November 04, 2015

5 Verbal Branding and Naming Tips to Consider – Brannon Cashion’s Clutch Interview Highlights

The research firm Clutch recently interviewed our own Brannon Cashion on the trends and best practices around naming a company. Brannon discussed several topics regarding what businesses should think about when working through the naming process and some trends he’s seen recently in naming.

With Addison Whitney’s long history of naming and branding experience, and his own extensive history in the industry, Brannon was able to offer a unique and informed perspective on the topic.

Building off of Brannon’s thoughts in the interview, we put together a list of five key points to consider when working through the verbal branding and naming process, complete with his thoughts from the interview:

1. Don’t just create a name, create a brand.

“The strength of a name is really the time it takes to go from a name to a brand… How quickly can it move from being a group of letters to really representing something, whether it’s a company or a product?”

This is the ultimate goal of a brand name – to become something beyond a descriptor for the company or product, and take on the full embodiment of what the brand represents. This is a crucial
indicator of name strength – not only determining how quickly it can move from “name” to “brand” but also how it holds up as a piece of the overall brand once it achieves that status. This happens over time, when the market audience gets to know the name alongside the product or company, and as they increasingly associate the name with the brand.

2. Take stock of where you are and where you want to go when naming.

“What should a business consider before beginning the naming process? It really depends on where they are and what the role of the name is. Are they going through a name change? Are they building a new company, product, or offering where there’s no name today? Those types of questions will fuel a lot of the direction and the things that they should consider.”

Many times, a name change is needed because the current name no longer fits who the company is or what their offerings include. If and when this occurs, the naming process the next time around should begin with a look at who the brand really is – what they currently embody and their aspirations for the future. Naming is not a one-size-fits-all exercise, and each process should be
tailored to fit the unique situation to which it is involved.

3. Consider your future brand even at the beginning of the naming process.

“A name that is more descriptive or aspirational around what you develop, one of your core attributes, or one of your competitive differentiators, those are names
that oftentimes can stand the test of time and be more long-term solutions, as opposed to a name that describes your first product, your first offering, or the competitive space that you’re in.”

Once you’ve taken a look at the connection between where your brand is today and where it wants to go, the verbal branding decision that comes next is deciding how much of a connection these two will have to the name. This impact is often overlooked, as it takes much more patience to watch the name grow along with the brand, instead of finding a name that fits right away, but has the potential to become outdated.

4. Think outside the box when determining your brand’s website address.

“A lot of times the URL is kind of their tagline of sorts. It’s not just about the product. We’ll register, and that’s how they find this new product. I think the URL has become less of a requirement.”

People don’t just type exact URLs anymore when looking for a brand. With the rise of searches and the importance on SEO, the possibilities for brands when developing their online address have expanded greatly – there is more of an emphasis on including and matching key phrases in regards to your brand throughout your website, including the URL, opening the door to a number of new possibilities.

5. Take our word for it – hiring a naming company can help you throughout the process.

“In our view, hiring a naming company gives you an objective third-party who understands the pitfalls and the hurdles that you’re going to go through with this process. Hiring a naming organization can help with some of that process, with our strategies and tactics that have been proven over and over again.”

Naming is something that doesn’t often come naturally for companies. There exists the possibility that this lack of information or experience can trigger negatively-impacting steps or ideas, such as the involvement of emotion more heavily than is beneficial in the process. Naming companies such as Addison Whitney have the combination of years of experience on thousands or projects and tried-and-true processes which have been proven to produce successful results.

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Addison Whitney is a global branding firm with a passion for building strong brands.
To learn more about Addison Whitney, visit our website at, or contact us here.

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