Classic naming pitfalls

Naming is pretty straight-forward if you know what you’re doing. But even then, it’s easy to fall into some common pitfalls.  The ones below can happen to anyone. Let's make sure they don't happen to you!

Not doing your pre-work

Naming is a whole lot easier if you set yourself up for success before you start. Here’s what can happen if you don’t.

Putting creative before strategy

Nobody likes to do strategy (except the strategists). Everyone’s chomping at the bit to dive in and start brainstorming already! And it’s true: coming up with hundreds of names is super fun! But if you don’t have a rules that guide how you name, and a strategy for what naming success will look like, you might wind up with hundreds of wrong names.

Not knowing the process you’ll follow

Naming is weird. So make sure you have a roadmap to help you stay on process. For example: how many rounds of naming can you do, time and budget willing? Who will come up with naming criteria? Who is the final decision maker? At what stage will you screen names for trademark viability – before showing them to leadership, or after? If you have more than one final decision maker, what will you do if they don’t agree? Getting your process tight before you get started will help prevent hangups down the road.

Not aligning with everyone

Moving forward without clear agreement (with each other, with leadership) can result in gridlock, lost time, lost money, frustration – or all of the above. It’s like having a baby with a partner who’s not on board. You can do it, but it’s going to cause a whole bunch of heartache down the road. It'd be no good to show your stakeholders a final shortlist of names and have them hate all of them. At the very least, get your senior leaders and teams involved at the beginning of any naming project to help create and approve the criteria for naming.

Ignoring that people are at the center of the naming process

Here’s the truth: amongst those that aren’t and those that are deeply familiar with the naming process there’s a tendency to think the secret to naming is to be super-duper creative, or super-duper strategic. And to be sure, those are both critical for naming success. However, there’s a secret pitfall that almost everyone ignores – it can be a death knell in any naming project: and that’s people.

People are funny creatures. We’re subjective, emotional, political, mercurial, confused, egotistical, shy, busy, distracted. In a word, we’re complicated.

Understanding this, and setting up a process to accommodate it, can mean the difference between 4-weeks of fun or 16-weeks of pain and frustration.

One of the greatest values of hiring a consultant or agency isn’t that we have a monopoly on creativity and coming up with name ideas, but rather, that we’re more experienced in understanding how the process can go wrong, and how to avoid some of those bumps in the road.

If we can help clarify any of the above, or guide you on how to avoid a pitfall or two, feel free to reach out and we’ll see how we can help.

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