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The technical process of choosing an effective name (as a trademark)

Published in: Intellectual Property
by Arlo Canella
Home > The technical process of choosing an effective name (as a trademark)

This article covers the importance of the brand naming phase: tips and techniques are provided for dealing with this process.

The most common mistakes

Following one’s personal taste or merely being creative during the brand naming process can be a huge mistake. The brand should be perceived by consumers as an extremely condensed representation of the company’s values. Choosing a name based only on personal taste or creativity can lead to a name that does not effectively communicate the “message” and does not “resonate” with the target audience.

In addition, the naming process should take into account the market context, competitors and trends. If a name does not lend itself to being perceived correctly by the market or does not stand out from the competition, it may be less effective in building trust with customers, undermining the achievement of business goals.

The choice of name should always be based on a thorough analysis of the market and consumers in order to find a name that is unique, “catalyzing” and also consistent with the company’s vision and values. Let us see, as an example, one of the steps that make up the technical process of creation.

The first phase of the process is not "research and brainstorming"

The so-called “research and brainstorming” phase, despite its centrality, is only one of the stages that make up the technical process of developing a name. Using differential techniques allows a unique and distinctive name to be found through the analysis of competition and names in use. For example, competitive and market analysis definitely precedes brain-storming.

Ignoring this step could lead to very significant risks: a name that is not very distinctive or similar to a competitor’s name could create consumer confusion, increase legal risks, and reduce recognizability. Let’s see what this is about in more detail.

  • Competitor analysis: analyzing competitor brands serves to identify what works and what could be improved instead. Studying competitor names can help to understand what trends or naming styles are popular in the industry and what elements are valued by the target audience. This analysis provides interesting insights and stimulates creativity in the naming process, helping to identify opportunities to create a “unique” brand that is both consistent with the expectations of the target audience.
  • Differential techniques: During the discovery and brainstorming phase, it is critical to consider how your brand will position itself against competitors. To do this, you can use differential techniques, which are strategies that aim to understand what the concrete aspects of diversity will be from others in the industry. For example, you might opt for a name that emphasizes a characteristic aspect of the product or service you offer, or that expresses a vision or a specific value not identifiable in the competition. In this way, the brand will attract the public’s attention and differentiate itself from others, making it easier to recognize and remember.

Before we examine the technical process of creation in its entirety, let’s see what are the situations in which professional brand naming is used.

In what situations is professional brand naming used?

Professional brand naming is particularly popular in two situations:

  1. Restructuring of an existing brand: in professional rebranding is statistically mostly requested when a new brand name needs to be created in case of a merger of several firms, to revise/evaluate the name and to better align it with the new “direction.” More often still, brand naming is requested from a firm like ours to overcome mishaps such as, for example, legal disputes over the brand in use. However, cases of brand naming assignments at the origin of corporate creation are on the rise precisely to avoid such mishaps.
  2. Creation of a new brand name: When an entrepreneur is launching a new company, product or service, knowing and applying naming techniques is critical to developing an effective and strategic name. By following the steps suggested below, preferably with the support of an experienced attorney, the entrepreneur can ensure that he or she is creating a solid brand identity that is consistent with the company’s vision and will appeal to the target audience. When the entrepreneur opts for “do-it-yourself” or relies on an advertising agency, it is still essential to commission at least one “verification” (prior art search) from an experienced attorney before starting to use the brand.

The starting point

Identifying the corporate vision is always crucial when choosing a name, as it represents the long-term direction and aspiration of the organization and the desired perception among consumers.

The name “Apple” and the bitten apple logo, for example, have become synonymous with cutting-edge technology, elegance and ease of use. Through effective communication and a consistent brand image, Apple has been able to clearly convey its vision to consumers, positioning itself as a leader in the technology industry and creating a loyal and passionate customer base.

To define an effective vision, it is necessary to analyze the organization, the target market, and the needs of customers, then using that vision as a reference point to guide the naming process in every business communication situation. A well-chosen brand name reflects and supports the corporate vision, creating an immediate and lasting connection between the brand and its audience.

The operational check list

The industry’s best practitioners use this checklist of operational steps:

  1. Establish clear objectives: develop a brief that outlines the goals to be achieved with the brand name and identity.
  2. Articulate the core identity: understand the company’s vision, mission and values.
  3. Analyze competition: identify the codes in use in the target market to speak “the language of the audience.”
  4. “Research and brainstorming” phase: analyze what the brand stands for and gather all ideas inspired by corporate values and key messages.
  5. Refinement phase: evaluate names that will speak to the audience, using popular naming techniques to refine ideas.
  6. Use positioning and evaluation charts to compare names with each other.
  7. Involve “typical customers” in the decision-making process.
  8. Test the name: assess whether the name is memorable, translates correctly, and can be registered as a trademark.
  9. Check the availability of the name (prior art search) as a trademark and as a domain name.

The topic of brand name design and the naming process has a significant impact on the lives of clients and the work of experts. Choosing an effective and memorable name is critical to building a successful brand name that can communicate the company’s values and stand out from competitors.

Professional support in the creation process

Ignoring the technical process of name creation can lead to an unattractive name that is difficult to remember and indistinguishable from competitors, resulting in lost business opportunities.

In addition, evolving technologies and expanding global markets make the naming process even more critical, as one must consider not only the translation of the name into other languages, but also its availability as a registered trademark in different jurisdictions.

In summary, the brand naming process is an essential part of the branding strategy and its impact can be critical to a company’s success and customer loyalty.

The Canella Camaiora Law Firm offers high-level intellectual property legal advisory services, including name selection and trademark protection. Specifically, the firm provides clients with a structured service, including identification of the corporate vision, definition of the basic identity, market analysis, discovery phase, refinement phase, and name testing.

The Firm also provides professional naming tools, positioning charts, evaluation charts and differential techniques to guide clients in choosing the perfect name. The goal is to help clients create strategic brand names that are memorable, strong and meaningful, which can stand out from the competition and build a lasting customer relationship.

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Publication date: 22 March 2023
Last update: 7 September 2023
Avv. Arlo Cannela

Avvocato Arlo Canella

Managing Partner of Canella Camaiora Law Firm, member of the Milan Bar Association, passionate about Branding, Communication and Design.
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