Monday, August 03, 2009

The Name Game

Last week, my mentor asked me to help come up with a name for a new client initiative set to debut early next year. Developing names, taglines and other seemingly simple marketing elements is crucial to a brand’s identity. As much fun as it is to work on assignments like these, it can also be a little nerve-wracking, as a client’s success often hinges on how well a name or other short message communicates effectively with its target.

In this most recent case, the name had to encompass an entire program rather than a specific element, while also steering clear of any previously trademarked words or phrases. It wasn’t easy. Let’s just say great names don’t just fall from the sky. Well, maybe the obvious ones do, but those are already all trademarked anyway.

To confront this issue I had to go on a, shall we say, “mental road trip”. Sure, it’d be nice if I could just sit at my desk and pull creativity out from under my keyboard, but the fact is, it doesn’t always work that way.

I began with researching the focus of the initiative, as well as all of the parts and pieces of the program. Then, I wrote down a few ideas. Next, I consulted some handy publications all about idea generation, such as Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This:. Then, I wrote down a few more ideas. After I hit the books, I sat at home and explained parts of the program to members of my family. They didn’t approach the issue the same way I did, and that was exactly what I was looking for. Speaking with individuals outside of marketing about a marketing problem often brings a fresh perspective to the table, which is often just what is needed. Finally, I attended a brainstorming session where I, along with members of the creative team, generated new ideas together based on our collective insights.

The point is, the creative process, no matter how small the end result, is a journey. Great ideas don’t always set up shop in your office. Sometimes, you have to leave your desk and go find them.

Patrick Bensi
Creative Intern

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