Concepts in Naming

This year, we are publishing our Concepts in Naming workbook online. We want everyone to have access to our recommended process. We will be rolling out chapters each month.

Name, family, and personality are synonymous in much of Western literature. Naming today follows this heritage. Naming is very much like a christening or a bar mitzvah for the new product development process. It is an opportunity to put a personal stamp on what may have been either an individual or group effort. Whether you are naming for an internal project or a national product launch, naming, more than anything else, comes from the heart of the innovation team.

My orientation as a specialist in group process has given me a certain perspective or as, some would say, bias.  I often add ceremonial pieces to meaning processes. These pieces acknowledge that we are passing the product from its technical to its marketing parents; from discovery and development to consumer to customization. Parenthood is everything to the successful new product development effort. Those who understand parenthood, particularly its love/hate passion, are well prepared for product development. You have often heard that “necessity is the mother of invention.”

I would like this rephrased:

“Motherhood is a necessity of invention,” and naming is the ultimate act of parental involvement… giving and hoping, striving and pruning.

My hope is that you will find this book useful to your naming process. Whether you are an engineer seeking a temporary project name or an ad agency trying to give your client the best you can with no time and less money, this book is designed to offer a low cost, low time commitment, yet effective, process.

If it is a name of limited market and legal scope, like a project name, here’s a word of advice: take this seriously.  I have seen projects survive based on a memorable, fun name. I have also seen products get lost in the shuffle because no one in the board room could quite remember why $250,000 was important for the LG 600SX.

If you’re an agency or marketing person, you know that you can get help for $7,500 to $75,000. And, by the way, you usually get what you pay for.

But you also know that there are lots of ways to spend the limited resources you do have. As a consultant, I also appreciate a client group who has thought through the issues I will be walking you through in this book. At worst, this workbook will be a first step for you. At best, it will work for you and allow you to put your precious resources elsewhere in the NPD process.

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