In the name of provenance, uniqueness, and the market, I name you…

Helena Helsing Mork

Those were the days when a factory producing Swedish sugar could be named the Swedish Sugar Factory.  Or a company with a focus on,  let’s say wine and spirits,  could be called just that. The market was limited,  and the competition wasn’t much to talk about.  So “Naming” as a business was nothing to build a future on.  Now,  on the other hand,  unlimited imagination and preferably a dash of dyslexia are required to deliver a good name that flies internationally,  works in a digital context,  and yet is still up for grabs.  Naming has become hot.  And important.

Think freely, but meet the criteria

Of course,  this work is also related to the brand.  A name that doesn’t have its starting point in the strategy and in the brand’s personality,  operates under headwinds.  Furthermore:  The name of the business should be able to be owned and be unique. Here,  dyslexia can be a success factor,  as misspelt words can be what is required to find a free name that,  with a little luck,  also gives a hint about what the brand is about.  Others try a “z” or an “x” where “s” and “ex” would be natural.  Using figures could do the trick.

A good name should also be easy to remember – sometimes something complicated is strangely enough what’s needed.
The name should be relevant – but perhaps it should be able to accommodate several business areas? Then it immediately becomes more difficult.
And last but not least, it should inspire – inwards, outwards, forwards.

(Haven’t I forgotten something?  Shouldn’t a name of its time also be able to become a verb?  Admittedly,  The Swedish Sugar Factory has a weakness there.  But it can also feel a bit… strained to almost forcibly shoehorn a name into verb form.  Everything simply cannot be “googled”.  But enough said about that.)

Relax and go crazy

Once you know the criteria,  it’s time to start playing.  In this phase everything is allowed:  Dictionaries,  search engines,  CFO’s and someone’s mother – yes everything you see and hear around you is helpful here.  Initiators such as history,  competitors and completely different industries,  can take the mind into new paths.  Someone is getting started on abbreviations.  Someone else is trying animals and flowers.  Sooner or later,  someone tries to get an acronym.  All of it is all right.  And then suddenly you hear yourself say “Pear!” – and dream up a logo with a bite taken.  Do not expect spontaneous cheering,  but the basic rule is that negative criticism does not belong here.  In time,  the stage will come when you will have to vote when the names will be checked and tested and then you will still discover that there is already a business with the same name or that your favourite name means something repulsive in French.  (However, the fact that you personally associate a colleague’s name suggestion with a dog you didn’t like when you grew up, is not relevant – more about that later.)

Take command of your name

When you finally agree on something most of you like,  something whose domain is free and which meets the criteria above,  it’s all about affirming your name and realizing that you can define it however you see fit.  It’s not certain,  even improbable,  that the market will have the same associations as you to that nasty dog whose nickname you are just about to give your company.  But it’s not a given either that success is a fact just because the name can be used as a verb.  But one thing is for sure – when you succeed and you sit there basking in the neon light of success and your nameplate,  you will look back on the naming process as one of the most fun (and at first sight slightly fuzzy) in the work of branding.  Maybe you even feel ready for a communication concept?


Helena Helsing Mork
Concept Developer & Copywriter