How To Evaluate Name Candidates

It is easy to be overwhelmed with the importance of selecting the right brand name for your product or company.  And no doubt it is important.  But evaluating candidates doesn't have to be difficult if you just keep a few things in mind:

1. Manage Your Expectations.  You may not experience an “AHA!” moment.  There is no such thing as love at first site.  Maybe lust but not love.  That is not the role of any brand name.  It should excite you. It should draw you in.  It should pique your curiosity.  But expecting one or two words to blow your mind (in the absence of any context, or greater story) is expecting too much.  That is not the job of your brand name.  The job of the name is to embody the brand and/or begin to tell the story.  The story and the totally of the brand experience provide the WOW! moment.

2.  Let them Marinate.  This is a decision that you will live with for quite some time.  Some candidates will grow on you, with others your initial impressions may change.

3. Imagine the Possibilities. A great name is a vessel to be filled with stories and ideas that flesh out your brand.  It does not need, nor should it capture every feature, attribute and benefit of your value proposition. While you certainly have to like the name, it is vastly more important to imagine where it can take you.  It is the journey that matters.

4. Don’t Outsource the Decision.  Asking others, especially non-professionals, is an abdication of your expertise.  Research has a role, a very important and definitive role in name selection, but not as a popularity contest.  Name research is specific and aimed at uncovering the pros and cons, both short term and long term, of each candidate.  Then you can make a more informed decision.