Brand Architecture

Good names arise out of solid strategic understanding of a brand’s positioning, competitors and opportunities for differentiation, and existing product families and naming styles. For clients who need more in-depth strategic services, Catchword offers expert Naming Architecture, Naming Protocol, and Name Audits, which will enable you to:

  • Assess whether you even need a name for your new product
  • Identify opportunities for brand consolidation
  • Recommend a naming style (descriptive, proprietary, alphanumeric, etc.)
  • Evaluate the viability of names developed in-house
  • Determine linguistic and cultural implications for taking a brand global
  • Maximize internal buy-in and external interest in your name launch

Naming Architecture

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. Like a well-designed house, naming architecture should be welcoming and intuitive. Too often though, when companies have many 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 all 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.

Want to see naming strategy in action? Check out our Naming Architecture Portfolio.

Naming Protocol

A naming protocol is essential if you have product families, co-branded products, line extensions, or project code names. Naming protocols provide a decision tree that tells you exactly what to do when a naming challenge arises, such as these common situations:

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

Name Audit

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 Audit

An internal name audit can answer questions you may not even think to ask, such as:

  • 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 Audit

You may have your naming house completely in order but still need 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 of their brand 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.

Selected Work

Juniper Networks


Levi Strauss Signature

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Developing a fantastic brand name is not easy, and not something most people—even seasoned marketing professionals—do very often. We’ve got you! Our two decades working and thinking about branding have yielded some wisdom, which we share below and in our Insights & Resources. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, reach out. We’re happy to chat.