How–and if–To Rename Your Business
We’re talking about naming a brand. Good names, bad names. Things to consider when naming. Should you even rename your business at all? And, when/if you do decide to pull the trigger on a new name, how should you go about it?
Partner + Executive Creative Director
Founder + CEO
Prem Sai Ramani
We covered a lot of ground in today’s podcast. Below you’ll find sources to some of the ideas and concepts we discussed during the show.
Interviewer: Prem Sai Ramani (Prem)
Interviewee: René Thomas (René)
Interviewee: Lindsay Smith (Linz)
Date of Interview: May 15, 2022
PREM: Welcome to massive talks, a podcast where we get to talk about the things that we are passionate about.
RENE: And you have to listen.
LINZ: They don’t have to, they can turn it off right
PREM: Now, but don’t please. I’m Prem sai Romani. I’m the Director of Strategy here at massive.
LINZ: I’m Lindsey Smith, I’m the CEO.
RENE: Hey, I’m Renee, I’m a creative director and partner, we’ve done a lot of naming the good, the bad, and the ugly, what works, what has and we’ll, we’ll talk about some best practices, we’ll talk about how to kind of align your teams internally. We’ll talk about name theory, and even philosophy, like how important is a name, we’re going to dive into all of it. And we’ll have some fun when we do. So here’s a question. I had a call this morning. And I think it’s a question that we all get. And I’m sure a lot of people listening have this question right now, how important is name to your brand success?
PREM: That’s a good question.
RENE: Maybe controversial,
PREM: I think I’m gonna give a Schrodinger answer here. It is simultaneously very important, and also not important at all. The reason I say that it matters and it doesn’t matter at all is that obviously, it is a really important and crucial way of conceiving of your business of your organization who you are, like, it’s one of the first things when you’re having a child, you’re like, what’s the name going to be like that cements so many associations and connotations? And like, are they going to be the president? Are they going to be a dancer, like, what kind of name suits that but I actually think that the more important part is less on where you land in terms of the name, and the process, the process that it takes to get there. Because through that, you end up you know, like, when you’re naming your child, you’re like, do I want them to be this kind of person or this kind of person and whether or not you know, they, they end up with a certain name, the the vision that you’ve kind of created for them and like the life that you’ve imagined, I think that’s the part that really solidifies your your understanding of who they want to be and how you want to like interact with them and stuff. And I think it’s the same for a company or an organization. It’s about that imagination and like, what do you want to put out into the world? And what do you want to say? And then the like, last little part is like, okay, let’s find a name that aligns with that embodies that and embodies that. And obviously, that’s an important process. And there’s considerations and we’ll get into all of that today. But I think at its core, it’s like, Who do I want to be? What do I want to say? Like, how do I want people to think of me, once you’ve done that work, the name is like the cherry on top,
RENE: I think it’s worth noting, it’s very different when you’re naming a company that is just getting going, versus something that has a ton of brand equity and whether or not they can even vocalize, there’s some kind of a sentiment or feeling already out there in the market. And people know what Facebook is. So when Facebook goes to meta, it’s relatively a little consequence, because people are like, Oh, it’s just a new name for Facebook, or even, you know, Google to alphabet,
LINZ: There are so many subtle, you know, subtleties of a name, though, subconscious cues that we’re giving somebody, let’s talk about a dentist, for example, if we’re coming up with a series of names, you know, we want to make sure that whatever we’re naming it, when we put that in front of somebody, they’re not going to subconsciously associate that with sugar or pain, or, you know, it needs to be or even something steroidal, or…
RENE: You don’t want to be battling pre existing frameworks and connections and you know, cognitive pathways that people have built. And if you’re starting as an unknown brand, you’re already on your heels, trying to get your message out there in the world, tell people who you are, what your values are. And if you’re kind of appropriating some kind of a sentiment that already exists in the market, and that is antithetical to the values having as an organization, yeah, you’re kind of off on a really bad foot,
PREM: Within reason, because I also think it’s so easy to stress and worry about every perception or, like the the like, language is complicated. And everybody comes to a word or a name with their own, like personal associations. And we’ve honestly heard, like, you know, I really love the name, but then I went and told my wife and my wife says, it reminds her of her ex boyfriend, and she really just doesn’t. And, and like, but you know, that’s that’s a flippant example. But very people. Yeah, it isn’t
LINZ: Because clients come to us. And they do say things like that. And they do bring in their family members. And they do that yet, of course, they’re like, they’re bouncing it off them. But the question is, is what’s the majority of your audience? Or what’s the target market for your audience? How are they going to perceive that name?
RENE: And then how much? Do you have a kind of a holistic presence that counters whatever pre existing narrative exists, right? You have to have something out there that’s equal than or greater than the kind of existing frameworks that people already have
PREM: Chosen? Totally. And I think let’s actually start at the beginning because I think this is a good point when we’re talking about like these pre existing notions and like, even just thinking about naming, what are some of the reasons that you find people come to you for for naming and what do you think is like a good reason and what is maybe one that you should like reconsider your decision a little, don’t go down that path if you don’t need to type down because like we’ve been talking about or like we will talk about, there’s a lot to do. And maybe it’s not an exercise you want to undertake lightly, lightly, lightly, lightly, lightly. Why would anybody want to name a company or change their name, rather,
RENE: Most of the times people come to us wanting a new name. It’s because hey, we’re doing something brand new, we need to give it some kind of identity. So a new business, right new organization. The second is that you’re being legally forced to change your name. I have that in my list. But to be honest, I don’t know if we’ve actually had that.
LINZ: I don’t think anyone’s ever come to us for that. But I mean, do you remember that one company that came to us, though, because they’re actually this was their logo, their logo was too close to an inappropriate, icon, icon? And no, unless you were part of the subculture group, you would never know it, but it came up and it was an issue for them. That can be the case with an ape, or Urban Dictionary, think about how many times you look something up in urban dictionary, and you’re like, Whoa, I had no idea that this meant that. So it’s those types of things that sometimes people have named a company and they haven’t gone down those esoteric paths to figure out what something could mean.
RENE: Yeah. And I mean, situations change, right? Like I saw a construction company that was Omicron. And I was like, oh, man, you really chose that name at the wrong time. Right.
PREM: Like it’s a miracle Corona has not rebranded itself. Yeah. But I think it’s also seen an uptick in sales. But also, I think we’re all just drinking more in a pandemic. So it’s like, who knows what’s actually contractually beautiful?
RENE: There’s no bad PR. So restructuring is another I mean, we gave the example of Facebook and meta, right, Google and alphabet. If you grow through acquisition, or you have some kind of restructuring, that’s a very common time when people revisit their entire brand architecture and their naming conventions.
PREM: And I don’t even think it’s just acquisition, sometimes, like a large company is splitting up its services into new divisions, or new companies, and they need their own names. That’s kind of a recent example.
LINZ: Yeah, that’s a good point. I mean, a lot of companies come to us because they have acquired a series of other companies, and they want to figure out whether or not from a brand architecture perspective doesn’t make sense to have them all under one name? And do they do a full refresh there? Or does it make sense for them to streamline the name system and create some more again, meaning and have a full brand story behind it? Or does it make sense to have them really unique at every single level?
PREM: Yeah. And can we take a moment to talk about, I think this is a really great example of how naming intersects with a lot of other things, right? Like you’ve mentioned brand architecture, which oftentimes comes into the process with naming in terms of like products. It’s not just finding a name, it’s like you said, product strategy. It’s like, do we want this to be its own unit? Do we want this to be separate? Like, there’s so much that goes into it. So it’s always important to remember what problem you’re trying to solve when you’re going under undergoing this exercise. And like you said, I think right at the beginning, Rene, naming is not a silver bullet, just because you have a new name, won’t solve maybe a messy architecture or won’t solve that potential PR problem, or whatever you’re trying to fix here only.
RENE: And there’s a real science behind product naming, which is very different than you know, naming an organization or coming up with a broader naming convention for an organization, you know, product strategy, whether you do like releases like 2.1 3.1, versus like Yosemite. And, you know, kind of what a West is. Just, there’s a lot of different psychology and research that goes into the trade offs that you’re making when you change those different naming conventions that a lot of brands should be cognizant of as they go through them. Totally.
LINZ: I mean, and there’s a lot of there’s a lot of companies that we’ve named where they’re like, geography can be a great example, still haven, for example, local, real estate brokerage that we started off, they were like one of their tag lines is strictly west coast. Like they really focus on the West Coast and still haven, Maine still harbor, which was a big thing for them. If they ever decided to expand nationally, they would have to look at the rubric, like the repercussions of what that name would mean, at a national level. We’ve also seen that I’m trying to remember off the top of my head, we’ve had a couple other clients where you know that once if their vision becomes greater than what it is today that you’ve got to make those flags when you’re going through that naming process to make sure that they aren’t holding themselves back to a name that isn’t scalable, if they plan to scale in the future.
RENE: We’ve had that a number of times where you can kind of outgrow a name right. And I think you really touched on it, Lindsay, that regionally specific naming convention can just kill you. You know, when you start off an organization, sometimes it outgrows your dreams for it and you reach your ambition or real quick. Yeah,
LINZ: And we see I guess I use still haven as an example not because their name is necessarily going to hold them back but because that’s an example of a company that thought that they would never decided that they would always be small and Bucha EAC and have outgrown those ambitions. I’ve watched them do it three times already in what three years. So which is really cool to watch, right?
PREM: Like, it’s perfectly natural for organizational growth, you think you’re gonna be here in one place, and then and they just do some huge changes, and you just want to do different things? Yeah,
LINZ: Yeah. So it’s part of I think our job again, going through this process is helping our clients see the potential for themselves and just did talk through all of those nuances of different ways in which a name could hold them back. And then also holding them true to the things that are really, really important. Like due diligence. I’m such a stickler for that throughout the naming process, because so many people are like, Why won’t this name or this name or this name, and it’s like, well, great, can we get the social handle for it? Can we get the domain name for it? Can we trademark wise is it available like those are baked in Are we are we trademarking? Just in Canada we trademarking in the US are we trademarking internationally. And I mean, prime, we’ve said this so many times to clients, right? We’re not lawyers, we can, we aren’t trademark lawyers,
PREM: We will save seven more times in this podcast.
LINZ: But in saying that, what we can do is raise the flag and help help clients understand where those trade offs need to be
PREM: I like to say we try and open all the closet doors to make sure there’s no skeletons inside, you know, just like nothing’s going to Oh,
RENE: It’s amazing, though. I mean, even trademark lawyers come with different results we’ve had where it gets passed by one and then you hop provinces and, you know, trademark law, you’re in a different province find something in your province at the previous one didn’t. So yeah, I mean, it’s, you know, highly subjective sometimes as well. Another reason that organizations want to go about changing their name, at least in our experience is, if it’s named after a founder, you know, this idea of organizations go from really rallying around a visionary leader to kind of being one that is owned by the people, and it needs to no longer just have kind of one figurehead at the top. That’s one that we see a lot, especially for professional service organizations that maybe have partners involved. And that partner is going off sailing into the waters of retirement. And then they’re looking for succession planning.
PREM: There was one example too recently where it was really tied to a family name. And the family had always been kind of, you know, in the leadership positions and stuff. And as the company was growing, that was becoming limiting that was becoming difficult, I think it was, it was and then there was on top of that, like a bunch of trademarking considerations, because when you have a name of someone, you know, and it’s a pretty common name, chances are, there may be other trademarks out there, or you run into difficulties with like, I think this one had a URL that was so convoluted, because there were three other ones in their industry with all the good URL, so it starts getting complex. I think a lot of what we’ve been talking about those like really obvious and practical considerations, either, you know, it’s not working from a legal or availability, or it’s outgrown where you want to go. There’s also potentially some more like, ethereal abstract reasons. Like, either it’s confusing, or it doesn’t feel like it’s us, or, you know, our team has grown and changed and nobody wants to wear it on a t shirt. What are what do you think about some of those reasons? And are there any kind of things to think about, or maybe even avoid in that scenario,
RENE: Tthat’s the kind of thing I was like to prod Prem, because I find that it’s so easy to view a new name is kind of like a panacea. You know, it’s like, Hey, I’m gonna uproot everything, give it a new name, and hey, we’re starting from scratch. But the truth is, that soul that kind of ethos of your brand still exists out there. And this is where I think you really got to challenge yourself and go the sentiment that we’ve created our customer experience, the digital touchpoints the overall visual language, the way that we’re communicating our value prop the relationships that we have with our vendors, or clients or team. How much of that is actually in line? Is it really a naming issue? Or is it perhaps so much more than that? And I’m just always cautious against this idea that really want to hang your hat on one item and be like new name new me. And that’s not the case.=
LINZ: Although I do think it does. We have seen companies do new name new me really well, as long as they’re, it’s building upon something that is already really strong, like the new me can’t be. We’re just trying to brush some stuff under the under the rug here. And we’re gonna give ourselves some new lipstick. And away we go. It’s that, hey, we’ve done really well as a company to this stage, or name doesn’t fully have I mean, we haven’t really talked about brand story yet. In terms of an a brand theme and the importance of the name representing the story of your Braveheart speech. You know, like who are you at the fundamentals of who have as a core of a company and your name being reflection of that and I think that’s where we always start within the process. So if you’ve got something really good at the core of your how, why and why didn’t Simon cynics gonna golden circle for all your marketing? fanatics out there?
PREM: Their podcast? Yeah. You want to learn more? writes familiar or unfamiliar or interesting Baboom? Maybe go around like if you could, if you had one piece of advice for company and organization considering undergoing the naming process with us or with someone else or amongst themselves, what would be one thing that you would want them to know or like a piece of advice that you would give them? We’ll start with you, Rene.
RENE: Oh, geez. This is probably the last thing you want to hear, you know, Creative Director at a naming agency say, but it’s very easy to overstate the importance of a name, don’t do it if you’re not serious about really revisiting. Or don’t do it, if you think it’s going to be a quick fix. If it’s you need to look at it holistically your brand is so much more than your name, your brand is so much more than your logo, your typeface, your color palette, is everything together. A really great example is some of the best bands in the world, some of the most beloved bands have just ridiculous stupid names. But the name at the same time appropriate and becomes whatever kind of presence you put out there in the market, you can get so caught up on it. There are totally very legit reasons why you should rename a company. We do it all day long. But you really need to identify that it’s going to solve a specific pain point and don’t treat it as though it’s going to be a magic bullet to solve product positioning challenges or larger cultural issues within your organization, or even brand architecture stuff. And they won’t fix that. So make sure that you’re not using rename exercise to solve their own problems.
PREM: Nice lens,
LINZ: I think people need to really think about the fact that this isn’t just about coming up with a creative name. It’s not really about what the name is going to be which which you said earlier Prem, it’s really about the process, that people that companies and organizations go through in order to make sure that that name is well thought out. And it is built on set on a foundation that is true to the core of what their organization is and what the organization stands, stands for.
PREM: Nice. I think, I think mine having done this quite a few times now is to acknowledge and just know that naming is a difficult process. It’s an emotional process. As much as we’d like to think we gather the data, and we look at all the testing and whatnot, and we make the decision with our head, oftentimes, the decision is made with our heart and our gut. And so I don’t think that that’s necessarily the worst thing in the world. But if everybody in the room is willing to acknowledge that that’s sort of the metric that we’re going by and be open and honest, and discuss it and talk about those feelings, I think the process goes so much better. So I really recommend that if you’re considering going down this path to kind of look inward and just see what you know what this is going to take and what you are considering and what you are bringing to the table in terms of your thoughts and hopes and ideas. And just open that up to whoever you’re working with on that. Because I think it’s going to make the process so much better. That’s great advice. That’s what my therapist asked me about my life as well. So let’s get into this then, in terms of you know, Lindsay, were mentioning this brand story, and I think it’s a really great place to start. What is the process of naming look like? And I’d actually like to talk about what is the process of massive look like? Because I think that’s the thing we know best?
RENE: Yeah, I mean, we begin every project no matter what it is, you know, branding, exercise, website, redesign, marketing, campaign stuff, it all starts with research, right? So you need to really understand the soul of the organization, every individual, every organization has some kind of an ethos, whether or not they can articulate it or not. And a naming exercise, much like a website designer brand is just kind of extracting that sometimes very ambiguous kind of vapor giving it form. And then finding ways to express that in a way that others will actually be able to recognize, understand, self select into it. Same time.
LINZ: Workshops are a big part of our process, no matter you know, what we’re doing for companies, but we have a pretty vigorous brand scape and ideation session for naming. And then from there we get into because a big part of it too, is we want to we actually want our clients to get their names out. It’s so common for clients to go off, brainstorm, think about their own stuff. And our names aren’t always like the names that we come up with, again, we’re just an extension of our clients teams. They’re equally I mean, well, not everybody, some people just let us do it. And you know, we do all the brainstorming, and then we put it through our process, but it’s very, very common for our clients be part of that.
PREM: And at the very least, we want to like what a good name is is so subjective, so we want to make sure that we take the time and the effort and the collaborative approach to really assess what are you judging the name by what does success look like for you? You know, does it some people are like I do not want an If he ending to my name Oh, totally Yes, the letters Zed and X or i Li Yeah, exactly. And, and that’s really good for us to know, because we may find a name that we really liked. But if we’re gonna put it in front of you, and it violates those criteria that we all agreed upon, then then what’s the point? You know, so it’s important to get
LINZ: that and it’s such a good point praying, because often there are these unwritten rules that we don’t even know about from our clients. So these, these workshops are essentially a great way for us to figure out what those rules are the on. Yeah, the unknown. What do you want to call landmines that you can?
PREM: And you know, often Lindsay, like when we do these exercises, it’s unknown to them until we bring up an example. Or we say, Have you considered this? And then people like, oh, no, I actually didn’t know I hated all of these names. That’s good for me to know. And then it’s, it’s just like you said, collaborative processes, the best way to get the best information.
RENE: So we begin with research, and that’s equal parts extraction, competitive competitive analysis, we really try to understand kind of the soul of the organization, what their internal culture is how they’re currently communicating the value prop, if they are, we also to frame this point, really look at what their kind of decision making criteria, and we’ve had organizations that come to us and say, needs to be a.com needs to be a.ca needs to be an English word that is instantly recognizable,
LINZ: Which we thought, by the way is next to impossible in some industries. It is like it, it is it’s hard to make someone unique, when you’re going for a one or two syllable word that everybody has heard of.
RENE: Okay, hold the room. What’s the hardest industry to name for?
LINZ: Energy and finance?
PREM: I was gonna say, finance,
RENE: I was gonna say finance and real estate.
PREM: I would also say actually, software. Yeah, software is really difficult, really, because you can
LINZ: there’s so made up names are so common in software that I find that
PREM: I think we’re talking about finding like a an English word that’s like, oh, yeah, we’re still on that track. And even in the financial real estate, like there are names available, you just gotta go outside the box a little.
RENE: And you’re probably going to be paying, you know, a kidney to get the URL you want.
PREM: Yeah. Oh, five two, though.
LINZ: That’s fine. What’s the most anyone’s ever paid for a URL?
PREM: So this one recently, I don’t think anybody’s paid this. But we were doing due diligence for one of our clients, one of the URLs was 2.8 million. Whoa, isn’t that crazy? Can you tell? It was I just can’t remember it. It was for? Well, it was for Mark?
LINZ: Well, Prem is looking that up. The most I’ve ever paid for a domain name was $25,000. It was in 2004. And it was for my zone media. That was my zone.com.
RENE: So extracting that criteria is a really big part of our process just to try to figure out, Hey, what are your kind of what are the constraints?
PREM: So we’ve extracted everything, we’ve downloaded your brain into ours, in a very pleasant and enjoyable experience doesn’t hurt anybody. And then, Lindsey, you were talking about brand stories. And I think that’s a really good point to, like, emphasize here is, maybe we start off with what is a brand story, like, what does that mean to have a story for your brand?
LINZ: I’m gonna let Rene say this one, because this is what you call the Braveheart speech.
RENE: Yeah, yeah. The Braveheart speech. I mean, the brand story is your rallying cry, right? It’s the emotive, Braveheart speech that kind of captures all of that ambiguous stuff that sometimes it’s hard to communicate. Whereas sometimes, like a value prop can sound very corporate and jargony. I always think
LINZ: of the value proposition is more like your elevator pitch different lengths. And then the Braveheart speech. I mean, that a great way I find people’s light bulbs go on in their head when we say it’s like it often is used for a script for video or a commercial or, like a light ad, is not necessarily going to be word for word, what we would use as the script, but it’s always the starting place because it’s very touchy feely and emotive and it’s very visionary. Whereas
PREM: It tugs at the heartstrings. Yeah, like, that’s how you know, it’s a good one is, is if it’s tapping into something that isn’t using your brain, it’s using, like, your heart and your emotions. And when you can, like, kind of go into there, you’re like, oh, okay, this is something that even subconsciously or when people are interacting with us, they’re thinking about this sort of thing. And it’s tapping a part of their brain that isn’t normally like connected on purchasing decisions or whatever.
RENE: Yeah, you know, the positioning statements, or USP, whatever you want to call it. We use a framework called the onus statement for that, right? We run a lot of clients through that it really is meant to narrow down on who you’re targeting, what the value prop is, what geographic location there is, and like the broader kind of cultural zeitgeist in which your company or your value prop exists, it’s really packed and it can sometimes just seem like your hand fisting stuff into this value prop, whereas the brand story itself is really emotive, it’s meant to be a lot more literary. It’s meant to your point praying you know, tug at the heartstrings. It has a lot more room to breathe. You have a lot more kind of creative expression in it. And it’s not uncommon for us to use it as voiceovers for ads. I saw a great one for like cryptocurrency ad X actually, which has a tagline crazily close to us with Matt Damon. Anyone know what I’m talking about? What it was the future? It wasn’t the future favors the bold but it was like that should be sue them. Slow clap anything Matt Damon does you can have it man.
LINZ: I was getting the joke and we can’t afford to sue them. I’m like anybody who can afford to hire Matt Damon is well above our pay grade
PREM: Matt Damon, we’ll buy you two coffees, if you want to come over. She had a commercial with us. That’d be great.
RENE: I’ll tell you what, Matt Damon, it’s we’ll call it even if you do a voiceover for one of our own ads. How about that?
PREM: Yeah, exactly. But in terms of the brand story, I think even beyond the actual writing of it, like oftentimes when when our our writers are crafting that or strategists are trying to figure that out, you’re pointing to these like intangible ideas that are like societal that are like, resonating, no matter sort of what background or what situation you find yourself in like these, like really core ideas, and you kind of like, tether yourself to a few of those. Yeah. And that’s oftentimes when we’re in the naming process to kind of bring it back to what we were talking about. The extraction piece and the research and the workshops are to really start identifying what are those tethers? What are those pillars that we want to like, kind of, you know, tie ourselves to and stand on top of and kind of yell from the top of that pillar,
RENE: You know, that’s such a great point Prem is something I think is so salient in the broader conversation around branding. In general, there’s so many individuals who want to create something that new and I think the strongest brands are ones that they didn’t start from nothing, they started from a real industry pain point, there was an industry truth or some kind of a righteous anger, a fire in the belly. And that’s how they began to begin with. And the brand, the most successful brands in the world piggyback on that righteous anger, and they are anti, that whatever that is, they are very kind of almost divisive, sometimes in terms of the stance they take. They’re unapologetic in that. And it’s very rare that you see a successful company that’s created that sort of a sentiment out of nowhere, they’re really just capturing and using that underlying kind of cultural current that already exists. And just piggybacking on top of that,
PREM: yeah, and to be clear, I mean, it doesn’t have to be contentious either. Like there’s these really core ideas of family of, you know, in being inviting, being welcoming, like, creating a space where people feel like they can be themselves, like those things are just almost universally desired by a lot of people, right. And if you can tap into that. And the reason I guess we start with that is because that isn’t solely in the name, it’s like and we always do this kind of coaching right at the beginning of our naming process, where the way we view brand is that when you have decided on that and you figured out what those pillars are, you can pull that into your visual identity, you can pull that into your logo, your website, design, your name, your customer experience, your messaging, your culture onboarding, you’re like, imagery like it a brand that knows what those are, can then pull those through a myriad of touchpoints and a myriad of ways. And that’s actually how when you think of brands, and you think of what’s leading in the market, that’s how they’ve created that, like, gargantuan perception, you know, is because they’ve done that they’ve pulled, I think, if I had a nickel for every time someone pulled up Apple as an example, totally Tesla, it would be so rich. But the reason Apple comes to the forefront is because you think of their store, you think of their product, you think of their online experience, you think of their customer experience, you think of their software, you think of their like, you know, Steve Jobs on that stage with a turtleneck and a big screen like all of those just like Scream innovation, they scream, elegant design, they just all of it is flowing through every single piece of it. And that’s what makes you feel like Wow, I like their brand. You’re really talking about
RENE: Brand archetypes right now. Right You got outlaw magician hero lover, jester everyman, caregiver, ruler, caretaker innocence and sage explore. And well what was that? 11 But I think there’s 12 or 12 Yeah, I may have missed one on there. But yeah, regardless, those brand archetype archetypes and knowing what you are, and if you can kind of rally all of your messaging and the name behind that, that kind of set so long as it’s really
PREM: true. Is this a bad time to say that I hate brand archetype
RENE: That’s why I bring it up. But you know what, there’s someone in the audience Prime was like you’re just saying brand dark. So I had to I had to give it a name because I Just to silence that one person who
PREM: I, I’m suspicious of anything that breaks a complex topic down into a discrete number that is don’t put me in a box? Well, I’m just saying, you know, they’re a brand, a sage brand. Yes, it has certain characteristics, but there’s a spectrum of different, quote unquote, Sage brands. And I think it’s less about focusing on the sage aspect and more focusing on like, what are the principles that we care about? And I know that that’s really productive. And I’m sure there’s, you know, there’s a lot of science that goes into
LINZ: It makes sense, I think frameworks help people make sense of the world. But to assume that everything needs to live neatly in a framework is a little bit naive.
PREM: Yeah. And I think oftentimes, what will end up happening is when you start off with an archetype, I think it’s a great inspiration point. But it becomes like a guardrail, like we are the sage, we can’t be anything else, we have to have these traits, we have to showcase show up in a certain way. And that’s how you kind of get boxed into something that isn’t scalable, that isn’t really suiting the changing nature of what we actually experience. And that’s kind of where I draw the problem. So actually, let me rephrase my original statement, I don’t necessarily hate them, I find them an easy thing to sort of fall into a predictable and boring, boring pattern. If you haven’t done enough work to sort of go past that. It’s a great starting point. Yeah. But it shouldn’t be the only thing that you use to conceive of your brand.
LINZ: That makes sense.
RENE: Yeah, rules are meant to be broken, right? I mean, even you think about
LINZ: Because Rene, who made our tagline break new ground.
RENE: Yeah, you when it comes down to the visual design system, and continuity, and that if it’s constraining you from actually being, you know, what you are, and living out that soul in the market, then, you know, it’s time to break a few rules. And I think, to your point, Prem, that architecture, is just are archetypes. Rather, it’s so easy to get confound, or confined, confined by that. And then just, it starts to lack creativity. And you take like a really, it’s very easy to treat all these things, you know, very high mindedly and somewhere along the line, you can kind of miss the forest for the trees because you forget this old part.
PREM: And sorry, islands, go ahead, I was just gonna say one of the things that I think what I like is, you know, you need to balance the right amount of structure that gives clarity without so much that it like creates rigidity, you know, there’s there’s a really delicate balance between putting too much structure and putting too many confines and frameworks, and then also not putting enough and it’s just something that you always have to watch off or watch out for.
LINZ: So part of our process that we go through is like you said Prem going down these really deep down these wells of themes and topics right. And I remember once and I’m so curious to find out what you guys are gonna say for this I remember going down the path of looking at names for animals that had incredible speed and incredible strength so they were really resilient and so I found myself researching and going down and sometimes you can get into these rabbit holes what path have you guys gone down and what rabbit holes have you gotten down? Pun intended? Strong animals No just kidding speed animals. Oh dear.
PREM: No, I get you I get you I don’t I don’t want you to come in any further we just need that as a take.
RENE: We’ll stop what rabbit holes have we gone down? It’s there every everyone? I mean, we have
LINZ: No but what’s the most the craziest one of the most memorable one.
RENE: I’ve started going down like pirate glossaries like that type of stuff you research I think we have like over 25 Different glossaries and our ultimate branding kind of resource spreadsheet which is an internal document which none of you will ever see. But unless you’re unless you work for it unless you’ve been
PREM: you know and then you know once you once you see it, you can’t leave
RENE: Yeah, right. Like geography land structures space, like molecular biology, like we go down some weird metaphorical literal rabbit holes to your point lens. So it’s all over the map.
PREM: My search history is a mess of these like past weeks because you’re always looking for things I think my it what I think is also interesting is that when you watch a person do naming, they always go down paths that like they naturally it gets it’s cool to get it. Oftentimes we have a team on these because you get such disparate ideas and different pathways. For me, I’m always down at them illogical holes. So I’ll be like, what is the root of this word? Oh, this word? Well, this word sounds like this word. What is this word? And then by the end of it, you’re like in some like, ancient Greek manual for like grammar. And you’re like, This has nothing to do with where I was. But often I actually, you know, we were as part of this, you know, we’re training people to do naming in on the team as well. And I think originally people feel little shy about the directions that they’re going. And you’re like, No, this is all part of the process, because you may be going down a rabbit hole that means nothing to the project or will give you a name, but it will give you like a bridge to another rabbit hole. And it’s totally Well, that’s where all the gold is. Yeah. So you just got to kind of follow your nose with this as well. You know, oftentimes clients come to us and they’re like, is there a particular process that comes to you when you’re when you’re thinking about and we do have a defined process like we’ve been talking about, but when it comes to finding that name,
Lindsay Smith 35:29
it’s it’s it’s following your nose, it’s going out into this magical forest of like, potential words, millions and millions and billions of words and in the world, and then following a path and seeing what you can pick up along the way. It’s like collecting easter eggs. Yeah, he’s right.
PREM: We’ve got these spreadsheets with like hundreds of ideas. And then we like go through and we’re like, okay, what is actually a good name or what is something that we can work with. And it’s a constant process of going out exploring, gathering, bringing back to your little name, burrow and then sorting and throwing things out in the trash.
Lindsay Smith 36:01
So speaking of named bros, I am very excited to share with you my most interesting one, as I was going down the rabbit hole of animals with strength and resilience, I came across a tardigrade. Do you know what that is? Do you? How do you know what that is? Who knows what that is? You are okay. What is it prime?
PREM: Isn’t it? Like? Maybe I’m wrong? Isn’t it like a weird mole thing?
Lindsay Smith 36:26
It’s a microscopic eight legged animal that has been to outer if you were to, if it were to go up to outer space, or in or live through in a cop, it could live through an apocalypse, which I found absolutely fascinating. But the moral of my story is I also started getting news articles on tardigrades for the next 30 days afterwards. So be careful what you search for people are always searching
RENE: If you are a Google algorithm, like this is the one thing I always think about every time I read some sort of like privacy article. I’m always like, Man, I wouldn’t everyone
Lindsay Smith 36:55
at massive that’s on the naming committee is like schizophrenic like and just test
RENE: Yeah, let them watch us. Because what a weird, crazy trail that is
PREM: Totally, totally, totally.
Lindsay Smith 37:07
All these different worlds we live in. Yeah,
PREM: I know. And I think everybody you know, Rene, you may be going down a music pathway, or like, you may go like a certain like interest, you know, we someone might go down a sports, and that’s kind of their seed, and then they go into sports terminology and go from there. So I think no matter where you start, as long as you have enough time, and you cover enough ground, you end up getting these really cool gems that just sort of pop up and you’re like, Oh, that is so cool. And I think oftentimes, our clients will come to us and be like, where did you pull that from, and you’re like, if you if you knew if you knew the path that we had been on, and you knew that this was one gold nugget out of like tons of coal, like a lot of it is the curation in the in the selection part of it.
Lindsay Smith 37:49
And one, one piece of coal to one search might be gold in another. And I think that’s part of the value of going through this process, as we’ve done it so many times that we have this incredible name bank, we have this process that we’re constantly finding new, but also we’re able to go back into our library of all of these other, like 1000s of names that we’ve come across over the years that hasn’t found the home yet that it’s that that it’s looking for,
RENE: It becomes exponentially easier, the longer you do it, and the more reps you have under your belt, right?
PREM: Definitely, definitely. But that comes down to so you know, we talked about these brand stories, oftentimes those pillars that we talked about are what is guiding our decision on whether or not this name would work, you know, in addition to the success criteria, so So now we come down to this point where we’ve gathered all of these names, we have this, you know, tons of rabbit holes, our search history is wrecked. We’re maybe shortlisting and then we get to like real world matters, which is like due diligence lens. I know you’re super passionate about that. But like, what is important when it comes to due diligence, like, you know, what do we like to consider what should people be thinking about even as they go through this process?
Lindsay Smith 39:00
Yeah, I mean, it really does come down to whether or not what are the risks for trademarking. So we identify everything is low risk, medium risk or high risk, it is just a general parameter. And then we talk about the pros and cons of, you know, if you find nother, something that often comes up is the question is, if I have a word with just a slightly different spelling, in the finance industry, can I name it? I kind of give it a different spelling and can we still use that in finance? And the answer is no, you can’t. If if you however, use that in a completely different industry like food, and there’s no one else in that. You know, that has that a similar name and any different spelling, then it’s fine because it’s more about what the word sounds like in the confusion in visual and and auditory confusion are just as important as actually that the written form of the word. So being able to do that due diligence, obviously because we’re in Canada most So far due diligence happens from the Canadian trademark database, it’s actually a free resource online, anybody can use it, it is a little bit, you know, it’s a tiny little bit of a learning curve to figure out how to use it. But once you get it, you get it. And then obviously, it’s just the it’s the legwork of like social handles, my gosh, finding social handles is probably my least favorite thing to do. Because everybody and in their dog owns 20 of them.
PREM: It’s like a good investment strategy. If you’re, if you’re looking for some quick cash, just buy up some value. I think I think
Lindsay Smith 40:32
PREM: I’m pretty sure that’s not recommended advice, media. This is just me joking.
Lindsay Smith 40:42
And then obviously, the domains are a big piece of it too. And then we also just run it through Is it easy to say, and you know, what, there’s some there’s sometimes you’ll you’ll land on a name that isn’t obvious and easy to say. But there’s small things that you can do in the process of naming. And creating your brand that help people understand it, like we’ve put audio clips on websites before as you’re as you’re introducing a new brand into the market. You know, the like it can be radio ads, things like that, where you’re just repeating the name over and over and over again. I wouldn’t recommend that for smaller brands. But you know, it just it just depends. There’s use cases where it makes sense to and then there’s a lot of use cases where it doesn’t make sense to but the easier it is to say the better. So there’s there’s a long checklist of things that we look for, but those are those are the primary ones. Important. I don’t know, am I missing? You guys do this all this time? Am I missing?
PREM: I think you’re right. And to reiterate what I think we said earlier, we are not trademark lawyers, right. And so we always do recommend that you run it by and do a, like a formal search. Oftentimes, that’s part of the trademarking process, and they can find things that we can’t, and trademark law is, is it’s not 100% subjective, but there are cases you know, where you can proceed with caution, or there’s a potential risk, but a lawyer would assess that and say, Yes, we should acknowledge it, but we would still feel confident putting forward that application. And that sort of insight is really great to know. So I think we always treat, like you said that due diligence as like a risk level and a risk threshold, here’s things that you should consider, maybe it doesn’t prevent you, if you really love that name, and you want to go after it, there may be ways to get that. But just know that maybe one way is going to have a really flat path, the other one is gonna be like a really steep uphill, and you may reach your destination at the end. It’s just how much cost and time and effort are you willing to put into that? Yeah,
RENE: I mean, if we’re going to dive into, you know, the theory of names and trademarking in general, again, with the what are we on number five of saying that we’re not, you know, trademark lawyers here. But you have the distinctive element, our quota seven, seven, this one, where are we? We’re on three.
PREM: So you got four more beautiful,
RENE: I’m not going to use those up until Yeah, these bearing. Yeah, they’re very expensive. So legally, folks, a name consists of three different portions, right or parts, you’ve got the distinctive element. So in the case of Apple, right, so say, if Apple computers Inc, the descriptive element is Apple, then you’ve got the descriptive element, which is computers, and then you’ve got the ink, which is that corporate element. And so by mixing and matching those three, you do have some levers if you come up against some stuff, like tough competition with a different nice class or what have you. And then there are different things that you just can’t trademark legally. And for those of you taking notes from home, we do have a list on a blog post on our website that will link to in the show notes. But first and foremost, you can’t trademark just a name or surname. So Lindsey Smith, you can’t just have you know, Smith agency, Inc. Doesn’t work is just too common. And it’s just way too much competition. So you can’t do it. I didn’t know that. Yeah, there you go. Number two, you can’t register marks that are descriptive or parts of a common domain. So the example we give in our blog is wait for it is son of a crap. I’m totally Oh, sweet ice cream. So you can’t just choose a descriptive word and be like, great lawyer. Something like yeah, no, yeah, yeah. What is it great clips, good clips. If they were like great haircut, they probably wouldn’t have got that passed the trademark line?
PREM: Yeah, it’s also just a boring name sweet ice cream, like come on. think better, do better. That’s not a great brand story.
RENE: Yeah, you can’t register false or deceptive marks, you’ll see that and some of like the 100% beef or there are all these different case studies, especially in the food and consumable goods, where they try to name the company something like 100% gluten free and they try to make that the company name and you can’t if it’s false, so that’s another one. You can’t register anything that could be confused with existing places or institutions. So you know, you can’t name anything after a really huge landmark, the Taj Mahal that said to thing tell them
LINZ: All they have to have find something on the blog. I got one
RENE: More you can’t trademark anything similar or pending to an existing trademark, but that’s to seven, that’s kind of like your Coles notes in terms of what you can trademark. So when you’re thinking of names, and you’re pitching them around internally, there you go.
PREM: Yeah, it’s good to know. Um, I think the other thing to note in terms of like, when you’re going so so, you know, we talked about due diligence, oftentimes, you know, we’re flagging these things early on in the process. Once you get to a point where you know, you have a favorite or you really like your name, we actually also recommend maybe choosing two or three backups as you go through that process with the lawyer. Because if your beloved sort of shows up, and it’s not available, a you don’t want to be kind of stuck and have to redo this whole process, and be it helps you sort of stay fluid and not get too attached, it gives you some some leeway there. So so that’s a really good thing to consider. But once you get past that point, and ideally, you know, you’ve done the trademarking check, everything’s in the all clear, you know, you’ve continued on, you’ve selected into a name, maybe you’re working on a logo, and that sort of stuff like that. Another important thing that I don’t think people often consider, in addition to the costs, like trademark searches domains, is the cost of implementation. You know, once you’ve decided to change your name, there’s a lot that you may have to change on the other side of that, right things like you know, your your swag, your cards, your signage, all the way through to potentially even like some legal changes, or business registrations or doing a DBA, or what have you, there’s all these different things that are important to consider. So I think, part of that naming process, or at least when you’re starting out is to, to think about that, is there anything else that people should know about?
RENE: You know, there’s, you can find a lot of kind of checklist online of things to consider in terms of, you know, you’re gonna have to change billing, if you have a ton of vendors that you’re invoicing, you have to think of all that sort of stuff as well, it’s quite arduous. In fact, there are entire agencies that just focus on the implementation side and not even creative in terms of the naming of the visual it or any of that. It’s just only thinking about the impact of rollout. You know, it really depends on the size of organizations, while it becomes significantly more challenging, the bigger you are. But yeah, there’s there’s a ton to consider.
PREM: And that’s just the practical aspect, I think, what is also a thing to consider, also, I find exciting, I don’t know if you guys do as well, but like this idea of a rollout. Like think about how you want to unveil that sometimes there’s there’s a lot that you can you know, is it a countdown? Is it a new landing page is it like, unlike pulling the curtain down at an event, like there is some excitement that you can think of when it comes to you know, wanting to showcase that and use it as like a point in the ground to be like, Hey, this is the new you new me type vibe. Like you can use that as like a stepping point to talk about the rest of that stuff, too.=
LINZ: Yeah, yeah, it’s so true. I think some of the fun things to watch is when they get rolled out on vehicles, see, like the vehicles all of a sudden around the city, and you’re like, Oh, that’s cool. You know?
RENE: Yeah, we could do a whole other podcast just on launches, and how to we shall, and we shall,
PREM: Yeah, we shall. But let’s, let’s talk about something that is really, really important to this process, which is going back to this idea of naming, you know, you’re changing your identity often, and that can have impacts on the internal team, and the culture and how you want and that can be a good thing. But that can also be something that if you haven’t thought about that, are we really challenging, right? And so what are some of the ways that that we’ve coached people through that process, I think, or how do you ensure that going through that process, you’re not going to be like, and his name is Dara, and everybody’s like, Oh, yeah,
LINZ: That’s a really good question. We we’ve we’ve done that quite a few times in terms of again, it depends on how much the organization is aligned in advance with the idea of the change. Yeah, so I think what we’ve seen in this case, a lot is nice. We see it mostly with parent companies that have subsidiary companies or divisions that have had their own identities, each of them individually, and then they’re all streamlining under one name, one brand story, and so on to create more cohesion and stronger to unify the culture throughout the organization. And what we’ve seen is focus groups can be really good at the beginning in terms of finding out if there’s any pain point from the differences. And then other times we’ve seen it come down from the top, and it’s more they’ve already they’ve had individual conversations with many different people in many different groups, rather than doing it in focus group clusters. And they’ve collected that feedback through one on one relationship and then compiled that really thought through it really listened to it, and then made sure that all that feedback went through into the naming process as we went just so that they could understand if there were any sensitivities that they would land on or what the pain points would be throughout the organization. If when they do this rollout, and sometimes we’ll do that at the beginning before they decide on doing an NAV and exercise, so are going through the full renaming process. And,
RENE: You know, one thing I think it’s just important to get out of the way is you are going to have people who do not like your name, no matter what, that’s how
PREM: We should have started this podcast that is really it is, is it? Is
RENE: It a divisive thing, people will love it, people will hate it, you’ll get everything. Like, it’s like being a kid. I mean, we start off and say that in the presentations we
PREM: took kid Rene, like,
RENE: We’re gonna take personal insults off the table for this one. Good point, though, regardless, thank you, thanks for him, you’re gonna get a lot of different varying feedback. And that’s just part of it. And if you don’t have an appetite for that, and if you want to be everything to everyone, then you’re gonna have a hard time actually doing anything really worthwhile with your organization, let alone naming a company, you’re going to constantly find something that just kind of comes out in the wash. Naming is inherently polarizing people love it, people hate it. And at the end of the day, what we aim to do is have everything about your brand, speak to that name in such a way that people can’t separate the ethos and the underlying value of that organization with the name, they just become so interconnected.
LINZ: What do you want, oh, sorry, Premier, we’re probably gonna go down this road. But just with bringing it back to naming a child, if you tell everybody what you’re going to name the child before the child pops out, it’s like a lot of people like I hate that name. It reminds me of Yeah. Whereas the child comes out, it gets named, and it goes throughout life with that name, and it grows up to hopefully a healthy individual. And that really has nothing to do with the name, you know what I mean, there’s all of these other factors that will make that organization healthy. And so we have to remember that that we can come up with a really great name that has incredible meaning that is in alignment with your overall brand. But it is not going to make or break it. And it doesn’t matter if Joe or Mary don’t like the name, they will accept the name, and they will move forward with it because it’s in the best interest of the organization.
PREM: And I think I think what I wanted to mention earlier is like it really fits into this as that really impacts then who you bring into this process. Because of that very same reason, you know, it’s really easy to have too many cooks in the kitchen, right kind of an early on in the process. But at the same time, if you don’t bring people along, then you won’t get buy in at the end of it. So like you were saying, Lindsay, it’s important to gather that feedback, take that in, but also to have someone in the room who can be that decision maker who can kind of understand the perspectives, bring that data in, but then also sort of lead the vision and make sure that we’re still aligning ourselves to what the overall objectives of we were trying to achieve in you know, this, when we started,
RENE: This is going to be something we’re going to be talking about a lot, because so much of what we do. And when our work sees the light of day, the success is really dependent on how well we match our process to our clients or our partners internal decision making culture, right, we talked about how there are kind of three primary ways, at least that we see every day, day in and day out, that our clients or organizations make decisions, right, you have best practice that’s very data driven, you can think of Google, right, leveraging a lot of qualitative and quantitative data. You have visionary leaders, which kind of disseminate decisions from the top down. That’s like a typical Apple, right with Steve Jobs. And then you’ve got decision by committee, which is pretty common if you’re professional services, and an organization where there’s a lot of partners we see a lot in legal realtors, mortgage brokers, accountants, that kind of thing. And the approach that you take, to actually have this name be adopted by the broader organization, or how successful you are in aligning a team behind it, I think is incredibly, it very much depends on the process, you take in terms of aligning that process around the organization’s natural decision making culture, if you try to match,
PREM: You take those variables, and then you throw in all the emotion and all the stuff that we’ve been talking about. On top of that all the variability of like what you need to consider it’s just a hot mess, sometimes until you’ve considered that
RENE: Totally, you know, but you have to work within the constraints. And I think that’s one thing that maybe isn’t talked about enough, or maybe explicitly enough is if you go into Google, and you spend all this time gold plating the presentation and you’ve spent 50 hours whittling and making the thing incredibly beautiful, but you haven’t validated or tested the actual contents of this presentation. They’re going to kick you out of the room. But if you go to Apple, and you do something where you spent all the time validating and you take four months to get the presentation in front of the C suite because you spent all this time validating but it doesn’t look good. You’re gonna get kicked out of the room, two very different approaches to decision making and how to move change through an organization. And I think one of the things that we look at and Prem This is such a huge Part of that exploration portion and research and discovery for us as much as we’re looking at the broader environmental factors and the value prop and who your customers are. And, you know, the industry truth. We’re looking at how does your organization move change throughout? And how do we make sure that this naming process kind of Rose downstream with that, and we’re not moving against your internal culture?
LINZ: Great point, Rene. Well said
PREM: Well said, I guess I think we’ve we’ve covered a lot of ground when it comes to naming. As I think maybe as a way to sort of wrap up, I’m trying to think of what is the takeaway, what is what is, what do we want to say about naming is kind of like the final piece of things, you know,
LINZ: When we do our naming, when we first started doing naming, we didn’t wrap visual identity into the process at the same time, because we didn’t want to invest too much time going down a visual identity, rabbit hole, or sorry, I shouldn’t even call it a rabbit hole, but just the time it takes to develop and craft that. And over the years, we found that the majority of time we do the process together now. And that’s because really, we need clients and people to be able to see how it all things together.
PREM: It was it was a pivotal turning point, I think in the way that we approached naming. And we didn’t take that decision lightly. Because I think we prefer something that is iterative. And that is, you know, you start with one building block, and then you build around it, and then you build around it and then you build around it. But what that does require is an understanding of if you put, you know, a brick down, you have a vision of what that building is going to look like. And I think we can do that because it’s kind of our job to do this day in and day out. But but it’s important to know that that’s not an easy thing to do. And it’s fact a tall order to ask someone to, you know, if they gave you a break, put it in a corner and said, Well, this is going to be the next tallest skyscraper, you think they’re a little crazy. So part of this is to bring you along that journey to say, Hey, this is how we’re seeing it. This is how we’re seeing the shape up. This is how we want you to see the shape up. What do you think about that? You know, can you imagine this now? Can you start seeing these things together. And when we pull those things, all together, it is in better service of building that cohesive brand, I think
RENE: It needs to be in a naming comes from messaging, the visual ID comes from messaging comes from the name, they’re all viewed holistically. And I think, you know, one of the one of the things a lot of people come to us and want is a really scrapping naming process, and
LINZ: Not a lot some. Yeah, okay,
RENE: Let me let me Yeah, cool. Take, here we go. We’ve had organizations come to us and look for a little bit more scrappy naming process, right. And that’s how we first started because we were very, a lot of our processes are very kind of, you know, Eric Ries Lean Startup, iterative, you know, fine, like the MVP in terms of getting there from like, A to Z as quickly as possible through testing and validation. And so you know, when people give us these budgets for naming, what we didn’t want to do was spend all this time crafting new creative direction, or something around a name that may never see the light of day. So we originally started off, brainstorming only names coming up with the story around them finding the themes, and we present them almost in a Google Doc or slide deck, it wasn’t very sexy, sort of a lot of utility. And we had nothing but pushback, we had about two, three years of just really arduous naming projects that would drag on months, if we’re being really honest about it. And I think what we found over time, is that to previous point, it’s very hard if you don’t work in the space, you know, to look at a name and imagine the creative implementation of it and see the way it all comes together. If you haven’t built those homes. You don’t know how they come together in the end.
PREM: Yeah, nobody. The other thing is, you know, when you when you put a spreadsheet of names in front of someone, you know, they can go through them and be like, I like this one. I like this one. I don’t like this one. I like this one. Nobody views a name in a silo. You know, you think of you think of McDonald’s, you know, you’re not just thinking of Mc d o n a l DS, you’re thinking of the Golden Arches. You’re thinking of the food flavor, you’re thinking of the customer service you’re thinking of the PR that’s the advertising
LINZ: Cool that cheese melted on that juicy was frying receipe
PREM: Burger and that has everything to do with the name McDonald’s and it has nothing to do with the name of McDonald’s kind of tying it back to what I started off this discussion with but I’m still thinking about crispy fries. Yeah, oh my God, those are so good. I’m definitely going to bury it after this. But it’s like even your customers your your your potential recruits your you know your team members. They’re never going to just see a name by itself. They’re always going to see logos. They’re always going to see colors. They’re always going to see a tagline a message. They’re going to see a product tagged alongside it and and For us to then go through and for anybody going through the name process to then try and decide on a name by just seeing its raw letters and not having the other pieces to consider. You are doing yourself a disservice, because then when we get into those parts of the process, you’re like, oh, actually, this name doesn’t really suit the visual identity I wanted or app doesn’t necessarily, you know, I liked it when it was there. But now that you’ve slapped on some taglines and brand messaging and imagery, it feels different. And so by putting it all together, right up front, which is still a relatively Lean process, I will say, you get, you get to consider all those factors together. And that serves you better overall, for the project and for your business.
RENE: It’s you gotta paint a complete story of what it is, you know, and I know this flies, if there any kind of like, you know, agency process or naming nerds out there, if that’s the thing,
LINZ: Naming nerd here, always just start a very small
RENE: Audience. This is for like, people, you’re not listening. But you know, Jake Knapp from Google Ventures, he’s a design partner, he talks, he’s got like a PDF out there called like, how to name a company in eight hours. And it’s great, don’t get me wrong, it’s great. It’s kind of inspired by the brand sprint, we take a lot of stuff from Google Ventures, thank you guys, you’ve produced some great frameworks and workshops, where we found it doesn’t work is it really that works if you’re with a startup, and you have all the C suite, all the decision makers in the room, it doesn’t work, when you are trying to exact change through a larger organization and kind of roll it down. Unless it’s a top down corporate culture for decision making. That type of thing doesn’t work. And the weird, imperfect metaphor I have is about, you know, we used to be selling these names and pitching them in a pretty static way. And we’d say, hey, just imagine the creative direction. And it demanded a lot of cognitive load, like our clients would have to just do a lot of mental gymnastics to try to figure out what’s in our head. And a lot would fall through the cracks. And our new process, which is crafting brand messaging, in some visual direction, inspiration, the new approach, not so new, our refined approach, refined approach. And later years where we’ve ended up landing is we’re not serving clients to move change through the organization just by doing names in the static environment. And what we’re doing now is pitching them brand concepts around a name, we’re really wrapping it in messaging, and in the beginning of a visual ID, so they can kind of see it in a more complete, holistic picture. And you know, it’s kind of just a naming version of what they used to do in Madison Ave, the first time they brought a copywriter, and a graphic designer into the room together. And the ads were just, you know, incredibly good. They were they was just lightyears ahead of what was when you treated them in silos, and we’re just doing the same thing for naming.
PREM: Totally. And so maybe the takeaway point is, you know, this holistic approach, although may seem like you said, Rene, not scrappy, not it, we found after so many years of trials that this really lends itself to everybody in the room, feeling like they’re part of the process, everybody in the room understanding what we’re talking about. And it directs conversations in a way that can really help us focus on you know, what are we trying to say, what do we want to look like, as opposed to, I don’t like this letter, or I don’t like the association. And I really think when we approach naming in that process of like, everybody wins, right? You you get a name that you can imagine and fall in love with and carry through and can kind of carry through the organization, we get to see your genuine reactions to the stuff that we’re putting in. And that really helps shape the visuals that we produce later on, or the the brand messaging that we produce overall. And together. I think at the end of that we’ve had some really, really strong work come out of that some really, really happy clients, some really, really happy team members, and everybody walks away being like, That’s a great name. That’s a great brand. I’m so glad we did that. And I think that that’s a really great place to be for everybody. Yeah,
LINZ: Anybody want to share their favorite name?
PREM: What’s your what’s your favorite name? Linds. Veilleux. Oh, nice.
LINZ: Yeah, I really liked that one.
RENE: That’s a good one. That’s an insurance one.
LINZ: Yeah, we named a insurance underwriting company Veilleux. Yep.
PREM: I’m a big fan of Ketch. Ketch is a good one. Because I think it’s the perfect example of a really awesome name. That is, it’s a boat, right? It’s a type of boat. But when you pay anyone exactly when you pull out ideas of speed and movement and like style, like it’s a really great example of a name that sounds perfect for the brand, but it means nothing related to fashion or shoes. And I love those kinds of names. And it’s a it is a shoe company. Yeah, exactly. The company. Check out the case study on our website.
RENE: It’s right there. Still Avon is mine. That is a good one. It just that idea of Haven and still I know it actually is a Danish origin. And there’s a lot of geographical insights kind of went into that but it has it means something different to everyone. I think it’s quite versatile
LINZ: And their brand story and brand theme that we went after or the direction that we went in with sanctuary Word that they chose out of the five options that we gave them. So it was yeah, it’s that is a nice one. Well, I think that about wraps it up. We’ve talked about so many things all under the topic of naming and branding. What happens when people want to find out more about us?
PREM: So great question Lynn’s. Well, we are, of course on all the socials, you can catch us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all in at engage massive. We’ve also got a website Rene, I think,
RENE: engage massive.com Prime, that’s the one. And for those of you listening, if you are considering a naming project, maybe a rebrand. Maybe you’re trying to figure out if it’s the right time or if you should do it at all. Drop us a line send us an email. Later flair. Send us a smoke signal. Pigeon carrier pigeon. Anyway, really, but we’re happy to chat through it and help you on that journey.
PREM: This has been massive talks. We’ll catch you on the next podcast. Thanks for listening.