Lost At Sea – The most common mistake in brand naming

The most common mistake in naming is choosing a name that gets lost in the sea of competitive sound alikes. We’ve cobbled together a list of clothing brand names that contain the word “Bay”, with a few “Harbor” names thrown in for spice.

This mistake is easily avoided by creating a Competitive Taxonomy prior to naming:

 

Aqua Bay
Back Bay
Baja Bay
Banana Bay
Bantry Bay
Bay City
Bay Reef
Bay Trading
Beach Bay
Bermuda Bay
Bikini Bay
Billion Bay
Bimini Bay
Blackwater Bay
Blubay
Brittany Bay
Buckley Bay
Buffalo Bay
Burk’s Bay
Capstan Bay
Chileno Bay
Coral Bay
Eastbay
Eccobay
Emerald Bay
English Bay
Falcon Bay
Ginger Bay
Hampton Bay
Harbor Bay
Highland Bay
Inner Harbor
Jamaica Bay
Kahuna Bay
Kips Bay
Kylani Bay
Latigo Bay
Lawton Harbor
Lunada Bay
Madison Bay
Mango Bay
Marino Bay
Mission Bay
Misty Harbor
Monterey Bay
Moonlight Bay
Orca Bay
Paradise Bay
Parrot Bay
Peppermint Bay
Peregrine Bay
Sag Harbor
Solar Bay
South Bay
St. John’s Bay
Sterling Bay
SunBay
Thornton Bay
Thunder Bay
Union Bay
Victoria Bay
Willow Bay
Yucatan Bay

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Choosing a new brand name ? Do an A.S.S. count.

ASSOCIATIONS + SLOGANS SCORE

Let’s say you’ve got two metaphorical names under consideration for your new computer company, Apple and Strawberry. Both names meet your baseline brand positioning criteria:

Simple, warm, human, approachable, organic, disruptive.

Half your team champions Apple and the other half love the name Strawberry. It’s pointed out that the names couldn’t be more similar – they are both red fruits. So why not flip a coin and move on?  The Chief Obfuscation Officer calls for a month of testing, reliably in the unreliable form of crowdsourcing or focus groups.

At which point you become the hero by jumping up and shouting, “I demand an A.S.S. test!”

A test that takes minutes to complete.

When leading name contenders are locked in a battle, tallying up the number of associations each have in our collective consciousness – in stories, legends, idioms, songs, culture, history, mythology, etc, tells you how emotionally connected people are to them. The more the better.

And it reveals what each brings to the table for marketing, branding and advertising campaigns.

 

Apple

  • Garden of Eden (apple w/ bite logo)

  • Issac Newton (product name)

  • William Tell

  • Snow White

  • The Tree of Life

  • McIntosh (product names McIntosh, eMac, iMac, Power Mac, MacBook, Mac Mini)

  • One smart apple

  • A bad apple

  • Easy as apple pie

  • An apple a day

  • Apple of my eye

  • Apple polisher

  • Big Apple

  • Apples and oranges

  • How ’bout them apples?

  • Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

  • Upset the applecart

 

 Strawberry

  • Strawberry Fields

  • Strawberry shortcake

  • Strawberry blonde

 

Sometimes the positioning of the name your looking for is simply a single big idea – an iconic, definitive name that captures the imagination.

This was the case for a B2B software startup we named, so the first and winning tactic was to find a name that had the most cultural connections that were really big ideas. The clear winner was Seven:

 

 Seven

  • Seven wonders of the world.

  • Seven musical notes.

  • Seven seas.

  • Seven days a week.

  • Seven continents.

  • Seven deadly sins.

  • Seven virtues.

  • Seven colors of the rainbow.

  • Seven chakras.

  • Seven years of bad luck.

  • Seven visible planets.

  • Seven heavens.

  • Seven dwarfs.

  • Seven samurai.

  • On the seventh day god rested.

  • Lucky number seven.

 

Of course there are many more, but you get the idea. Before we presented Seven to our client, we needed to determine if Seven could possibly be trademarked around the world, given the 700,000+ trademarked software names globally. We came up with a strategy, and Seven is trademarked worldwide. The ability to legally finesse a name like Seven is critical, because naming is not simply about finding the best name for the job, it’s about finding the best name for the job that you can legally use.

Apple vs. Strawberry isn’t a fair fight. But it’s not always so lopsided. If the A.S. portion of the test doesn’t produce a winner, move on to Slogans. Put two names side by side and see which inspires the most taglines that play off the name.

Of course none of the taglines anyone can remember actually play off the company name, they’re too expected and make the name one dimensional. Imagine, “Virgin, A Brand New Experience” or “Apple, Easy as Pie”.  Deadly.

But the exercise does reveal the power, connectivity and relevance of an unexpected name.

In this example, let’s say we’re naming a creative agency and a leading name contender is:

 

 Igor

  • Igor. Bringing Your Vision To Life.

  • Igor. Get Over The Hump.

  • Igor. A Few Spare Parts and a Good Storm.

  • Igor. Throw The Switch.

  • Igor. A Moveable Beast.

  • Igor. Own Your Shadow.

  • Igor. No Job Too Horrifying.

  • Igor. The Other White Meat.

  • Igor. Never Say Die.

  • Igor. A Good Brain Is Hard To Find.

  • Igor. Alive!

  • Igor. Better Living Through Science.

  • Igor. Building The Perfect Beast.

 

BOTTOMLINEThe number of ASSOCIATIONS or SLOGANS that potential metaphorical brand names generate tells you how emotionally connective each name is and how much branding, marketing & advertising ammunition they contain.

 

More on the existential hell of a naming agency naming itself.