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I am a digital creative working in branding and naming for 15 years. There are of course no rules to naming other than common sense guidelines that vary depending on your requirements. A name for a baby has a very different brief to naming a product but interestingly the process is very similar. You must start however with a brief which includes the limitations, guidelines and imagery associated with your brand story. Using mood boards and talking with stakeholders at this stage is vital to establish at least 5 naming directions. Its interesting here to discover that we all have different ideas for the brand we couldn’t immediately describe. (i can explain this better if you like)
Using the naming directions you then come up with 25 names for each one. For my last job we came up with about 150 name ideas for a women’s shoe company. The reason for finding so many is because the first 75 will very likely be cliched, obvious or not distinct enough. After the ‘long-list’ which i would create with other people (independently) where possible over at least a one week period, I create a shortlist of 25 names with the guidelines in mind and immediately I ask 5-10 people in the target market which are their favourite 5 names and any of their ideas. (again i can explain this better if you like).
Quite often you will get great insight at this stage and a flurry of 25 more names will come to mind. Sometimes the target market come up with better naming directions you never considered. This is very important because now we are speaking the user or customer language.
After the second round of long listing I will again make a shortlist and pay for a Google consumer survey to test the new top 5 names. You still may not find THE name at this stage and so you rinse and repeat.
– Naming is the hardest and most important thing you can do for your company/product
– You can always find many more names than you thought
– Listen to your target audience
– Presume you personally don’t have the right answer
That’s only my own process but I find that I get the best results that way. Hope that helps and don’t hesitate to ask me for more info and resources mate.