Strategic Naming Services

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.

 

Strategic Services – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 

What are the different types of strategic naming services you offer?

  • Naming architecture
  • Naming protocol
  • Internal and competitive name audits

What is a naming architecture?

Naming architecture is the way the brand names in your portfolio are organized. An effective naming architecture structures all of your company’s brand names so they make sense in relation to each other and allow customers to clearly identify the brands and products they need. It also provides rules and recommendations for determining what kinds of new products and services (or companies and subsidiaries) get named, and how.

What is a naming protocol?

A naming protocol is an internal guide to inform all current and future name development, including characteristics, requirements, and examples for each type of brand application. It serves as a naming decision tree, a guide for when and how names are created and when they may not even be necessary. It can also include recommendations for trademarking, version numbering, and code naming conventions.

What is a name audit?

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.

How do I know if I need these strategic naming services?

Is your product portfolio messy and confusing? Is it hard for customers to find and buy the right products? Is it unclear where new products will live within the portfolio? Does it feel like the products in your portfolio come from different companies and represent different brands? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, your company might be a good candidate for a naming architecture project. Email us to find out!

Is naming strategy just for big companies with a lot of products?

Definitely not. You could argue that the best time to figure out your naming strategy is as you’re planning your future product line-up. Should you introduce an umbrella name with descriptors, or should each product receive its own name? Should related products be tied together with a shared word part? Answering these questions in advance leads to the most efficient and cohesive naming strategy.

We’ve worked with many clients who have just a few products, but who need to know how their names should relate to each other, and where future products should fit in.

Does a naming architecture project mean we have to rename everything?

No! In fact, some projects end up being more of a naming validation exercise, in which we find that the portfolio simply needs some reorganization.

How long does a strategy project take?

A small project, involving a portfolio of fewer than 10 offerings, could take as little as 3 weeks. A more expansive project, covering a portfolio of dozens or even hundreds of offerings—with many stakeholders and decision-makers—might take months.

What is the cost of these services?

Cost varies greatly depending on the scope and complexity of the work. Consider the difference between a three-person startup launching a flagship offering with several ancillary products, versus a multi-billion dollar tech firm integrating a stable of brands through acquisition. Please contact us for a quote.