Creative Naming Part II: Your Step-By-Step Guide
So last week we talked about boring vs. creative names and WHY it's so important to have creative names for your products and services. The short and dirty version is that it's another opportunity to create an emotional connection and show your customer you understand their worldview. It's one more step that will help move them closer to buying (if you do it right).
Last week we also looked at a few different brands who are using different methods of naming architecture and are pulling off completely different emotional vibes with the names of their products and services. And we did a special case-study of Dry Bar showing how they wove the theme of being a bar through their company name, services and products.
So, how do you come up with dazzlingly brilliant and creative names for all your sh*t?
That's the question right? And it's not as easy as it seems sometimes. While nothing here is rocket science and there's no exact formula (sorry) it will get you moving in the right direction. After all, creativity is just mashing up different (and often opposite) ideas, in this case, words and images until you get something new and interesting and you create the desired effect.
Get out a clean piece of paper (I like to go old school to start) or if you prefer a fresh Google doc or Word doc. But if you're working online make sure you close out all the other distractions (ahem social media and email I'm looking at you).
Write out a short 1 sentence description of your product or service at the top of the page so it's always there ready to reference if you get lost down the rabbit-hole and forget what you're selling ;)
Draw a grid with 5 columns.
Column 1: List verbs (the more action-y the better) that describe what your product or service does.
Column 2: List the benefits (the deeper the psychological strings you pull the better).
Column 3: List other things with the same benefits (think metaphors and analogies).
Column 4: List how you want to make them feel.
Column 5: List of what it's NOT (sometimes if you're feeling stumped it's helpful to start here)
Mix 'n Match
Your goal isn't to use words from every column in the name. It's just to see what jumps out at you and make connections you wouldn't otherwise think of or see.
.Everything's better with examples right? Let's say I'm giving a webinar to teach women entrepreneurs how to "find their own unique voice" for their blogs and website. Much of the advice out there is theoretical and hard to follow so I'll give 3 concrete specific strategies.
A live webinar to teach women entrepreneurs 3 specific strategies on how to connect with their "voice" so they can write with humanity, personality and attract their tribe.
Here are some names and subtitles I mixed and matched from that chart.
1. Express Yourself: 3 Specific Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs Struggling to "Find Their Voice"
2. Strutt Your Words: 3 Specific Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs Struggling to Reveal Their Voice
3. Expose Your Truth: 3 Specific Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs Baffled by All The Vague, Fuzzy Advice on Finding Your Voice
4. Permission to Speak: 3 Specific Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs looking to find their boldest, bravest voice and share YOUR truth in YOUR words.
5. Shameless Self-Expression: 3 Specific Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs Struggling to Find Their Voice
6. Smash the Silence: 3 Specific Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs to Discover & Embrace Their Bravest & Boldest Voice
7. Ditch The Professional Straight-Jacket: 3 Specific Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs Who Dare to Discover & Embrace Thier Bravest, Boldest Voice.
As you can see not everything you brainstorm will be a winner. Some of those are pretty lame but I wrote it down and left them in there so don't get discouraged if you come up with a few duds before you find the right name. But some definitely hold potential.
Also, don't forget to do your due diligence and make sure your name isn't being used by someone else already. If you're brainstorming business names and taglines a quick Google search will let you know if domain names are available and if taglines are already in use.
I once came up with a brilliant tagline for a client only to find someone else had snagged it first. Product/service names are perhaps a little more difficult to search out. But I'd still try to make sure as best I can no one else is using the name you've come up with.
It's okay if it takes a while to find the one you love. Good advice for dating and, as it turns out, product naming.
It took me forever to come up with Heartlines Copywriting Studio. Before that, I worked under the oh, so creative Jessica Drury Copywriting. :P Naming my services was no easy task either. Although current packages are: Lionhearted Prose, Heartstrings & Pursestrings and The Ultimate Heartlines Package (not terribly in love with that one) I've also had packages called Confessions of an Open Heart and Heartbeats & Homepages.
My naming architecture all centres around the image of the heart. And because I'm all about making an emotional connection with your clients because it's our emotions that govern our decisions (even the decision to buy) it all weaves together nicely. My visual branding is still totally a work in progress but that's another matter altogether isn't it?
Here are some of my favourite resources for when you need to name stuff and you get totally stuck.
1. www.thesaurus.com - enough said, a thesaurus is a writer's best friend
2. www.idiom.thefreedictionary.com - idioms are expression or phrases that mean something other than their literal translation (ex. he threw in the towel = he quit, or he kicked the bucket = he died, or he was asleep at the wheel = he wasn't paying attention). Throw in one of your key words and it will show all the phrases and expressions related to it. Is there one that stands out? That's got the right emotional tone? Or has a metaphor you could play with? Write it down in column 3 and see if you could put a unique spin on it to make it your own.
3. www.morewords.com - this is the website you use for cheating at crosswords or helping you name stuff. Say you know you need a word that starts a certain way or ends a certain way or contains a sound but you just can't find the right word...go here.
4. www.rhymezone.com - it does rhymes, near rhymes, similar sounds and descriptive words. My favourite is "search in Shakespeare", I totally used this for inspiration for my Heartlines services. I mean who writes about the heart more than good ol' Shakespeare?
5. www.wordlab.com/name-generators/ - tried everything and still feeling stuck? Go here and start clicking.
6. Music - song titles and lyrics have always held huge inspiration for me. I'm not saying name your products/services word for word after a song title or lyric (there are copyright issues) but a single word here or there or your own spin on it can work. Sometimes an image you love can get you thinking.
If you've tried ALL of these and you're STILL stuck...reach out for help. You're probably over-thinking it at this stage. Reach out for help from your business BFF's. Got it narrowed to your top 3 and can't decide? Get your audience involved by creating a poll on social media and letting them vote.
And of course, you can always find me here, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help.