Five Tips for your next Naming Project

TalkTalk have launched FibreNation – a company to help build a new broadband network for Britain. And we worked with them to name and brand the new organisation.

FibreNation is entering a hugely competitive market. The government has set ambitious targets to increase the number of homes served by full fibre, and the competition is hotting up. Openreach and Virgin Media are in there, along with Gigaclear, Hyperoptic and Cityfibre as new players. Even though they’re B2B, we’re going to be seeing a lot of these names over the coming months and years on the sides of vans, hoardings, hard hats and high vis vests.

Naming – essentially a subset of the branding process – is one of the hardest things to do.

It takes years of experience and professional objectivity to be able to plot a path through the pitfalls of these projects. In this case, the time was tight, but the process seemed to work smoothly. I wanted to try and identify the key enablers that made the project as frictionless as possible – which might act as a blueprint for future briefs.

1.    Lack of Time Creates Focus
This can be a blessing as well as a curse. From receipt of brief to finalisation was around 3 months. Those in the world of branding know that this isn’t a long time – particularly when naming is involved. However, in this instance, it helped focus the minds of all concerned. It was treated as a priority and the client was well engaged throughout. That’s key. Agencies generally move at the speed of the slowest stakeholder on the client slide. When they’re streamlined, we can all move really quickly.

2.    Right Heads at the Right Times 
This is probably the most important aspect in getting a project over the line – and it’s a credit to the client. Their project team was small and very senior. The head of Marketing and Chief Executive took advice and made decisions. They did report back into a broader stakeholder group and we did meet them at some of the meetings, but I can’t undersell the benefit of a small senior team who are able to cut through the various roadblocks and politics to get the decisions made.

3.    A Clear Brief
It’s an old favourite, but it’s true. TalkTalk came to us with absolute clarity around what they felt they needed. It wasn’t a self-diagnosis which couldn’t be challenged, but they’d laid enough of the groundwork to make it clear where they felt the solution lay. These tight parameters really help the creative team in the process, providing focus and clarity of thought to the challenge.

4.    Agency Experience
Naming’s a specialism, and the more you do it, the better you get at it. Our team have been around the block a bit and although no two jobs are the same, the iterative process surfaces common themes. When facing tight timelines, this means we’re able to take some shortcuts in the rapid prototyping of names, descriptors and language. These elements are important as they place a name within a context and that makes it easier to evaluate quickly. All of this is in addition to the other capabilities of availability checks at the Intellectual Property Office, collaboration with legal teams, rolling with the feedback and tweaking or evolving names and creative to get to consensus.

5.    Pragmatism
This bites quite early on in the naming process. Given we live in a world where there are fewer and fewer ‘free’ names, tough decisions need to be made. Our advice to clients is always to create a long list, then a shortlist – but keep an open mind until you know which one carries least baggage. TalkTalk were great here, looking to take between 5 and 10 options forward for legal consideration. They didn’t get too attached to any of them (which can be a problem), and made their decision based on a mix of availability, legal clearance and consensus of preference. 

At Good we’re experts in naming and branding – so if you’re facing a similar challenge to TalkTalk, why don’t you give us a shout.