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And who knows how to create effective brand names?



Asking our expert Anthony Shore

Q: Anthony, from your long experience, what is the best profile for a good namer? It's an MBA specialised in brand strategy? It's a linguistic with a sound knowledge of different languages? It's a very cultivated person with a broad vocabulary?...

Eleven years ago, a veteran namer told me the best namers are linguists with an MBA. That captures 2 dimensions of a good namer, but I believe that characterization is incomplete.   

Good namers are specialists who, paradoxically, are often the best generalists.

A namer must be a good:

Account manager

Listening to clients, building their trust, reading non-verbal cues from a room of executives, responding positively and not defensively to client concerns and building consensus are all vital naming skills, just as they are good skills in account managers.

Strategist/Account planner

A namer must think strategically to ensure their names support client's business objectives. Strategic thinking and rationale build the namer's credibility and make them more pursausive. Good namers, like good planners, always consider the customer perspective.


Creating good names requires looking at a client's business from many perspectives. Namers must be creatively prolific and fearless. And as fellow "grizzled veteran" namer Mark Gunnion said in this interview, "You have to be thick-skinned -- 99.9% of what you create is rejected, usually without a second glance or explanation." 


Engendering client trust and helping a client see how a word could become their brand requires great storytelling. Your name story and rationale must be persuasive and pass the "sniff test." An effective name presentation brings together the right blend of emotion and logic.


It's a German word that means "a feeling for speech". Good namers understand the nuances of words and meanings. Good namers are articulate. And only a person madly in love with words could become a namer. But love and knowledge of words is not enough. As I wrote in Knowledge vs. Naivete, linguistic expertise is helpful for naming, but so is the ability to "turn off" that knowledge and imagine how names would be perceived by a typical customer.

Marketing communicator

Good namers must consider how their names might come to life across all communications: Visual identity, advertising, messaging, PR, merchandising, etc. Although namers typically don't design logos or advertising campaigns, their ability to communicate their names' potential helps identify and pursuade the client of the best ones.


So, if you want external help to find the best name for your brand, now you know what you should look for.



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