How we do naming

There is probably a “science” way to approach the problem of naming a brand. Our strategy relies more on the viscera of the brand opportunity.

Success factors we hold ourselves accountable to:

1. Does it prompt curiosity?

2. Does it uncover an untapped truth within the brand’s category?

3. Does it create a positive tension that forces the consumer to resolve something in their preconceived notion of the category? [I know I know, strategy yawn, just take it for what it is]

4. Is it a fighter – and something you would be proud to call the ‘welcome mat’ to your brand?

The Process

1. Set Objectives: Ensure we are all aligned with where we want to take the brand, but equally, how we want people to feel when they encounter the brand.

2. Culture Audit: Foolproof the name for quick uptake when delivered in isolation (gut response) and with context (wrapped in design).

3. Consumer Audit: Make it elastic enough to accommodate fluctuations in consumer behavior/sentiment, as well as new product opportunities down the road.

4. Market Audit: Find fertile territory to displace the status quo & upset the prevailing conversation.  

5. Naming territories: No limit, as many as fit the bill above.

6. Competitive search: Are we totally unique.

7. Finalized: Trademarking if needed.

This has taken us anywhere from a day to a month, but luckily never longer.

Sometimes you hit it right out of the park immediately, sometimes it takes massaging. 

Or, sometimes, it is a process of repeated banging of head to wall till something great bleeds out.

Here are some examples of success we have had.

Mother Dirt – Skincare

We were brought on late in the game to help a company called AOBiome – think probiotics for the skin – launch a new, consumer-oriented skincare product that didn’t shout “clinical”. 

When we are born, our bodies are covered with probiotics, our first natural defense mechanism. We then spend the rest of our lives using anti-bacterials to wash away bad bacteria (and the good with it). We took the opportunity to capture the maternal, human cloaking nature of the product and own the word “mother”.

On the other side, the product itself is a kind of synthesized dirt (at least that is our low brow understanding of it).

We combined the two, playing off of “Mother Earth,” to create Mother Dirt.

The URL was $12.99 (added value & upside!). 

Cake – End of Life Planning

The market of end of life planning tools is rife with legal mazes, paved with anxiety and managed by grey, ill-fit suits. Wills, death, life insurance, estate planning, lawyers, fear, more death, rinse repeat.

We believed the category itself was broken, and that the opportunity was bigger than renaming a product in a whitewash market.

We thought we could create a name that could begin the process of repositioning death itself.

From birth onwards our lives are punctuated with points of celebration. Death isn’t one. But what if we viewed death – in all its sadness and complexity – as an equal celebration of life’s great moments? To do so we borrowed a mnemonic heavily associated with celebration – a cake – and used that as the crown of our ask to rethink to tackle the last taboo head on.

Oh, and the product is as easy as cake to use.

check it out at 

Alchemista – Office Catering and Brand Experience

At its core, Alchemy is the process of bringing together common elements in particular combination to create something unexpected and of rare value.

In Alchemista’s case, their premise is that they bring great food + great experiences together to create an intangible: better company culture. 1 + 1 = 3. A sort of alchemy.

The A at the end humanizes and feminizes the name, giving it playfulness, and elevating it to the world of fashion and art, in which culture has a rightful place.

We execute across all three dimensions at Heart, but we have been seeing more and more need within the market for naming. It really is a fun task to undertake, and with the right client and the correct amount of latitude, we feel a great a name can start a conversation and put a smile on someone’s face all at the same time.

With a strong springboard in a name it does make the next phase of logo development / design a little more seamless, as we find the pieces sort of fall into place naturally when the design system is grown of the same roots as the name.