Use the Proper Perspective When Judging Names

When presenting name ideas, your audience of clients or colleagues are going to have their conscious, logical brains working. They'll be thinking, "do I like it?" This behavior doesn't match the actual experience prospects, customers, investors, employees, donors, users (and so on) will have.

Only people in the branding and marketing industry spend much time picking apart the pros and cons of a name, unless the name is truly bad. Then you might find Joe Consumer having a little sarcasm party. But if your name fits your brand, the average prospect doesn't spend a millisecond on logical critique.

The reality is that people experience names on a subconscious, emotional level. Let's say your elevator speech goes something like, "Hi, I'm Bob Smith, a search engine consultant with Gazillions. I help people navigate the web when they're in search of the right kind of information." The listener isn't thinking "Do I like that name? Does it makes sense? Does everyone love that name? Does that name tell the whole story of this company." No, the listener is processing all of what you've told him (and probably scanning you for clues that he can trust you all while running through a list of 20 things he needs to do later that day.) Your business or product name is just one tiny bit of information. When the brain catches it, it goes to work scanning internal files for what the name might be like (or different) and the associated emotions. The brain might register quick hits like, "Gazillions. That's a lot. Sounds kind of fun. Not ordinary. Maybe risky. Must listen more."

I'm by no means saying the name isn't important. In fact, I believe it is a critical part of your brand signaling system. The name sets a tone or provides information or both. Like a logo or any number of other touch points, a name is an entry point to the images and feelings people will form around you, your company, your products and services.

My point is really about the artificial environment of the creative review. Whether you are doing it yourself, working with a consultancy or are a consultant, you must frame your feedback from the perspective of the message receiver. I'm assuming, of course, that you've also evaluated the ideas to make sure they match the thorough brand strategy you've written. The one driven by your brand essence.

Lesson here: When judging name ideas, remember the reality of the actual future experience, not the pseudo-experience of creative presentations.

Now please, go out and make a great name for yourself.