The Art of Naming: What’s Your Emotional Intelligence?

katrina-nilsson-featuredBy Katarina Nilsson, Founder, Eqvarium

It’s never a good idea to settle for a compromise when it comes to naming your new product or company. A company or product name should be a boost, not a burden. When executed properly, the creative process of naming should aid you in further your brand and increasing sales.

Names are important. When we start a conversation, we begin by introducing ourselves. The naming ceremony, where a new person is welcomed to the world, is an important rite in most cultures. We give nicknames to the people we love, name our pets and sometimes give our cars the same name as an old aunt.

Names have meaning; they solicit an emotional response or a commonality among people.

A name is also a major part of a brand, and contributes to building its value. A good name says something about what a brand stands for, it evokes the right emotions – it’s easy to remember and pronounce. In business, a good name makes it easier to do business. As Founder of Eqvarium, a strategic and creative naming services firm, this is is the kind of name we help to create.

As an example, our name “Eqvarium” combines the term “EQ,” an abbreviation for emotional intelligence, with the word “aquarium.” The intention of the name is to describe the way we work. We aim to create a creative bubble, characterized by commitment and understanding, where we make the most of brand building efforts.

What’s your company’s emotional intelligence? Do you know?

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Bad names are very common in the business world. Often they’re due to weak strategies, lack of naming knowledge and internal disagreements.

But is a name really that important? Shouldn’t the product be able to speak for itself? The answer is that the wrong name can do serious harm to your business. A good and solid brand name, on the other hand, will always be rewarding.

Here are a few naming tips to help you when a new product is born, as you go through a re branding process, or to guide you through naming issues during a merger:

1. Don’t get lost before you’ve even started

First thing’s first – you will need a solid naming strategy. By building a strategic platform you get a clear, overall perspective on your company’s naming challenges. Is your product family going in different directions? Are your different brands cannibalizing on each other? Make sure your names are consistent and work for you, not against you.

2. Think ahead

Some names become very popular at certain times. But beware! Be sure to take a look at the bigger picture and to think ahead. Where do you want your business to be tomorrow? Will that name work just as good five or ten years from now?

When you pick a name for a start-up, a big company or a product – longevity is of great importance.

3. Evaluate and secure your investment

Does your company name live up to your brand values today? What effect could your considered name have on your brand globally? Have you checked there is no accidental trademark infringement?

A communicative, linguistic and legal evaluation is a very effective way to secure your naming investment.

4. Mix business with pleasure

Naming is meant to be a joyful experience, but more often than not, entrepreneurs and companies realize there is much more to the naming process then just coming up with a handful of ideas. A thorough naming process includes everything from creation and quality assurance to legal and linguistic evaluation. It’s quite a big deal. Remember to have enjoy the process, and if you need to balance out the naming field, hire a professional.

5. Evaluate

Evaluation is an important part of the process. Already come up with a good name? Consider having it tested in all of the markets you do business in. Be sure to check your choices against each language and country that you will be operating in to avoid any issues or misinterpretations.

Here are a few tips to guide you in the naming process:

  • Prepare a story about the origins of your name. And make sure everyone in the company can tell it!
  • Do not base your name on a geographical location. This will build in limits from the start, and will eventually lead to problems.
  • Be sure to work through an effective process that will lead to informed decisions

Enjoy the process! Remember the name you have or choose should strengthen your competitive advantage in the markets your business is in.

Are you ready to turn your brand name into possibilities?

About the Author: Katarina Nilsson is an entrepreneur with 15 years’ experience as a naming expert and strategist. As the Founder of Eqvarium, she has helped to create names for some of the world’s most prolific brands including, Sony Ericsson, H&M, Toyota, Electrolux and BabyBjörn. A certified Joy of Business facilitator and a popular keynote speaker at universities and organizations all over Europe, Nilsson has a Master of Arts and a background studying Branding and International Property Law. She also speaks Swedish, English, Spanish and German fluently. A passionate change agent, she credits the tools of Access ConsciousnessTM, as she helps other entrepreneurs and leaders to expand their business, unlock their inner creativity.