WHAT IS THE STRATEGY THAT WILL SET THE STAGE FOR SUCCESS?
A good project begins by having the right team. The best agency teams are immersive, adaptive, and client-focused. They’re backed by veteran executives who are involved from beginning to end as well as expert project managers with the right tools to manage resources and timelines. They have experienced creative teams with a global perspective. And they also employ optimal legal resources with established skills in trademark and common-law research.
Your agency should also guide involvement from your team: a team too small limits knowledge, and a team too large limits productivity. There will likely be critical internal stakeholders who want a say in the brand development but aren’t a part of the day-to-day project decisions. Your partner agency should have well-developed methods for allowing this input without stagnating progress.
Once you assemble the dream team, you and your partner will begin identifying and aligning on the optimal creative strategy. It’s crucial to set the stage with a clearly defined strategy. This strategy will be the road map to success for the project, ensuring that all creative, review, and refinement follow your company’s desired vision and purpose.
Brand naming agencies can differ significantly in the activities used to define the strategy. The best brand developers use innovative ideation activities to get the team thinking outside the box to identify obvious brand attributes and subtle or newly discovered product, company, and target audience considerations. If this ideation is flat, with generic questionnaires, the creative will be too.
Read our blogs The importance of internal buy-in, Incorporating executive and extended teams into the naming process, Brand Architecture 101, and Case Study Empro for more information.
ARE THE CREATIVE PROCESSES STRATEGIC, FRESH, INNOVATIVE, AND GLOBAL?
So, you have confidence the stage is set, and an excellent script will be written. Next, you will want to deep dive into the naming agency’s methodology for creative evaluation and validation. People often believe the naming process is nothing more than generating a list of potential names—based on a few surveys and some market research. In actuality, to ensure that a name or logo is clear, consistent, and compelling, the process has to be much more than that.
There can be numerous ways to discover creative paths. Make sure there will be a proper balance between innovative discovery, fresh creative and strategic precision. This stage is the time to be open-minded and explore all your options. Ensure that the creative team has significant industry experience, diversity, and global representation and that you feel confident the names presented will explore a broad range of unique word parts.
A few words of caution. Find out if your naming agency of consideration plans to repeat the same names in multiple list presentations. It is a common short-cut that results in far less innovation and far fewer names for consideration. The list review process should include numerous iterations, each acting as a springboard for discovery and creativity. Don’t settle for recycled name candidates selected from databases and previously presented to your competitors. You would be surprised at how prevalent this is in the industry. After years of product innovation, planning, blood, sweat, and tears, why would you settle for a recycled name?
IS LEGAL AVAILABILITY A PRIORITY OR AN AFTERTHOUGHT?
It stings to settle on a great name that perfectly represents your product, your company, and your market and is agreed on by all key stakeholders – only to have it rejected by your legal team. Or, even worse, become embroiled in legal conflict. Your naming agency should help you avoid legal conflicts. With the significant number of trademarks in your industry, this is an absolute must consideration for the project’s early stages. Find out who is doing the vetting, what credentials they carry, and what tools they will use. The process used by trademark screeners should closely resemble that of your legal team as they evaluate final brand names before registration. To check this box, your agency should have qualified legal screeners, namely paralegals, that use powerful search engines with excellent industry credibilities such as Corsearch, TrademarkNow, and Thomson CompuMark. Your brand naming agency should vet name candidates conjointly with the creative phase, not in later project phases. This upfront vetting ensures that your project team will not waste valuable time reviewing name options with predictable legal conflicts. Furthermore, your agency should be transparent, meaning that you should receive a work product delivering the trademark results that you may share with your legal counsel to aid in paring down prioritized creative options.
Read our blogs Does the length of a trademark matter, Goods and services in trademark research, and I.P. 101: The difference between Trademarks, Service Marks, Copywrites, & Patents for more information.