Catchword’s Naming Manual – Part 3 of 10


Here’s another excerpt from our handy dandy naming manual – it’s like a car manual, only about naming! We’ll be posting 10 different sections on a weekly basis, so please come back every Friday for more. If you like what you see, please download a copy of your very own, or write to us and we’ll mail you a paper copy (it has a glossy cover!).

Creating your new name is both the most difficult and most exciting step of changing your flat name. To begin, locate your various naming devices, including your Onboard Naming Navigator, your Rear & Side-view Mirrors, your Creative Fuel-Injection System, your Anti-lock Naming System, and your Theft Prevention System.

Now, in exactly this order, here are the steps you should follow:

Step 1 – Locating Relevance
Step 2 – Avoiding Competition
Step 3 – Developing Names
Step 4 – Avoiding Pigeonholing
Step 5 – Distilling Names
Step 6 – Screening Names
Step 7 – Installing Name

Be clear about what makes you unique.
Choose a single point of distinction – not a laundry list.

Step 1 – Locating relevance
Use your Onboard Naming Navigator to locate relevance. Finding relevance may not be simple, and will require a deep understanding of your customers and what’s important to them. If you haven’t done so already, speak with your customers and have them answer the following questions:

• What is important to you about this product or service?
• Why would you choose one product or service over another in this space?
• In what ways are existing products or services deficient?
• How would you describe the ideal product or service?
• What product or service in this space best fits your needs and why?

Once you have answers to these questions, and a solid understanding of what is relevant to your customers, advance to the next step and use your Side & Rear-view Mirrors to locate and avoid your competitors.

Step 2 – Avoiding competition
Use your Side & Rear-view Mirrors to spot and avoid competitors. Make sure to use all available mirrors and be mindful of your blind spot – competitors have a tendency to get lost in heavy traffic conditions. Knowing where your competitors are and what sort of names they’re driving is imperative, not only to finding an available lane but hopefully to blazing your own trail and creating a truly distinctive brand name. Position your mirrors to answer the following questions:

• Which name constructs are your competitors using?
• What messages are being communicated by your competitors’ names?
• Is there an opportunity to communicate an altogether new message?
• Who’s got the flashiest name on the road? Is it getting any attention? Why?
• What names have already arrived at your customers’ hearts and minds?

Once you have located your competitors and understand their names you can begin to identify places to steer your name that competitors don’t occupy. While open lanes are often opportunities for immediate distinction, the clearest and most enduring path to customers’ hearts and minds is the trail you blaze yourself.

To overtake your competition, you need to distinguish your brand from theirs. Don’t be afraid to be different.

Step 3 – Developing names
Now that you’ve found relevance and determined how to distinguish your name on the road, you can begin the process of actual name creation! To do so, start up your Creative Fuel Injection System (CFI). If your system is working properly you will begin to feel inspired. Creative ideas should start to flow and possible new names should begin to emerge. If new names don’t immediately emerge, make sure that your CFI is properly calibrated and running on the following creative pumps:

• Brainstorming sessions
• Free-association exercises
• Metaphor explorations
• Creative relay exercises
• Foreign language exploration
• Out-of-category inspirations
• Visual stimulants

Last week: How to Change a Flat Name
Next week: More techniques for name creation


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