How to name your start-up in 1-day

The game plan

Setting the stage:
• No answering calls or emails
• No stepping out for meetings
• Only use laptops or phones for name-checking
You'll Need
• All decision-makers present
• Someone with an outside perspective – especially from customer side
• Stopwatches for timing activities
• Snacks and stretch breaks
Break-up YOUr day
• Brand Exercises – 2hrs
• Name Generation – 2hrs
• Decide – 1.5hrs

Brand Exercises

These exercises provide a good framework and vocabulary for positioning the brand.
What, How, and Why
(15 minutes):
Commence with a simple exercise where participants list what the company does, how they do it, and why they do it. This exercise establishes the foundation for understanding the core aspects of the company's operations and motivations.
20-year Roadmap
(15 minutes):
Encourage participants to envision the company's trajectory over the next two decades. Discuss whether the company will focus on a single product or evolve into a parent brand with multiple product lines. This exercise helps align short-term actions with long-term goals.
Audience Ranking
(15 minutes):
Identify and prioritise different customer segments. Determine which audience the brand name is most critical for and why. This exercise ensures that the chosen name resonates with the primary target audience.
(15 minutes):
Explore the company's core values and principles. Discuss how these values shape the brand's identity and decision-making process. This exercise ensures that the chosen name aligns with the company's ethos and mission.
__15 Minute Break__
Brand Opposites
(30 minutes):
Plot the company's positioning on various spectrums such as friend vs. authority, modern vs. classic, playful vs. serious, and mass appeal vs. elite. This exercise helps define the brand's personality and differentiation strategy.
Competitive Landscape
(30 minutes):
Analyse the competitive landscape by comparing the company with its competitors on factors like brand positioning, messaging, and visual identity. This exercise provides insights into market trends and opportunities.
__1 HOUR Break__

Early Afternoon:

Name Generation

Brainstorm a variety of names and then select the best ones.
(30 minutes):
Brainstorm thematic ideas or categories that could inspire potential names. Encourage participants to think creatively and expansively, considering themes related to the company's industry, values, target audience, or product attributes.
(120 minutes):
Allocate a substantial block of time for participants to individually generate a list of potential names based on the chosen themes. Encourage free-flowing ideation and exploration, reminding participants to consider factors like memorability, relevance, and uniqueness.
__15 Minute Break__

Late Afternoon:


Narrowing down the options
Weighted Voting
(30 minutes):
Distribute blank sheets of paper to each participant and have them write down their favourite names from the generated list. Allow participants to vote multiple times, allocating a limited number of votes to each name. This process helps prioritise names based on collective preferences.
(60 minutes):
Subject the shortlisted names to rigorous evaluation against predetermined criteria, such as brand fit, availability of domain names, social handles, potential trademark conflicts, and resonance with the target audience. This step ensures that the chosen name is legally sound, strategically aligned, and market-ready.

Next steps...

Sleep on it!

Test and reflect
(1 or more days):
Emphasise the importance of taking time to reflect on the chosen name before finalising the decision. Encourage stakeholders to test the name with friends, colleagues, and potential customers, seeking feedback and validation. This additional deliberation ensures confidence and conviction in the selected name choice.

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