Hi, we’re A Hundred Monkeys.
Names are the one thing that live everywhere. They’re mental triage for all the brands, faces, places…everything we come across on a daily basis. A name is also the smallest package that’s expected to carry the most weight. We’d like names to communicate as much as possible, but imagine if our parents named us according to everything they wanted us to be (we’re not sure who’d be more disappointed).
The point is, names can’t do everything. Those that over promise often fall flat. Think of all the company names that end with “Solutions.” What kinds of solutions? Is that a guarantee? Instead of promising, a name should entice. It’s a way of getting people interested in who you are and what you do. Once they’re in, the work can speak for itself.
At the outset of the naming process, we encourage clients to think carefully about audience. Who does the name need to appeal to, and what are they looking for? What do we offer them that our competitors don’t? The answers to these questions help guide the naming process – and eventually we land on a series of names that are in line with the client’s goals and voice. We know that our clients are busy being experts at what they do – so sometimes as a third party, we can help identify their goals from the outside.
“Naming is at best 20% creative”
— Eli Altman in Don’t Call it That
As much as we love our creative process, we’ve realized that the majority of what we do isn’t coming up with the names themselves. Most of the naming process comes after the creative portion is over – it’s about getting groups of people to come to a consensus on a name. And that can be more difficult than it sounds.
We often have to put on our psychologist hats to determine where in the decision-making process certain names meet their demise. There’s group bias, familiarity bias, and plenty of other dynamics that are simply hard for us to avoid as humans, try as we might. So while we accept these as inevitable variables, our process is specifically designed to navigate these waters and achieve group alignment.
Of course, getting alignment only matters when you’ve got a solid list of names to choose from.