The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

When Naming Strategies Aren’t A Strategy …

A brand name can make a huge difference to the success of a brand.

Don’t get me wrong, the product has to be good or none of it matters – but the brand name does have an impact on performance.

Maybe this is why I have seen so many companies talk about their ‘naming strategy’ process … even though most of them then come back and say their first stage of the process has resulted in 10,000+ names.


What sort of strategy – a process designed to ultimately create sacrifice – delivers 10,000 options?

But I digress.

While names can evoke all manner of feelings and emotions, there is a whole host that shows the imagination of a dead badger.

I wrote about how Singapore in particular is good/bad with their ‘say what you see’ approach to naming brands, products and stores … but there is a type of brand name that drives me even more crazy than the obviousness favoured in Asia and it’s the crash-together name.

Crash Together?

Yeah … where a brand takes 2 separate words roughly associated with the category and smashes them together.

There’s a bunch of these, such as Playtex, but I saw one recently that was bottom-of-the-barrel scraping …



Christ, is that really the best they could do?

I get being pregnant is both wonderful and fearful, but Pregnacare is the most clinical name you could get.

It captures none of the wonderful and just hints of the fearful.

Plus it doesn’t – in any way – explain what it actually is, which given they’ve decided to go all mechanical in name choice, seems a rather ridiciulous situation.

I get naming is hard.

I get naming isn’t the be-all and end-all of a brands success.

But if you want to be seen as some sort of friend to anyone who is pregnant – which, judging by the photo, Pregnacare do – then you might want to choose 2 words that when smashed together, don’t sound like a visit to an upmarket gynecologist.

19 Comments so far
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The new name for your new company can now be revealed. Plannishite.

You’re welcome.

Comment by DH

Very clever and constructive Dave, thanks.

Comment by Rob

i rate it davey. first time for everything.

Comment by andy@cynic

Consultants are the modern day ambulance chaser. Offering “solutions” to every pain point in an organisation that really are off the shelf processes designed to drive the revenue of the consultant.

Naming strategies are a great example of this. Apart from translation, what names have their process created that has resulted in becoming a household name?

Like research companies, they are created to appease not to challenge. If adults can choose their children’s name, a founder or CEO should be able to choose their company name. Consultants are profiting from the abdication of c-suite duty. Or as you say Rob, they want the authority but not the responsibility.

Comment by Pete

Can you clarify if you do or don’t rate consultants as your comment doesn’t make it clear.

Comment by Bazza

He does seem very angry doesn’t he. I’m not blaming him for that – the amount of consultants I see whose work has been done in a vacuum with no regard for culture or even the unique elements of the brand they are working on/for, is astounding.

In many cases, consultants should be renamed commodity builders. In fact, I might start using that all the time, just to piss them off – even though their ego means they won’t care what anyone says other than whoever writes the cheque for their services.

Comment by Rob

youre much more agreeable when youre being a prick.

Comment by andy@cynic

The best backhanded compliment ever.

Comment by DH

My problem with naming strategies is they have become so functional. The people behind them are suggesting they think the audience being targeted or the directors who hired them are too stupid to understand anything other than the rational. I understand this approach with serious medical products but it is happening everywhere. The worst offenders are the car industry who have the laziest and most user unfriendly naming strategies of all.

Comment by Bazza

Yes, the car industry is particularly bad for it. And yet they go on about how they make their products for the benefits of the driver.

Comment by Rob

you still bought one with that shit name didnt you campbell. so youre admitting youre complicit in keeping brand consultants with their propriety tool naming bollocks in fucking caviar. you wanker.

Comment by andy@cynic

I would imagine for people expecting a child, especially their first, they would like products to have names that explain what they do. Little ambiguity, maximum reassurance. But for products that extend beyond childbirth and medicinal, then I agree with you and Baz. The caveat being a name needs to be instilled with meaning and companies today are too short term thinking to regard that as a good thing to do. Which makes hiring a brand consultancy to design your product name even more wasteful.

Comment by George

OK Mr Smartpants … good point.

Comment by Rob


Let’s call ourselves Trivago!


Comment by Oli

To be honest, I’m amazed there isn’t a toilet paper brand called shitago.

Comment by Bazza

The great irony is the products that are the most functional tend to have the names that are the most poetic. And guess what – it works – because the price premium a brand like Andrex commands, highlights how important a name can be in elevating it’s value in people’s minds.

Comment by Rob

Naming is a tactic not a strategy.

Comment by John

I remember a conversation I had with a branding consultant about the Virgin name.They could not understand how such a decision could be made without first considering a number of filters they regarded as essential. I think it’s fair to say Richard did alright despite his lack of naming process.

Comment by Lee Hill

and you didnt punch the fucker in the face.

disappointed lee. very fucking disappointed.

Comment by andy@cynic

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