1. This is an online form where your progress will not be saved if you exit or refresh this page. Because of this we recommend saving your answers to a Microsoft Word or Google Doc document as you work to ensure your answers are backed up.
2. Do not feel pressured to answer every question or complete every exercise, during our creative session we can help you to fill in any gaps in the worksheet.
3. Be creative! There are no wrong answers - this is our chance to really get to know you and your brand. You never know what idea might lead to the name.
ESTABLISH YOUR FOUNDATION
Before diving into the naming exercises, it's essential to establish the foundation by answering key questions. Let's tackle these step by step:
STEP 1 - PRIMARY OBJECTIVE
What is the primary objective for the name? There are likely many objectives, however Identifying a single objective streamlines your efforts.
Examples: “To find a unique name that communicates our fun and playful brand personality.”, “To find a name that resonates to our local community.”, “To find a name that honors our company’s rich history.”
STEP 2 - TARGET CUSTOMER
Who is your target customer? Before landing on a name, it’s critical to know who you want it to appeal to. Defining the primary target audience ensures focus.
Examples: Gen Z, millennials, women, families, professional drivers, locals, urban customers, rural customers, commuter, etc.
STEP 3 - VALUE PROPOSITION
What is your primary value proposition? This is a succinct explanation of why a customer should do business with you over your competitor.
Examples: “We cater to our customers' unique needs by offering products not found elsewhere among competitors.”, “We always have the cheapest fuel in town.”, “We have a superior coffee offering that is always fresh.”, “We serve up the finest brisket tacos in town.”, “Our stores are the easiest to shop.”
STEP 4 - POSITIONING STATEMENT
Let’s Build a Positioning Statement! This involves defining the target customer, category, point of differentiation (value proposition), and payoff for customers.
Example: “In Fort Worth, Texas, our convenience store serves up the finest brisket tacos in town, perfect for commuters looking for a quick, delicious meal on the go.”
STEP 5 - CRITERIA
What are the criteria for the name? One of the most common naming mistakes is beginning without agreed-upon criteria. Without a shared set of standards to evaluate potential names, decisions are often based solely on personal preferences.
Please rate each criteria based on how much you value them when considering name ideas for your new brand. After that provide a short answer to explain your feelings further if needed.
Spelling & Pronunciation – If it's frequently spoken over the phone or radio, opting for an easily pronounceable name is crucial. More commonly used words or phonetically spelled words will be easier to spell and pronounce.
Literal – Brand names like Whole Foods, General Motors, QuikTrip, Get-N-Go and Toys R Us are literal or descriptive, directly conveying the offered product or service. While functional, such names leave little room for creativity or interpretation and can be challenging to trademark due to their commonality.
Metaphorical – Metaphorical names, like Amazon, Apple, Nike, Loop, Maverik, and Red Bull, offer engaging brand identities. A real word carries inherent meaning that customers can easily connect with. They may also be easier to trademark if not commonly associated with the category.
Unique – Does having an exceptionally unique name matter to you? Unique or unusal names can stem from foreign terms, misspelled words, or entirely made-up creations. Examples include Häagen-Dazs, Hulu, Google, Xerox, and Wawa. If customers often write the name, an unusual or alternate spelling might pose challenges. A made-up word is like an empty vessel waiting to be filled. Another advantage of a made-up word is its potential ease of trademarking; however, it may take longer for customers to connect with it.
STEP 6 - BRAND ATTRIBUTES
Brand attributes can help to express the essence of your brand. Personality and tone of voice informed by these attributes will help to shape your brand identity, including the name as well as the logo and visual elements.
Limiting your selection to five will focus on your unique essence rather than trying to be all things to all people. A short answer section is also provided if you want to explain your thoughts further.
OBJECTIVE - GENERATE WORDS!
The following exercises are designed to help compile a list of words associated with your brand, providing an excellent starting point for potential name concepts.
We recommend doing these exercises as a group to generate the maximum number of word ideas. The more words we have, the greater the chance of uncovering gems that could lead to a remarkable brand name!
EXERCISE 1 - FIVE SENTENCES
The brainstorming starts with ﬁve clear sentences about your company or product.
For instance, Paragon Solution is a design and branding ﬁrm. Here is what we would say about our ﬁrm -
• We build brands.
• We design convenience stores.
• We craft brand identities.
• We create logos.
• We develop brand touchpoints.
Now it's your turn!
Here is the basic sentence diagram for the ﬁrst bullet point: “We” is the subject,
“build” is the verb, and “brands” is the object.
This structure produces clear and impactful statements about your brand. Use your value proposition and positioning statement as inspiration.
(YOUR NEW BRAND)
Write ﬁve sentences about your brand, ensuring the use of diﬀerent verbs in each sentence.
EXERCISE 2 - VERBS FREE-ASSOCIATION
Starting with the verbs highlighted in the sentences about Paragon Solutions ("build," "design," "craft," "create," and "develop") we have generated a free-association list, which gives your mind the freedom to explore without constraints & embrace creativity, the more expansive the thinking, the better. Below is the example list stemming from the verb "build".
• Frank Lloyd Wright
Take your sentences from exercise 1 as a foundation. Create lists of 15 to 20 words for each of the ﬁve verbs used.
Embrace diversity in your lists, as illustrated in our transition from a concrete noun like "blueprint" to the more abstract concept of "vision."
Disregard any logical progression between words; let your mind freely associate from one word to another. Don't focus on a brand name yet—just generate words. Your associations may surprise you; for example, "Frank Lloyd Wright" popped up with "architect."
Don’t listen to your internal editor that criticizes ideas as silly or obvious.
EXERCISE 3 - OBJECTS FREE-ASSOCIATION
Now, let's shift our focus to the objects in your ﬁve sentences. Recall that in my example sentence, the object was "brands." Below is the list of objects I generated.
• Michael Jordan
• Marty Neumeier
• tone of voice
• target customer
Take your sentences from exercise 1 as a foundation. Create lists of 15 to 20 words for each of the ﬁve objects used.
From the list above you can see how Marty Neumeier (an expert in brand building) led to “Zag” the title of one of his books on branding. Allow yourself to go down these roads. Keep it loose and free of judgment. Don’t over think it.
While this next list aligns more closely with your company's activities, it may be perceived as less engaging. Remember, people are interesting, and businesses are comprised of people. Your products or services are purchased by people. Dare to be interesting.
EXERCISE 4 - METAPHORS
Now let’s see if we can come up with some metaphors for your brand.
A metaphor is a ﬁgure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. This can be challenging but try ﬁgurative ideas that describe your brand.
Write down three metaphors for your brand. What do people say about you? How do the describe you internally? Try to think abstractly!
• Red Bull: Gives You Wings
• Skittles: Taste the Rainbow
• Budweiser: King of Beers
OUR NEW BRAND:
(ABSRACT METAPHOR )
EXERCISE 5 - SIMILES
Next Write down three similes for your brand.
Remember a simile is a ﬁgure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a diﬀerent kind usually using like, as, or than.
What do people say about you? How do they describe your brand internally? Try to think abstractly!
• Chevrolet: Like a Rock
• Honda: As smooth as a gazelle in the Sahara
• State Farm: Like a good neighbor
(SIMILE USING LIKE OR AS)
EXERCISE 6 - FREE IDEATION
Now it's your turn! This is the section to include any ideas that you have that didn't fit in any of the previous questions or exercises.
This can be a list of words you like related to the name, final name concepts, or just a summary of your thoughts about the naming for your brand.
Keep in mind that name ideas can come from a lot of places - family, history, brand personality, region, geography, your value proposition, or maybe you just like the way a word sounds.
Free Ideation Rules:
• Rule #1: There are no rules.
• Rule #2: See Rule #1.
• Rule #3: Seriously, whatever you want!
Thanks for submitting!