Creating a new website publishing platform is a challenge. It needs to be clear and trustworthy for users and imply the benefits (speed and improvement) in an exciting way for publishers.
Accelerated Mobile Pages is a descriptive name, putting the benefits of speed and mobile-friendliness front and center, with a fun and memorable acronym built right in that also implies the benefits.
This geothermal innovator wanted to make the heating and cooling technology, familiar in Europe but relatively unknown in the US, feel friendly, natural, and welcome in American homes.
Inspired by the company’s unique drilling, straight downward like a dandelion’s tap root, the name aims to feel familiar and comfortable year round.
When Pyramid, a San Francisco music production school, wanted to create its own music label to give its students wider exposure and a chance to be discovered, it needed a name that sounded like a big record label – and had a serious story.
I led the effort and was the sole namer for the project. After a round of work, I presented the word “epiphyte” – a plant that grows on another plant but is not parasitic – which was a wonderful story about growth and about the students leveraging the strength and power of the school behind them to get their careers growing. It had a relation to neophyte. It also had the added nod of starting with “EP” – a reference back to the industry that the designer leveraged by combining a sense of musical notation and a turntable.
WellPoint was getting its pharmacy benefits management brand in order. Not only were they giving it a new structure as part of WellPoint rebranding, they were adding new offers that changed the way the category would be seen.
I led the effort to develop the deceptively simple, but always memorable brand “NextRx.” The market loved the brand and the customers intuitively understood it was their pharmacy insurance when they received their next healthcare card.
The effort to give NextRx its own personality in the market was so successful, in fact, that it was targeted and acquired by the biggest player in the industry – Express Scripts. Thus sometimes a great name is so successful that it leads to its own retirement.
The work on NextRx built a relationship that allowed me to pitch and win a much larger engagement for our company with the WellPoint master brand for design, voice and brand training.
When Texas Instruments was preparing to spin off its sensors and controls business, they needed a name that felt big and trustworthy, close in to sensors and controls, but still had an evocative feel.
I led the effort with the client, found a name they could rally behind and worked closely with design to bring these close-in names to life.
Not only did they adopt the name, the effort went so well, it led to nomenclature, brand positioning, design and even more engagements with the Texas Instruments master brand as well.
How do you create a cohesive naming system that can accommodate 130 product launches a year? That can span from $4 computer mice to $500 music systems and still feel like a master brand? That could accommodate the constant improvement of technology, but didn’t lose the story of the category? That engineers could get behind and that had room for the big marketing pushes that consumers needed to fall in love with?
Armed with some research, some insight into the road maps and a (way too deep) understanding of everything the company was asking of its names (including a trip to their factory in China), I created a detailed system of nomenclature that simplified numbering across categories, built criteria for evocative names within the system (and the rules around when numbers had to appear and could be left off), demonstrated how the names would work in each touchpoint and created guidelines and a wiki to allow company-wide visibility of the names in use.
While numbers aren’t always the solution, this combination of clear and descriptive naming, supported by tiering numbers with the flexibility for evocative names that could fit seamlessly into the system has been a success in helping customers and sales teams clearly understand the line up – and speeding time to market on the products they create.
Samsung had always named their mobile phones in the way they had named their microwaves – a strong master brand, a price point and a model number to help with stocking and ordering. But Motorola, with its Razr, had changed the game on them. We helped them develop a tonality and strategy to move from numbers and letters to a story that they could get behind.
And this phone – the first with an intuitive haptic interface that allowed “soft buttons” to give the user a sense of feedback without staring at the screen – got a name that became Samsung’s flagship for announcing their new evocative push into the mobile and smart phone market.
How could Adobe create a new software suite for true photographers that was differentiated from their flagship Photoshop brand (which began as a photographer’s program and became known as an artist’s tool)? The UI metaphor was steeped in traditional professional photography metaphors – loupes, lightboxes, negatives.
With naming, we explored a wide range of options, but coming up with the simple story of “everything you’d do in a dark room, now in the light” led to the name that I’m most proud of.
The best names feel like they’ve been around forever a day after you pitch them. Lightroom fit seamlessly into Adobe’s portfolio. (And once the software package was re-engineered to be compatible with Photoshop, they brought it under their banner Photoshop brand with the nomenclature criteria work I developed for them as well.)
All the web you want to see on your TV needed a name that set it apart from the mice, keyboards, webcams and remote controls Logitech was known for. A name that screamed entertainment – and was ready to go global.
I lead the effort, created the name, and did the sell in to everyone: the CEO and board, the Swiss engineers and the Google marketing team.
I also built the nomenclature for the accessories and helped Google build criteria for the use of the Google TV brand.
Do you want to compete with potato skin chips in the vending machine wars? Then you better be the most Irish.
After a deep assessment of what makes something sound like a pub – and the difference between Irish and British pub naming – the answer to this Frito-Lay challenge was on my iTunes playlist. When Keely Smith sang back to Louis Prima, I knew that name #1034 was going to be a winner.