Product Development – The Name Game

Step 1:

Determine whom you are talking to.

  • Who is your target market, what is their job title?
  • What do they do all day?
  • What do they need to do & how do you help them?

Step 2:

Host a quick brainstorming session.

  • The focus here is on generating the most names (good and bad) as possible.
  • Don’t worry about how stupid a name sounds, it might just trigger somebody else to come up with THE name — it happens all the time.

Vote on the names to boil the list down to something manageable (not more than 18-21 names).

  • Everybody gets between 3 and 6 votes (depending on the number of people voting — for example, 7 people get 3 votes each)

Next, give people a sound to make, like “Ding,” when selecting a name.

  • Everyone making the same “sound” helps to take egos out of play and levels the playing field.  Everyone’s vote counts.

Each ding gets selected to the final group

  • After this step, end your meeting.  The facilitator takes all the “Dings,” and proceeds to step 3.

Step 3:

  • Instructions for the facilitator…

Type all of the names into the computer.

Use the same font and size for all of them — if possible, use the same font you’ve used for other products or one you plan to use for the final product

Put no more than 3 names on a sheet of paper.  Be sure to space them equally.

Cut the sheets of paper into 3 equal spaces, so each name has the same amount of white space around it (You can also have the participants cut them up, but provide dotted lines for cutting).

Step 4

  • Print out the following Game Rules, and distribute to your naming team with the names.

1.  Here is a list of the names we generated at the business-naming meeting on (date). Please play the Name Game by the following rules in order to get the best name.

2.  Please cut the names up

3.  Put them in order from favorite to least favorite

4.  Hang ALL of them — even the ones you don’t like — somewhere on your walls

5.  Look at them every day

6.  Notice which names pop out at you

  • Remember that people will probably see more than hear the name

7.  Adjust the list according to what pops that day

  • Remember that this is a game of first impressions — please go by your first impression each day

8.  Make a mark on the back of the top 1 to 3 names each day

  • Do NOT write on the front of the playing piece

9.  Next week, bring your top three vote nominees (in order) to the meeting

Step 5

At the meeting put everybody’s top three names on a wall in priority. Put each person’s votes in a different column.

On a white board or sheet of paper, write down all of the #1 vote nominees, with the number of first-place votes each name got.

In a separate column write down the all of the #2 vote nominees, with the number of second-place votes each name got.

In a third column, write down all of the #3 vote nominees, with the number of third-place votes each name got.

Assign 3 points for a first-place vote, 2 points for a second-place vote, 1 point for a third-place vote.

Tally up the points.

Write the top two or three names in a separate space on the board or sheet of paper.

Ask everyone to tell you (go around the room, one at a time) what positive emotions each name conjures up for them (there are no wrong answers).

  • As facilitator, sit back and draw this commentary from everyone.  Take notes. – You’ll want use these associations, pictures, and emotions to promote your product

Next, ask everyone in the room to tell you what they picture when they think of that name

Then ask everyone in the room to tell you any negative associations they might have to any of the final names.

  • As facilitator, sit back and draw this commentary from everyone.  You’ll want to Take notes — You’ll want use these associations, pictures, and emotions to promote your product

Do a name search on the top 2 or 3 names.

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