A foundational element of any naming project is to thoroughly analyze the names of the competition. We plot the results on a taxonomy chart, like this competitive name analysis of naming firms. It brings an elegant simplicity to a complex set of naming & positioning elements.
This helps everyone involved understand the competitive landscape, to see which words & ideas are overused, and to have a crystal-clear picture of where the opportunities are.
It reveals the part of the conversation in your space that you can redefine & own.
It's a vital step that's usually overlooked, even when naming agencies name themselves:
Levels of Engagement: These eight levels (y-axis levels from minus 2 to plus 5) represent the amount of material (meaning, stories, associations, imagery, multiple layers) in a name the audience has to play with and personalize – and how "engaged" they are by a name. Names in the minus 2 level are the least engaging, and likely to be quickly forgotten; the higher the number the better, with level 5 being the best.
Functional Names: The lowest common denominator of names, usually either named after a person, purely descriptive of what the company or product does, or a pre- or suffixed reference to functionality. (Infoseek, LookSmart)
Invented Names: "Invented" as in a made-up name (Acquient, Agilent, Alliant, Google) or a non-English name that is not widely known.
Experiential Names: A direct connection to something real, a part of direct human experience. Usually literal in nature, but presented with a touch of imagination. (Netscape, Palm Pilot)
Evocative Names: These names are designed to evoke the positioning of a company or product rather than the goods and services or the experience of those goods and services. Removed from direct experience, but relevant – evoking memories, stories, and many levels of association. (Virgin, Apple, Cracker Jack)
We encourage you to print this out and move names around, and see if you think they should be classified differently. It's an exercise that will get you thinking about the names in your own industry. (Here is a blank taxonomy chart you can print out.)
|Computer Port Technology Name Taxonomy|