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Namestorming

By on Nov 7, 2012 in Branding Fundamentals, Business Strategy

Series Note: This is third post in a series of articles exploring corporate and product naming theory and processes.

Once you have a brand structure defined and understand the basics of naming, it’s time to build a list of potential names.

Namestorming is Loud Dog’s term for the brainstorm sessions we do to develop new names for clients. Namestorming workshops are good for initial explorations, for coming up with descriptive and metaphoric names, and may inspire evocative names. They rarely come up with coined names (except for an occasional portmanteau), because that requires some really focused thinking.

We usually try to start by talking about the product or company and describing it in different ways to get the blood flowing, and focus on a few exercises:

  • Power animal – what animal best represents your product/service/company? What’s good about that power animal? What’s not good?
  • Analogies – what are other things like this? What are other things not like this? What are things similar in some way?
  • Colors – what best represents the project and why? What are good color names?

Once we do a couple of exercises, we stop and let individuals work on their own lists in a free form fashion for about 10-15 minutes. Then we get back together and share lists with each other. From that, we’ll start doing word associations, and maybe highlight some trends, or promising areas.

The goal of a namestorming session isn’t to settle on a name, but generate a bunch of ideas and promising avenues. After a namestorming session with a client, we typically continue the generation and refinement process internally, or can turn the ideas over to the client to give them the opportunity to complete refinement and selection.

Hey! This wasn't written by a sleuth of bears! It was written by , who does awesome work at Loud Dog, a digital branding firm in San Francisco that helps businesses express themselves authentically via identities, websites, and marketing collateral.

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