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10 Steps to a Successful Naming Workshop

by Emma O'Brien  |  
October 23, 2014

In this article you'll learn...

  • Why a good naming workshop matters
  • How to run your own workshop
  • Effective and fun exercises for generating ideas

We've all named things in our lives: pets, children, weird snack concoctions... So naming your new product or company should be a breeze, right? Unfortunately, that's rarely the case.

A good product or brand name should be memorable, and it should support a larger strategy. It also has to be accepted by your entire organization—and it's at that stage where most internal naming efforts are thwarted before they've even begun in earnest.

Naming is an art, and there's a reason dedicated naming agencies exist. Without a strategic plan, a naming initiative can quickly devolve into a free-for-all, with stakeholders battling it out for their personal favorite.

That doesn't mean you have to automatically hand over your naming project to the experts. But if you approach it the way a naming agency would, you'll have better chances of success.

The entire process starts with a good naming workshop to help set up the playing field, establish key parameters, and ultimately increase your chances of reaching consensus.

Here are 10 steps to running an effective, relatively pain-free naming workshop.

1. Get Everyone Together in a Room

And not just the marketing folk. There's value in getting people from different parts of your organization involved. The goal is to get as much fodder—ideas—as possible; new perspectives are vital. What's more, an inclusive approach will get people on the same page and make buy-in easier down the road.

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Emma O'Brien is creative director at FVM Strategic Communications, a full-service B2B agency based in Philadelphia. Contact her at

LinkedIn: Emma O'Brien

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  • by Mike Thu Oct 23, 2014 via web

    As a student in marketing and PR, this information will be very useful to me. I know I need experience in building website and creating blogs. Developing A name can be difficult at times and I will use this article to help me in my journey.

  • by Marcia Yudkin Thu Oct 23, 2014 via web

    These are excellent exercises for loosening people up and getting them to tap into their creative side for out-of-the-ordinary, less-obvious name candidates. It's also important, however, for people to have clear criteria for what will count as a successful name in the marketplace, considering factors like differentiation from competitors, connection with the target market, trademarkability, positive connotations, etc. Without such criteria, companies run the danger of selecting a fun name that flops.

    Marcia Yudkin, President, Named At Last

  • by Frank Wed Nov 5, 2014 via web

    Naming a company or product presents several challenges. One of the biggest is knowing when you've "got it." (sometimes you may not know until it's launched) Aside from any copyright, trademark or legal implications, pinpointing when you're "finished" can be difficult. It often comes down to the client simply saying "eureka, that's it." Another challenge: subjectivity. While almost everything we do as marketers / "creatives" is open to subjective interpretation, naming seems to come with an extra degree of "I just don't like it." Which in the case of a name, could be interpreted as valid criticism. To combat this, the conceptual phase must be goal oriented. You need to know what you're aiming for. Developing categories of names can help combat subjectivity as well.

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