And who knows how to create a good branding name?
A few years ago, when I was working under the umbrella of my brand Grasp, which I finally merged with Plázida this year, I got in touch with Anthony Shore, probably one of the most knowledgeable naming experts in the world.
At that time, I made an interview with him so long that I had to publish in different posts. And perhaps the one I liked the most was the sharpness and precision with which he defines the profession of the namer. I think his words are as valid today as when they were published.
Q: Anthony, from your long experience, what is the best profile for a good namer? It’s an MBA specialised in brand strategy? It’s a linguistic with a sound knowledge of different languages? It’s a very cultivated person with a broad vocabulary?…
Eleven years ago, a veteran namer told me the best namers are linguists with an MBA. That captures 2 dimensions of a good namer, but I believe that characterization is incomplete.
Good namers are specialists who, paradoxically, are often the best generalists.
A namer must be a good:
Listening to clients, building their trust, reading non-verbal cues from a room of executives, responding positively and not defensively to client concerns and building consensus are all vital naming skills, just as they are good skills in account managers.
A namer must think strategically to ensure their names support the client’s business objectives. Strategic thinking and rationale build the namer’s credibility and make them more persuasive. Good namers, like good planners, always consider the customer perspective.
Creating good names requires looking at a client’s business from many perspectives. Namers must be creatively prolific and fearless. And as fellow “grizzled veteran” namer Mark Gunnion said, “You have to be thick-skinned — 99.9% of what you create is rejected, usually without a second glance or explanation.”
Engendering client trust and helping a client see how a word could become their brand requires great storytelling. Your name story and rationale must be persuasive and pass the “sniff test.” An effective name presentation brings together the right blend of emotion and logic.
It’s a German word that means “a feeling for speech”. Good namers understand the nuances of words and meanings. Good namers are articulate. And only a person madly in love with words could become a namer. But love and knowledge of words is not enough. Linguistic expertise is helpful for naming, but so is the ability to “turn off” that knowledge and imagine how names would be perceived by a typical customer.
Good namers must consider how their names might come to life across all communications: Visual identity, advertising, messaging, PR, merchandising, etc. Although namers typically don’t design logos or advertising campaigns, their ability to communicate their names’ potential helps identify and persuade the client of the best ones.
I believe that this definition conveys immense respect for this profession. It is worth giving the post a second chance, in these times that tend to trivialise everything. I believe that the “sniff test” is essential and also to be madly in love with the nuances and possibilities of words. Nothing like German to express something like that 🙂