naming marketing agency

A Proven Approach to Creating Awesome Business, Brand, and Startup Name Ideas

In March of 2017, we launched our Name Genome Project–a large-scale undertaking that began with the analysis of 5+ million brand names (which were submitted to our nearly 10,000 Naming Contests) using AI and machine learning.

The information gathered from the first phase of the Name Genome Project led our Naming Consultants to update the approach that they use in our Branding and Contest Consultations. This new approach has now been shared one-on-one with 300+ professionals who were developing names throughout May, June, and July of 2017–and the concepts received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Many customers expressed a great feeling of relief after being taught this new approach to naming. Several individuals reported finding great names almost immediately after learning about this approach, even after struggling for weeks or months to find a great name.

This two-part post reveals the details of our new approach to naming. Continue reading if you’d like to:

  • Understand the philosophy of naming; discover how strong names which seem unrelated–like Dollar Shave Club, Squatty Potty, SalesForce, Twitter, and Uber–are actually developed using a single underlying principle; and learn how to leverage this principle to develop your own great name!
  • Learn the fundamental information you need to make the most important decision within the naming process. (Something that is very rarely talked about.)

Your name is the most used aspect of your brand. It can aid in garnering more attention and connecting with customers, prospects, and other valued stakeholders. It can help you generate buzz, get remembered, and increase top of mind awareness and referrals. A great name can even help you build a strong internal culture and support in the attraction of top talent. The right name has true, concrete benefits for both your bottom line and your long-term success.

Understand Naming Philosophy

The below framework, which we call the Squadhelp Naming Pyramid, explains how to develop a name that will become the North Star of your brand.

Level 1 – Venture: At the base of the Naming Pyramid is your business strategy. This bottom level includes the broadest scope of your venture: operations, marketing, finances, legal, HR, and any other factors that go into making your business function successfully. But from a communications standpoint, the truth is that most people don’t need to know about most of these things. Very few people need to know who cleans your floors, who prepares your taxes, and who fixes your computers.

Level 2 – Brand: Your brand or forward-facing communication is what you present to the world. There are many elements, such as your story, mission, colors, and fonts. And these elements are represented through many platforms, across hundreds, likely thousands, of touchpoints, with multiple stakeholder groups. At this level of communication, you distill the vast amount of information from Level 1 into that which is meaningful and relevant to prospects, customer, investors, and the likes.

Level 3 – Value Proposition: This is the short one or two sentence explanation of why you exist and why people should care. It’s your Value Positioning Statement, Unique Selling Proposition, Elevator Pitch, or Positioning Statement.  It is a very, very succinct summary of your new venture.  

Level 4 – Name: Your venture is distilled into your brand, your brand into your value proposition–and at the top of the pyramid is your name, a single word or phrase that supports your Positioning. It aids you in taking your Value Proposition to market. It is a productive communication tool, which is used more than any other aspect of your entire brand.

Blackstone Labs, Apple, MailChimp, PayPal, Twitter, SalesForce, and Uber all accomplish very different goals with their names; but each excellently supported the business as it grew to greatness.

Yes. We know. This is all very interesting and philosophical, but it’s not very actionable. So now that you understand the theory behind naming, let’s dive into a more practical conversation.

Read Part 2 — 5 Categories of Effective Evocative Names, and discover how to make the most important decision related to the naming process with confidence.