Tactics for Creating Names:
Go to the Reservoir
© Steve Rivkin 1988
Let's say you're searching for a name that suggests power, speed and aggressiveness for your product or company. "That sounds like a bird of prey," someone says. You think of the eagle, the hawk, the ... ? What else is there?
Get your hands on a compilation for that type of bird, and you have a reservoir of possibilities. The condor. The falcon. The harrier (as in jump-jet). The kestrel. The peregrine. The raptor. The tercel (as in automobile).
Thomas Edison once said that ideas have to be original only in their adaptation to the problem you're working on. It's okay to borrow an idea. But don't trust your memory. Get thee to a good reference source.
Let's say your company's new joint venture is visionary, imaginative. Your CEO just made a speech about its "unlimited horizons." That could make you think about the names of stars and constellations. How many names are there? Enough to fill the heavens, of course. (Thousands, at least.)
Your company wants to introduce a new sauce with lots of special "Mediterranean-style" seasonings. What to name it? Maybe the name of one of the islands in the Mediterranean -- let's see, there's Majorca, Corsica, Sardinia, Madeira, Sicily.... Stop guessing. Get an atlas. There are hundreds of possibilities.
Bottom line: Always ask, is there a list, a compilation, a reservoir of information we could explore? And exploit.
Put the benefit right into the name. A perfume named Passion. A deodorant named No Sweat. An all-terrain vehicle named Pathfinder. A long-lasting, wear-resistant polyethylene named Duration.
Study your local retailers. They often come up with inventive, evocative names. Banana Republic for khaki-based travel clothing. One Night Stand for a women's boutique that rents high-priced designer clothing for special occasions. Creature Comforts for a pet groomer.
As yourself: What thought process are they using that you could use?
Alliteration is often ignored when it comes to naming.
But this simple figure of speech is a proven aid to memory .
Repeating the same sound on two or more adjacent words can help in brand name recall.
Examples: Salon Secrets. Best Buys. Circuit City. Perma Power. Green Giant. Rice-A-Roni.
Or a new cardboard wraparound for hot beverages: Java Jacket.
Alliteration. It's obvious, but often overlooked.
STEVE RIVKIN President, Rivkin & Associates, Inc; Editor, The Naming Newsletter, a quarterly report on the strategies and tactics of naming. Steve is a much sought-after speaker and has provided naming counsel and training workshops for such clients as Ameritech, BlueCross BlueShield, First Data Corp., Kraft Foods, Monsanto, Nynex, Outboard Marine Corp., Pharmaco, Sierra Instruments and Wendy's. Training workshop details, contact RAYMA Management Consultants Wendy Song at tel: (03) 7044-666, fax: (03) 7044-484 or e-mail: email@example.com