Thoughts from Ciana

  • 10:14:02 pm on July 6, 2009 | 1

    What’s in a Name?

    “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

    Juliet in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

    In this passage, Juliet argues that a name is a meaningless convention. She professes her love for Romeo, the person, not the dreaded Montague family name. Product names are important, but more important are the attributes associated with a product – attributes that customers can relate to and which can be reflected in a name.

    When naming my children, my husband and I (don’t laugh!) defined criteria when considering our children’s names. We put these criteria in a spreadsheet and rated possible names. We were concerned with alliteration, meaning, possible nicknames, fit with last name, initials, strength, overuse (we didn’t want our kids to have the same names as 3-4 kids in their class), etc. The result:  Benjamin and Jordana!

    As a marketing/branding firm, Ciana Associates has applied a similar methodology to product naming. We start by understanding who is the customer/audience, what is the unique value of the product/service, and how it differs from the alternatives. We work with our clients to identify key attributes that we can rank versus the competition and we create a matrix ranking system that looks at the spectrum of literal to highly creative names.

    Product Name Attributes: (Rating 1-10, with 1=lowest, 10=highest)

    • Distinctive: memorable, different from competitors’ names
    • Emotive: beyond image, what are the emotional associations with the brand
    • Intuitive: is the name more descriptive (i.e., obvious what the product is/does)
    • Form: the visual look of the name, as well as how it sounds (spoken)
    • Differentiates: does the name highlight an attribute that’s unique or differentiates the product/service from alternatives?
    • Trademark: likelihood that name is available for trademark

    Are you in the process of naming a product or service?  We recommend that you start the process early, as it’s often difficult to shake a code name. Or better yet, apply this process when choosing a code name, since code names often stick around longer than anticipated!



  • Charlie Waters 2:37 am on July 13, 2009 | # | Reply

    In a name? Everything.

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