... your voice defined A graphic design & naming consultancy

Naming Brief / Questionnaire

I want to provide you a framework, a set of parameters...that we’ll call the “Naming Brief“. This needed exercise is similar to a logo design brief, but in this case it’s specifically about the verbal language, the sound, the primary meaning, the connotations you wish your name to have. Here, you’ll “define” your goals and the positioning for your new naming project. It may be a company name, a product or service name you’re after. My goal is to interpret your input, and as closely as possible, create “your” name just as the IDENTIVOS tag line declares, ”...your voice defined ”.

This is the critical first step in our collaborative effort. I really need you to spend as much time as possible informing me about your business. You may wish to show this brief to those with whom you would normally consult or seek guidance. Please be as detailed as possible with your answers & comments.

I want to know what shapes & motivates your thinking about your company...I need you to be as introspective as possible. How do you view your business today...where do you envision it tomorrow? Take an observer’s perspective...how is your name to be viewed by others.

Hopefully you’ve read my ideas about naming in the Naming Primer, & the Glossary of Naming Terms will help you understand the terminology used by naming experts.

As you prepare to answer questions in this naming brief, keep the five elements of branding I’ve outlined below in mind. There are many more aspects, levels, variables, and marketing approaches involved in creating a “brand”. We are here first to create your name, once this primary function is done, the long & exciting, job of implementing a marketing and branding plan will begin. Consistent, long term efforts will be required in maintaining your brand’s position.

Brand Position: Positioning is variously described as the process by which marketers create an identity in the minds of the target audience. What does your company do & for whom? What is your unique selling position (USP)? What is your product or service and how are you different from your competitors?

Brand Promise: The one salient message or promise to your customers, employees or affiliates/partners...what should they expect to see as a “constant” in all of your transactions and endeavors?

Brand Personality: We humans have personality traits, hopefully more good than bad. What are your brand’s traits? Think of 5 or 6 qualities, use an adjective to describe them.

The Brand Story: As children we all loved and were enthralled by stories told to us by our parents and school teachers, some sad, some happy and many uplifting in nature...was it a “rags to riches” story or about someone coming from humble origins & obtaining fame, success, wealth, or self reliance; etc?

Now, as adults, we continue to be moved by heartwarming & positive stories. These stories illustrate, highlight & showcase the brand’s message...your story. Everyone has his or her own story...what’s yours?

Brand Associations: These are a combination of your name, your logo, your identity systems...all of the graphical and written elements that make up your brand: colors, tag lines, font styles & other imagery.

Feel free to print out this naming brief/questionnaire. I would actually encourage & advise it. Pencil in your answers as you would do in a workbook, consider, reflect upon & refine your answers then return here to complete this online form. This process may take some time...a few hours, a few days.

Consider the following masterpiece, as it may help to orient you towards your goal. You’ll want to love your “name”...it must look right, sound right, it must be pronounceable, & spellable..literally, if not phonetically...is it memorable?

Sonnet XLIII

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

From Sonnets from the Portuguese 1850

~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

"If names are not correct, language will not be in accordance with the truth of things.”


Contact Information:

Please include either an email address or a phone number so we can contact you.

Your Name:
Company Name:
Zip: Country:

If you list multiple numbers, please list the preferred number first

Time Zone:
Best time to call:
Website URL:

What is your overall business concept? What is this business about, its purpose...its raison d’etre?

Describe your business sector...insurance, finance, the arts, internet based, general consumer products, etc.

What products/services will be provided?

Will the name function as a business entity, a product or a service?

In which geographic markets, local, regional, national or global, will the new name compete?

Who are your competitors? Provide a few links and pertinent information.

Talk a bit about your ideal demographic target(s)... their age, gender, lifestyle, education, income level; etc... are you BTB (business to business) or BTC (business to customer)?

How will your target audience benefit from buying your goods or using your services..what will happen, how will they be helped, advanced, changed or uplifted?

Looking at your company as an objective observer, what is your one unique selling point? Why would someone switch to you?

Pick 3-6 characteristics, (adjectives), this business would hope to possess or eventually achieve? Too many attributes will only dilute the hoped for results.

Naming objectives: What the name must do... what must it communicate? Include here a list of words, (your objectives),or a sentence or two about your objectives along with a supporting description of these naming goals. As in the previous question about a name’s characteristics...a name cannot fulfill a dozen objectives...only one or two can work.

Naming Criteria: How the name is constructed. There are so many ways to construct or build a name. These have their advantages as well as drawbacks. Consider the length of a name for URL/internet domain use. If a five letter domain is desired, you have many possibilities... 11,881,376 to be exact, while using the English language...a daunting task to be sure. Consider these additional types of names.

Functional: Info Seek, Delta, Pan Am

Descriptive: Range Rover, Land Cruiser

Invented, Coined, Neologisms: All with similar characteristics. Kodak, Kleenex, Eloquacious, Radar (also a palindrome), Laser, Internet

Portmanteau: Identivos

Experiential: Gateway, Explorer, Magellan, Navigator, Safari

Evocative: Yahoo, Apple, Virgin

Suggestive: Scanty, revealing

Metaphoric: somewhat like suggestive

Real: Trump, Brooks Bros.

Eponymous: Trump, Sears

A certain consonant/vowel construction.

Able to use foreign language words.

Give me some guidance and instruction here...consider what can be done as much as what shouldn’t be done. Are certain letters okay and others not?

Do you have any final thoughts or ideas that haven’t been covered relating to the construction of your name?


All text & graphics Copyright 2012 Alan Bennington/IDENTIVOS