Strategic Services

Good names arise out of a deep, strategic understanding of a brand. Every time Catchword develops a new name, we start with strategy. We begin by reviewing the company or product positioning with the client, and refining it if needed. We analyze the competitive naming landscape and identify opportunities for differentiation. We determine whether the new name will fit into existing product families, naming protocols, or name styles.

Strategy is front and center to every Catchword naming project, but sometimes you need deeper or more focussed strategic guidance.

A clearer naming architecture for your portfolio will make it easier for customers to find the products they want, and easier for you to add new ones.

Creating a naming protocol is the key for naming product families, co-branded products, line extensions, and project code names, so you’re not reinventing the wheel each time you’re faced with a naming challenge.

We also offer other strategic naming services, including

  • assessing whether you even need a name for your new product!
  • identifying opportunities for brand consolidation
  • recommending a naming style (descriptive, proprietary, alphanumeric, etc.)
  • evaluating the viability of names developed in-house
  • determining linguistic and cultural implications for taking a brand global
  • maximizing internal buy-in and external interest in your name launch
Naming Architecture  |  The right framework is everything

Like a well-designed house, naming architecture should be welcoming and intuitive, so it’s easy for customers to find their way to the brands they want. Too often, though, when companies have lots of long-standing brands, their portfolio becomes a maze of names that’s off-putting to potential customers and confusing to internal audiences.

That’s where we come in. Our process includes discussions with stakeholders, an exhaustive review of the existing portfolio of brand names and those of key competitors, and an assessment of which areas need streamlining or clarifying. We then develop a range of architectural options for consideration. Once a model is chosen and refined, we’ll develop guidelines for determining when new names are warranted, and a naming protocol for how they’ll be developed.

The result is a flexible yet consistent structure for housing all of your brand names that clarifies the relationships between different brands, maximizes your budget (by eliminating unnecessary proprietary names that require expensive marketing), and simplifies future naming efforts.

Naming Protocol  |  Rules of the road to keep you on track

Like their social counterparts, naming protocols make life simpler by providing decision trees so that you know exactly what to do when a particular naming challenge arises.

Some common challenges include

  • Name categorization: master brand versus sub-brand
  • Family naming conventions: use of words, alphanumerics, or numbers
  • In-house naming procedures: steps, checkpoints, and vetting
  • Name usage: consistency in use of company name, trademark symbols, and abbreviations
  • Co-branding: process for creating and implementing names
  • Code-naming: guidelines for choosing project names that won’t turn into real names

Having clear naming protocol in place will grease the wheels of your naming process, keep your naming portfolio orderly, and control the way your brand names are used in traditional and social media.

Name Audit  |  Take stock of your name portfolio—and the competition’s

If you want to get the most out of your existing brand names, or take advantage of weaknesses or gaps in the competitive landscape, it helps to get the 30,000-foot perspective. We offer both internal and competitive name audits for clients who want the big picture.

Internal name audits
An internal name audit can answer all sorts of questions you may not even think to ask. For instance:

  • How many trademarks do you own?
  • How many of them are current?
  • Are all your product names being used correctly in collateral and other marketing?
  • Are there names on your website that you don’t even know about?
  • Do you really own all the domains you think you do?

Internal name audits include IP assessments (of trademarks, domain names, licensed names, and co-branding), reviews of internal and external communications, analysis of existing names, and most importantly, recommendations for improving name equity, management, and marketing.

Competitive name audits
Or you may want to know what your competition is up to and how their names stack up against yours. Becoming familiar with their naming styles and the organization and structure of their brand name portfolio will help you understand what they—and you—are doing right and wrong.

Competitive name audits include an in-depth analysis of the naming strategies of up to five competitors followed by an analysis of the competitive naming landscape as a whole. We also provide clients with a summary of opportunities to differentiate from competitors and ways to improve current naming practices.

How to Evaluate a Brand Name.

Blog

Tapestry logo

Fashion powerhouse Coach surprised the world by announcing that its parent company — which recently acquired Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman — will be changing its name to Tapestry.

Nary a name change escapes lampooning on Twitter, and after the requisite ridicule, Chief Executive Victor Luis quickly clarified that the Coach brand will not be changing; the company is merely creating a new corporate identity for its collection of brands.

In this case, I think Coach made absolutely the right decision.

from www.coach.com

Tapestry has a spot-on message — bringing us to fabric, fashion, and a kind of a collection or assortment, which speaks directly to its nature as a parent company of many brands (much like Google’s parent, Alphabet). Tapestry is soft and supple, yet balanced by the weight it carries from the T in Tap and the fact that it is three syllables long.

And perhaps thanks to Carole King and a healthy metaphorical use of the word in our lexicon, Tapestry feels classical, not outdated — it evokes a historical authenticity, like the Coach brand itself.

The company expresses its rationale for the change this way: “The name Tapestry reflects our core values of optimism, inclusivity, and innovation and speaks to creativity, craftsmanship, and authenticity on a shared platform” (from its FAQ for investors). I don’t particularly get optimism, or innovation (weaving is an ancient art form), but the other traits come across well.

The name and choice to create it also succeed from a naming architecture standpoint. Firstly, I think there is great value in keeping the Coach product brand on the same plane as the new acquisitions. Coach is known for bags. The creation of a separate parent entity allows the Coach brand to remain clearly associated with what it does best. Equally so, it allows the other brands to better keep their autonomy — which is important when your magic derives from what is portrayed as a single entity or even single designer’s vision. (Just ask fans of Pixar after Disney bought it.)

Secondly, when acquiring brands or spinning out many complementary products — as Tapestry’s strategy seems to be — it can get confusing if you don’t establish a clear system. The name Tapestry allows them to move forward with a, well, tapestry of acquisitions and new brands without confusion or conflict. Heck, they can now even acquire other brands that primarily do bags, which would have been weird had the umbrella company remained Coach.

Fashion powerhouse Coach surprised the world by announcing that its parent company — which recently acquired Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman — will be changing its name to Tapestry. … In this case, I think Coach made absolutely the right decision.

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