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Principles of luxury interior brand naming

Wayne McMaster

15 February 2013

Naming is a contentious and emotional business.

Your name is the first and most visible representation of your premium or luxury brand positioning. Your company's name can boost brand equity, create valuable public relations and marketing momentum and ultimately drive sales. The potential return on investment from choosing an appropriate name for your busines or new line of products should compel any designer/maker to devote time and effort to getting it right.

So, consider these principles as you prepare to ‘birth’ the perfect name for your new line of interior products or your business, whether you target the affluent or not, creating an aspirational high-end name will propel your brand and credibility upward.The right name will distinguish you from your competition, create an emotional connection with your audience and help build a brand that will not only hold their attention, but will inspire loyalty.

Principles of Naming

  1. Distinctiveness
  2. Brevity
  3. Appropriateness
  4. Easy pronunciation
  5. Likability
  6. Extendibility
  7. Protectability

Distinctiveness

Does it achieve stand out especially from others in its class? Does it have personality? Is it provocative? Will it disappear amongst ordinary text/speech? Strong brand names have the ‘presence’ of a proper noun. The search engine has changed everything. It needs to be relevant and truly compelling. The key to any name–simple or complex, abstract or descriptive–is grabbing attention and staying memorable. If you’re different, you want to sound different. Use your name to focus on what makes your brand special. Look at your category and where it’s headed. Does it create a symbolic association that fortifies the image of your company or a product to your consumers. How can your name signal something new? That buzz of surprise could be telling you that you’ve found a name that stands out.

Brevity

Is it short enough to be quickly recalled? Will it resist being reduced to a nickname? Long multi-word names often become bland initials.

Appropriateness

Is there a logical fit with the business purpose/proposition? If it would work just as well for another entity, keep looking for something more unique! Choose a name that tells your brand’s story, that fills it with meaning. Over time, you can expand the meaning of your name and add layers of depth to make it even more powerful—a visual identity, a color, a sound. The more significance your name carries, the more work it will do for you.

Easy pronunciation

Will most people be able to spell the name after hearing it spoken and verbalize it after seeing it in written form? A name shouldn’t become a spelling test or make users feel ignorant. Great names grab your attention by breaking the rules­—but a name that defies your expectations may also appear scary. Will it be talked about? The best names are the ones that people can’t wait to tell their friends about. Names that roll off the tongue invite customers to become your viral marketing agency. Say, shout, and even sing names you’re considering to see which one will echo for years to come.

Likability

Will people enjoy using it? Names that are intellectually stimulating or provide a good ‘mouth feel’ have a definite headstart. Is there an emtoional connection with the new name? Some names ‘grow’ to be loved though, even the best name may not seem terrific the first time you hear it. As your name evolves into a brand, it will acquire more and richer associations. Give the names you’re considering a chance to grow on you—and try to imagine what they might stand for five or ten years down the road.

Extendibility

Is there long term mileage for applying the name in various marketing contexts? Does it have legs? Does it lend itself to lots of creative directions and suggest visual interpretations. Great names give lots of opportunity for brandplay.

Protectability

Can the intellectual property be protected and robustly defended? Is it possible to secure a trademark and the necessary web URL? Some names are safer than others.

Our Naming Process

  1. Competitive Name Analysis
  2. Positioning
  3. Name Generation
  4. Legal-availability search
  5. Linguistic and Oral evaluation
  6. Market research evaluation (when appropriate)
  7. Graphic demonstration and evaluation
  8. Naming Architecture Design

Further reading

8 Mistakes To Avoid When Naming Your Business or Products

How Retailers Give Names to Furniture

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