, don't discuss names with other reviewers

7. Think about how the name will appear in context.

8. Don't worry about domain names yet

9. Ask each reviewer to select 10 to 20 promising (not perfect names)

10. Don't fall in love with a name too early in the process

Selecting the right name

After a few days, collect and sort the names to see where you reach initial consensus. Meet as a group to discuss the attributes of the top contenders. Let individuals champion ones they think are right for the brand. Always have a justification. Rank the names in order of preference. Don't ask everyone for their opinion. Don't kill good names in focus group testing (They water down names to the safest option).


Deep Summary

Longer form notes, typically condensed, reworded and de-duplicated.

Why care about the name:

  • First impressions
  • Countless other impressions over time
  • Getting it wrong can have big consequences (Americans crap metal)
  • You don't want to be talking about your name
    • Explaining it, spelling it, pronouncing it, apologising for it
  • Names that resonate most with consumers are delightfully unexpected yet easy to understand
  • We instantly get them. Like a snappy punch line.
  • Spell, pronounce and understand
  • Powerful names connect with consumers on an emotional level


Smile, the 5 qualities of a super-sticky name:

  • Suggestive: Evokes something about your brand
  • Memorable: Makes an association with the familiar
  • Imagery: aids memory through evocative visuals
  • Legs: lends itself to a theme for extended mileage
  • Emotional: moves people

Scratch, the 7 deal breakers

  • Spelling challenged: looks like a typo
  • Copycat: resembles competitors' names
  • Restrictive: limits future growth
  • Annoying: seems forced, frustrates customers
  • Tame: feels flat, descriptive, uninspired
  • Curse of knowledge: speaks only to insiders
  • Hard to pronounce: confuses and distances customers

1) SMILE (Qualities of a sticky name)

  • Brand names can make you smile first time you hear them
  • We appreciate it when a name surprises, entertains and makes us happy
  • They are the ones we talk about, tweet and repeat.
  • A name should make you smile instead of scratch your head

The 5 Qualities of a Super-Sticky Name:

  • The name should evoke something about your brand
  • A name can't say everything, but it can suggest something.
  • It can do it in a non-obvious way that triggers your imagination
  • SUV names: Explorer, Expedition, Wrangler
  • Want a name that conveys your business is well established?
    • Go for words that symbolise strength, power, or longevity
    • Oaktree sounds rock solid. Evokes trust
  • Suggestive coined names:
    • Coined or invented names shouldn't feel unatural
      • feel like a real word
      • be intuitive to pronounce
      • be intuitive to spell
    • Lightly coined names are a good place to start (Speedo, Optima)
    • Combine a dictionary work with an interesting suffix
      • This is good for suggesting personality
      • Samsonite sounds unbreakable.
    • The highest form of name coining is a mashup
      • Sometimes called a portmanteau
      • Combines the sounds or meanings of two words to form a new word
        • Labradoodle, Pinterest
      • Compound coined names:
        • Linkedin, facebook, paypal
        • Work well but these names aren't interesting unless you were an early investor in them all
    • Other suggestive names:
      • Under Armour, Airbus
      Suggestive / Provocative
      • Risque kind.
      • Hand Job: A nail bar aimed at gay people in SF
      • Probably best to only use a name like this if you're in an industry thats difficult to talk about already: Pootonium, Royal Flush and Shittin Pretty are good plumber names
      • Avoid poking fun at religions
  • Memorable makes an association with the familiar
    • We remember things better that we can merge into our existing knowledge base
    • Association is a basic mechanism of memory
    • The stickiest names are associated with words and concepts that are familiar to us
    • It makes words much easier to recall.
    • If you invent a name, make it feel somewhat familiar
  • A memorable long name, is better than a forgettable short name
    • Super Evil Megacorp is a name few forget
    • Business cards say, this certifies that you had a genuine encounter with Super Evil Megacorp and that no anti-matter weapons were used on you. This time.
  • Honestly, How memorable is your Personal Name?
    • Your name can be a barrier.
  • Kickstarter (crowd funding), Crunch (Gym)
  • Imagery aids memory through evocative visuals
    • Names that are associated with images make a strong impression and are hard to forget
    • Timberland (out door gear)
    • Lionsgate (motion pictures)
    • Leaf (electric car)
  • A name with a theme will lend itself to wordplay, letting you get more milage out of it
  • Names with legs provide endless verbal branding opportunities
    • Taglines, blogs and newsletters, wireless networks, guest passwords, tradeshow themes, promo codes, hashtags, promotional items, company awards, domain names
  • Names not linked to reality or imagery are dead ends
  • Names with legs can help your names work as a family of products
  • Never start a name with the letter x. Which makes pronunciation difficult. Its also the most difficult keystroke on a Qwerty Keyboard
  • Emotion moves people
    • 50% of every buying decision is driven by emotion
    • We want to feel good, names that make us feel good make us more likely to buy
    • If you have a strong product, don't give it a weak name (fly zapper = executioner)
    • The name should speak volumes and conjure up the right imagery
  • Use emotion to increase sales
    • Hotel wedding service names
      • Rehersal Dinner became meet the parents
      • Coed bridal shower became shower together
      • Post-reception bar rental became last call for Alcohol
      • Post-wedding brunch became Bloody Married
      • Guest Rate became entourage rate
    • Last call for alcohol was fun, meaningful and loaded with imagery
  • B2b companies fear they won't be taken seriously with an unconventional name
  • Pick a name that suggests... we love what we do, and you're going to enjoy working with us
  • Creative firms have more leeway. But more conservative firms can still have cool names. Bedrock is a great name for a law firm
    • Shazam
    • Lush (soap)
    • Caesars Palace (casino)

2) SCRATCH (7 deal breakers)

Making excuses for you name devalues your brand

  • looks like a typo
  • if your name isn't spelt how it sounds its a mistake
  • Spelling-challenged names will forever frustrate your customers, embarrass employees and annoy journalists, bloggers and proofreaders
  • Ask how many ways could your name be spelt?
  • Don't substitute letters for words
  • Test Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa's hearing
  • resembles competitors' name
  • Lazy, lack originality, ride on a competitors coat tails
  • Open yourself up to trademark infringement
  • Stay away from trends (I anything, E anything, U anything, any fruit, monkey, rocket, daddy, zen, bright, belly,
  • avoid names that are a random colour plus a noun (RedTree). Most sound dated.
    • Also most the domains are gone
  • Most words are taken, but its OK to use a name that others use in another industry
    • Pandora (radio, jewellery)
    • Explorer (SUV, browser)
  • Always check with a trademark attorney
  • limits future growth
  • Canadian Tire
    • They can't expand to the US
    • Weirdly, they sell more than tires. Their tagline had to become: 'There's a lot more to Canadian Tire than Tires'
    • Amazon had a lot of room to grow with their name. If they'd started with BookBarn they might not have got as far.
    • Love Lawn... offers services other than lawn mowing. It should have been called A Cut Above
    • 99p store and Poundland are limiting
    • 24hr fitness (they all have to be open 24 hours now?
  • Your name shouldn't have an age limit (refer back to something old)
  • seems forced, frustrates customers
  • You can avoid causing frustration if your name does not appear forced, nonsensical or grammatically incorrect
  • If you invent a new word (Pinterest) make sure it doesn't seem too contrived or unnatural.
  • Mashing two words together is tricky and often sounds strained
  • Barely changing the last few letters of a word to make a new word can be lame
    • Can show a lack of effort and creativity
    • Its fine to lightly coin a word ending in an a (Nautica, Expedia) it truly sounds like a real word
    • While the latter
    • Overused suffixes to avoid:
      • ___mania, ___osophy, ___ology, ___topia, ___vana, ___icious, ___zilla, ___ster, ___ly
    • Resist the temptation to be mysterious - Don't have an ambiguous name.
    • Don't be grammatically challenged Toys R Us
    • Backwards names are annoyingly frustraiting (Xobni - inbox)
  • feels flat, descriptive, uninspired
  • Unless you have a huge ad budget, you can't afford to be boring with a tame name
  • Overly descriptive names are weak because they don't challenge, excite or stimulate us. They require little imagination and reveal nothing about your personality
  • Descriptive names don't have to be tame: Range Rover. True Measure (employee wellbeing)
  • Springless Trampolines became Springfree Trampolines
  • Instacart and DocuSign are too tame
Curse of knowledge
  • speaks only to insiders
  • we can't unlearn what we know, so we find it difficult to think like a newbie
  • the curse of knowledge is when better-informed people find it difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed people
  • Think outside your bubble. Mavericks was a bad name for a single OS. Doesn't mean much to most customers and they wouldn't remember to pluralise it
  • Make sure the name is not cursed in a foreign language
  • Check the urban dictionary definition
  • Starbucks Tall (small coffee - so silly)
Hard to pronounce
  • confuses and distances customers
  • Difficult = Disadvantage
  • Humans associate easy to process information (clear, simple language) with positive qualities such as confidence, intelligence and capability
  • image
  • Don't spell your name with all capital letters. People will confuse it with the pronunciation E.g: ING - Ing
  • Avoid CamelCasing. Put a space between the words, easier to say. Names are often printed in ALL CAPS, in headlines and business journals. Your CamelCase then disappears
  • Same argument against random capital letters
  • Avoid multiple pronunciations. ECOS, echoes or ee-koze?
  • Choose a name that doesn't need an accent or diacritic mark to show how to pronounce it
  • FYI, Acronyms Can Cause WTF Confusion

3) Domain Names

  • Don't worry if the perfect name isn't available.
  • Some great names domains come from creative workarounds
  • 5 Domain secrets
    1. Not owning the exact match initially is fine
      • thefacebook, teslamotors, getdropbox, squareup, basecamphq
    2. Google Eliminates the Guesswork
      1. If you arrive at the wrong website, you'll just google it
      2. Many won't notice the domain name
      3. SEO and SEM can boost discoverability
    3. Settle on the brand first, then the domain
      1. Don't start the branding process on domain website
      2. That's backward
      3. You can find a creative workaround if the domain isn't available. Don't dismiss the better name for one thats available
    4. It pays off to make an offer
      1. Try offering 30% less than the listed price and go from there
      2. If the domain is parked, you can go to whois.net to see who owns it and email them. If their name is masked, a broker can help you
    5. Short isn't necessarily better
      1. Memorable and long, easy to pronounce and spell is better than a short meaningless one that's not
      2. renttherunway.com is fine.
      3. There are 342 million registered domains, there are no real words left. You can't even get snot.com
  • How to get a good one for $9.99
    • Add a modifier (buy, drink, eat, get, hey, shop, the, try, wear, 101, life, online, store, world
    • Use a domain name suggestion tool like (NameStudio)
    • Try a memorable phrase (joeknowscoffee) - doesn't have to match name
    • Make your domain a call to action (just do it) (think different) (eatwithhonor)
    • .Net domains are the second most trusted
  • Things to avoid
    • Names that you have to spell out
    • Obscure domain extensions to spell your name
    • Using .org if you're not an NGO
    • Your domain doesn't give you the trademark
    • Make sure the words in the domain don't spell out anything else TherapistFinder - the rapist finder

4) Creative Brief (Your brand name road map)

Is the brief important?
  • Its essential
  • The brief is the ingredients list of what you need to cook up the perfect name.
  • Goal, target audience, positioning, competitors, words to explore and avoid
  • Provides guide-rails for brainstorming - keeping sessions focused
  • Helps you ask the right questions yourself, before starting
  • Helps with decision makers, they get to feed into the process, avoids last minute veto
  • Remember though, a the final name can't solve for everything
Questions for your Creative Brief

Creative brief

  1. Goal of the assignment: What do you want to accomplish?
  2. In a nutshell: Sum it up in a sentence
  3. Brand positioning: How do you want your brand to be positioned in the market place?
  4. Consumer insights: Peoples behaviours, as opposed to their preferences
  5. Target audience: Who are the customers you want to reach? Primary, Secondary
  6. Competition: List your compeitiors, to know what you're up against, steer clear of similar names
  7. Desired brand experiences: The best names evoke a positive brand experience. How do you want people to feel?
  8. Brand Personality. List 5-10 adjectives that best describe the tone and personality of your brand
  9. Words to explore: that you may want in your new name
  10. Words to avoid (and why): ___Mind (brand team), Alpha__ (brand team)
  11. Acid test for the new name - sentences it need to be used in
    • _____ is where DeepMinds share their work
    • If you want to know more, contact us on ____
  12. Anything else worth noting:

5) Brainstorming: (How to be an idea machine)

  • There are highly effective methods for name generation
  • You'll get lots of good options
How to get brainstorming wrong
  • You need to create the right environment
  • A conference room with fluorescent lighting is not the best
  • Brainstorming in a group, where extroverts throw ideas at the wall to see what sticks, and introverts may say nothing. Everyone sucks up to the boss. No one has an objective filter to evaluate a name. Names are chosen because they have the least resistance... not because they're brilliant.
  • Gathering friends over a bottle of wine or two is equally unproductive
The right way to brainstorm
  • Optimal number of people? One
  • Optimal place? In front of a computer
  • Optimal tool? The internet. Everything you need to come up with awesome ideas
    • Click on unexpected links, go down rabbit holes
    • You never know where your next idea will come from
  • Have the SMILE and SCRATCH test handy. For quick evaluation
  • Open your mind. Lookup, words, phrases and images associated with your name.
Bounce things around
  • Get loose. Turn things over. Put the unexpected together. Fly overhead. Change the angle. Take the lid off. Be fearless. There is no one there to shoot your ideas down, so go for it.
Write down every idea
  • Jot down all your name ideas
  • Put them into 3 groups
    • Spot on
    • Maybe
    • Sparks (can be turned into fire)
Keep the creative brief handy
  • Make sure you do the brief
  • Its your ingredients list
Brain thaw
  • Write down 12 words related to your brand / brand experience
  • This is not a list of names, just inspiration
  • Take each word at a time
  • Start exploring the thesaurus with it
    • Go down tunnels, think around the words that come up
      • Cold - Artic, winter, goose bumps, snowy
      • These might not be good names, but they help with imagery
    Go to google images / shutter stock / unsplash
    • A picture says 1000 words
    • Fun in the cold could be the brand breif
    • Snowy, might become 'snow fun' see what images come up
    • Winter sports
    Glossaries of Terms, Slang, Lingo, jargon
    • For the industry or the theme
    The freedictionary.com
    • Also has idioms, phrases, definitions, legal, financial and medical definitions
    Movie title madness
    Music (ranker.com)
    Book titles (can't be trademarked)
    Puns (rhymezone.com, phrases.org.uk/phrase-thesaurus
    • take cold... and search for phrases containing old
      • Gold rush - Cold rush
  • Repeat the process for your 12 words
  • You want to have a few dozen names, many will get eliminated in the trademarking process. Don't fall in love with one or two!
Bonus resources

6) Corporate Creativity: The power of names in the workspace

  • Using creative names delights employees and visitors, breaks the monotony of the daily grind, improves worker morale, and positively impacts the culture
    • Team names, conference rooms, ticker symbols, job titles
      • Internal design team: Yellow tag productions - BestBuy
      • Staff: Cast members - Disney

7) Name Changes: Pros and Cons

  • You can point your customers to the right place (website redirect, social media, press announcements and an email blast)
  • Pros of changing your name
    • Refresh the brand at the same time
    • Save time by not having to apologise for a difficult name
    • Get in touch with your users
    • You have more years of business ahead than behind you
    • You have new customers who won't know your old name
  • Cons
    • Emotional attachment
    • Stakeholder buy in
    • Hurt the feelings of the creators
    • Justifying the expense
    • You have to notify customers

8) Name Review: Guardrails for Groups

  • Groups can reach agreement if you follow this process
  • The key to building consensus it to avoid discussing the names in a group. Instead:
    • Distribute the name list to individual stakeholders, for independent review
    • They can enjoy the names without the trepidation & intimidation
    • Everyone can have a say, and has a few days to review the names
  • 7 tips for reviewing names
    1. Make sure you have a few dozen names for the group to review. Don't remove ones that will fail trademark yet, as they might spark new ideas
    2. Next to each name, write a few words to explain why the word is a fit. Sell it.
    3. Show how the name might be used in a sentence.
    4. Print the list and circulate a hard copy for each person to review on paper. Instead of online.
    5. Suggest that everyone review the names multiple times over multiple days
    6. Include the SMILE and SCRATCH test to support your names and eliminate troublesome ones
    7. Include your approved creative brief to remind people of the goals you agreed to
  • 10 rules for reviewing names
    1. Do not share your name list with outsiders (only the internal review team have the context)
    2. Have an open mind and be objective. Don't ask "Do I like it?'. That is subject to personal bias, instead ask "Is it right for the brand?" "Is it right for the product?"
    3. Refrain from negative comments. You will ahve more success finding a name everyone can agree on if you focus strictly on what works. Negative comments are never helpful in building consensus.
    4. Keep in mind that a name can't say everything. It can hint. It can't say everything
    5. Review the list multiple times, top to bottom and bottom to top. Give yourself a few days to live with the names.
    6. Keep your list to yourself and don't discuss the names with anyone on your review committee. You don't want others to influence your thinking before you can express your thoughts
    7. Your name rarely appears naked. It will usually be in context with a logo, website etc. Imagine names on the product itself
    8. Refrain from looking up domain names this early in the process, you don't want to eliminate good ideas
    9. Ask each reviewer to select 10 to 20 promising (not perfect) names from the list.
    10. Don't fall in love with a name until trademark research is done.
  • The more creative the industry, the harder it is to pass the SMILE and SCRATCH test. Advertising agencies, design and game firms are clever, making those extremely challenging
  • How to make sure to choose the right name
    • After a few days, collect and sort the names to see where you reach initial consensus.
    • Meet as a group to discuss the attributes of the top contenders
    • Let individuals champion ones they think are right for the brand. Always have a justification
    • Rank the names in order of preference, and start trademark process.
    • Do not ask everyone for their opinion. More on this in the next section
  • Don't kill good names with focus group testing
    • Don't do focus group testing. They water down choices from the best to the safest
    • Fossil, lush, the body shop, true religion, MAC Cosmetics, Spoon me
  • You now have the knowledge and resources to create brand names that make people smile instead of scratch their heads.