The Name Game
By Holly Cato
Holly Cato founded Naming Names in 2003. A twenty year veteran of branding and communications, Holly specializes in name strategy and development, and has worked with a range of local and global companies in a broad spectrum of industries, including financial services, pharma, food, beauty, tobacco, fashion and technology. Holly can be reached at +44 207 352 1406 or email her here. Her company website is www.namingnames.com.
Just imagine if brand names disappeared overnight... if names slipped off storefronts, slid off packaging, just evaporated... off our screens and newspapers.
Aside from adjusting our eyes to blank spaces, we might find ourselves scrambling for adjectives and nouns to refer to our favorite brands. Some of the biggest brands are easy: the swoosh, the yellow arches, the robin's egg blue box.
But others aren't quite as simple. How about the premium ice cream with the unusual, made-up name? The up-market American car division whose name is the same as one of our most highly regarded presidents? The American-based airline whose name is a Greek letter and mathematical symbol? (See answers below.)
At some point, we would become exhausted by our verbal charades and come to realize -- with some degree of surprise -- just how much meaning, emotion and power is crammed into a single name, often just one word. Names are shorthands for entire man-made worlds.
Mention Apple, Starbucks or Mercedes and out spill pools of ideas, emotions and images, as well as sounds and scents. And often with far more meaning and resonance than many words we'd see if we flipped open any page in a dictionary.
Well, you say, isn't that the point of branding -- to create rich, evocative, meaningful worlds around a brand name? Yes, it is. But as marketers we are apt to forget what a hugely important tool a name is, and the key role it plays in the entire branding mix. It's easy to not even notice that a name is the single tool we all use when we're referring to, even thinking about, a brand.
So if you're developing a new brand name, how can you help ensure your name becomes the cornerstone of a successful brand? Is it as strong and effective as possible? Here are a few thoughts:
First, fight temptation. Fight that very natural and powerful urge to start thinking about names right away... to float ideas... to think, "That"s it! I've got it!"
Instead, develop a Naming Strategy. Naming is as much rational, left-brain thinking as it is creative, right brain thinking, although most people think it is largely a creative exercise.
The purpose of the Strategy is to simply define the criteria that will guide and focus name development. Start out by deciding what role the name will play in helping to position and communicate the new brand. Then identify the areas of name content, style, and tone upon which the name development should focus. And as crucial, the client team must fully agree to the strategy. (Naming is a highly subjective exercise, and as any namer can tell you, requires careful shepherding.)
Once the Strategy is in place, creative name generation begins. The value of each name "candidate" can then be measured against the criteria. By keeping the entire exercise of naming highly focused and fit-for-purpose will help lead you to a powerful asset.
For example, NamingNames collaborated with JGA to create a new pet event center in Toronto for Nestle Purina PetCare Company. As the Naming Strategy, we determined the name should be simple, fun and inviting to pet owners and would-be pet owners alike, particularly young ones. The name's content would refer to both cats and dogs, and reflect the world from their perspective. Functionally, we wanted the name to be very easy to say, particularly for children, "Mom, I want to go to .... !", and be flexible enough to grow beyond the pet event center itself. And finally, it needed to be trademark-able and have an easy domain name. The winning solution? PawsWay.
So next time you're ready to name your "baby," start with the strategic solution for success!
Now Open: Automotive Art
As the Caribbean's largest auto-care retailer of car enhancement products and services, Automotive Art currently operates in over 25 countries throughout Central and South America. Celebrating the grand opening of their latest store in Welches, Barbados on February 5th, the new JGA-designed prototype is a one-stop superstore and service center offering a wide choice of quality brands. Celebrating the retailer's solid reputation, bold focal features highlight Automotive Art's focus on quality and excellence. Reinventing the store, flexible fixturing promotes cross merchandising and creative visual solutions to enhance the consumer experience. A sophisticated palette of dark grays, microfiber textures, illuminated fixtures and custom wall coverings provide an environment that is unique and exclusive to facilitate Automotive Art in elevating their status as a world-renowned retailer.
Yes, Virginia, There is
a New Showroom
In a celebration of their brand, Virginia Tile recently worked with JGA to create a new showroom in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In creating the space for both residential and commercial consumers, the new environment provides the flexibility for sampling and brings its materials to life in a setting that offers an implicit "Dreams can come true" message. The showroom fundamentally presents a variety of ways for consumers to work within its space, designed for those who know exactly what they are seeking, or for others who need assistance from an interior designer or contractor. A series of displays, which include the floors, end-caps, and rows of vertical display panels, give a sense of how the tiles appear in large format, being more indicative of how the product will appear when installed. The material finishes in the showroom itself are minimal, where a neutral color palette serves as the backdrop to the showroom vignettes with product as the star. For more, click here.
JGA in EuroShop Opening Day
Session; GlobalShop Highlights
EuroShop: For those attending the upcoming event in Dusseldorf, Germany, Ken Nisch will be hosting a sustainability panel on Februrary 26th at 2:00 pm on EuroShop's opening day. The session on Green Retail - Social, Environmental and Business Perspectives through Environmentally-Friendly Business Practices features Ken with co-presenters Deepak Deshpande of Tata International, Brendan Sullivan of VF Corporation, Urs Berger of Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund and Harald Fischer of the Rewe Group. For more on EuroShop, visit their website here.
GlobalShop: Whether or not you make it to Dusseldorf, highlights of the big event will be featured at this year's GlobalShop to be held in Las Vegas March 28-30, 2011. On Tuesday, March 29th at 1:30, Ken Nisch, along with Harry Cunningham of Saks Fifth Avenue, Karen Schaffner of A.R.E., David Kepron of Callison and David Meyer of Target will present Showstoppers: The Best of EuroShop 2011, showcasing the newest and most innovative ideas for retail environments. Featuring the hottest materials and styles, the best new retail technologies, stunning demonstrations of lighting, graphics and interactivity, this panel of EuroShop attendees bring their favorites to you. They will review the latest and greatest design, fixturing, construction ideas and products from Dusseldorf for the GlobalShop audience. For more on either of Ken's upcoming sessions, click here. Or for more on GlobalShop, click here.
Tashi Honored by Indian Press
Tashi by Tata International has been recognized by the 2011 VMRD Retail Design Awards. Receiving two Merit Awards for Best Exterior and Best Lighting, the store was recognized at the In-Store Asia Conference in Mumbai earlier this month. The unique storefront stands out in busy shopping area of the city that radiates maximum visual stimulation, so the design team incorporated a seven foot tall overscaled stiletto sculpture that acts as a signature beacon for shoe lovers. JGA worked in conjunction with a global team including architect FRDC (Future Research Design Company); lighting designer Turquoise Lighting and visual merchandiser, Charles Perez. Congratulations to all involved! For more on Tashi from VMRD magazine, click here.
Gifts & Dec: Six Steps to Fresh
"We live in an era where many of our best shoppers have been lured away from our stores by price, convenience and the appeal of "new penny" concepts." Read the latest from Ken Nisch on how the "Six Steps to Fresh" can reinvigorate environments to set them apart from the competition and become the "don't miss" store in the neighborhood. According to Nisch, the first way to reconnect with consumers is to "Slipcover for Freshness." He suggests that retailers draw upon materials and other elements from their neighborhood and then pull SKUs, materials, fixturing and artifacts from their own place of business that have relevance to local shoppers, that in turn, give the store a fresh look. For other hints on how to refresh for 2011, click here.
Retail Design International: LittleMissMatched
Martin Pegler recently featured LittleMissMatched in Volume 3 2010 of Retail Design International, a quarterly publication highlighting the best of global retail. According to Pegler, "The new store design fulfills the promise that the brand extends," to reflect a lifestyle of fashionable fun, creativity, individuality and innovation. For the entire feature, click here.
Best Chains on Main
The winners have been announced in the inaugural "Best Chains on Main" competition, created by the Commercial District Advisor (CDA) and the Local Initiative Support Corporation. Ken Nisch, named among the esteemed panel of judges, helped select the regional and national chain stores that paved the way for commercial revitalization. Winners were chosen based on their investment in underserved urban markets and contributions to local commercial vitalization efforts. Winners included Villa, an urban-inspired footwear retailer in the Mid-Atlantic states, and Pamela's P&G Diner, a Pittsburgh retro-themed restaurant, a judges' favorite. For more on the competition, read here. Or for more photos, see the slideshow at Retail Traffic Magazine Online.
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