Making a name for ourselves: Collating internal knowledge to create identities for new digital products


The wisdom of crowds is beneficial when it comes to approaching the product naming process – and gathering external feedback is a great way to bolster that wisdom. 

After our working group built a collection of naming options for several digital products that are under development, the next step of our research-based methodology saw us reach out to our network.  Avoiding blind spots and gathering fresh perspectives are both huge advantages of seeking outside input, with these then combined with our own opinions before a decision is made. 

The concluding part of our two-part series will focus on how we approached gathering and analysing the feedback – and how we used this to select our chosen titles. 


Quantitative and/or qualitative data collection? 

Deciding how you want to sample your external respondents is crucial to gathering the data you want. 

Contextual understanding and subjective experiences from a small sample – that is, qualitative inputs – can provide valuable insights into what goes through the heads of your intended audience. Quantitative feedback in the form of survey responses from a larger sample can, however, also provide generalised findings and spot trends that can confirm or deny any hypothesis on the naming options. 

We largely went with the former, preparing a series of short open-ended questions to not only get answers but also a rationale for those responses that might unearth previously unconsidered viewpoints. 


Determining priorities 

Every company wants to communicate something different through their products and branding. That is why formulating the right questions is so important to understanding how others perceive the names of those products and brands. 

In our case, we decided to focus on a series of core characteristics, which included – but were not limited to – whether a name was easy to remember, spell and pronounce. By asking respondents this, we could figure out which of the options would work best across geographies and cultures and which had the most brand potential. 

We also assigned a weighting to each of these criteria in line with how important we felt they were to what we are looking to convey from a branding perspective. 


Ascertaining associations and appropriateness 

Word association is a fun way of gathering feedback but it is also incisive as it collects those all-important first impressions. These are so difficult to change so it’s crucial to make sure the target audience develops the desired response straight away. 

Respondents’ first answers were organised into groups and given a value. As well as identifying whether these words were positive or negative, we also looked at whether they were intended or not, with those that matched our intention scoring higher. A follow-up question sought to delve into these feelings more by getting a longer list, with the more positive words – measured subjectively – helping that name obtain a higher ‘score’. 

Finally, we asked our respondents directly how appropriate they thought a given name was on a scale of 0-10, which elicited some interesting results that compounded the views expressed in the word association section. 


Scoreboards and shortlists 

Armed with a mass of data, interpreting it effectively is key. By building a scoring system before asking questions, it is easy to analyse responses and unearth insights that can progress the process. The weighting of each element of the data-gathering approach is important too, as this ensures that brand priorities are reflected in the outcome. 

Our working group assimilated and assessed the information gathered, combining instinct and emotion-driven qualitative responses with statistics-based impression scoring. Looking at these two forms of data together, we were able to further shorten our shortlists and move on to the next step in our process. 


Internet investigations to avoid possible conflicts 

Modern-day brand building also requires an understanding of how a name will translate online. Cultural norms and taboos can get lost in translation so running a series of checks is a must to avoid an unintended faux pas that could alienate or frustrate potential users.  

Checking domain name availability, word safety (that is, could it be deemed offensive in a particular geographical region), alternate spellings and similar-sounding enterprises are all important steps. Given that other organisations in several fields use the name ‘Hyphen’, we also conducted a further test to ensure there was no overlap with any other entity. 

These investigations ensured that we were fully aware of any potential conflicts and helped inform our decision-making process. This is also why it is good to have a shortlist and not just narrow things down to one option at this point; identifying any issues at this stage avoids investing in marketing and brand-building that then needs to be overhauled at great expense. 


After conducting the research, analysing the results, shortlisting and surveying the online marketplace, it’s time to make the final decisions. Over the course of the three-month-long process, we gave ourselves time to sit with the names and see what feelings they evoked and how those sentiments evolved. Some of the external viewpoints we collected shocked us but the insights into users’ perspectives were key and changed the way we looked at some of our options. 

Naming something is a subjective decision rooted in emotion but our comprehensive process added an element of objectivity through its research-orientated work. We now have a collection of names for our upcoming products – and proof our brand-building blueprint works. 

We would like to thank the dozens of experts and consultants who kindly volunteered their time and opinions to help us – and we hope we can help them lead more efficient engagements with our new digital tools. Keep your eyes peeled on our website and LinkedIn account for more details about our enhanced service offering.