The 7 Steps of Naming
I found this sidebar in Baltimore SmartCEO while waiting in my doctor's office. They apparently reprinted this from Boscobel Marketing Communications. But this looks like a good tipsheet that people could use when these issues come up. However, I think if you're in a small organization, you would certainly want to free yourself from creating the kind of volume this suggests.
1. Discovery. Gather information about the organization and its competitors and analyze target audiences. Use sources such as the organization's executive team, existing collateral/marketing material, websites, media scans, and interviews with industry leaders to develop a clear picture of the marketplace and environment.
2. Criteria. Develop a set of criteria that the name must adhere to using research from the discovery phase. This "name roadmap" will allow the team to evaluate the name on its own merits, and help remove subjectivity from the final decision.
3. Preliminary Name Candidates. Hold a brainstorming session with your naming committee and create a list of all suggested names. The "long list" usually contains between 50 and 100 potential candidates.
4. Qualified Name Candidates. Evaluate each name on the long list against the set of established criteria and conduct information legal research using the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (www.uspto.gov). Eliminate names that do not meet the criteria or are already registered for use through the USPTO. The "short list" is deliverable to the client and typically contains four to six qualified candidates.
5. Validation Screen. Conduct comprehensive research to determine which names will pass through legal approval. Testing may be done in several ways, including focus groups or in-depth phone interviews. Screen potential names through search engines, foreign language dictionaries and phone directories to identify conflicts or issues.
6. Formal Legal Research. Submit the final name candidates to a patent and trademark attorney or the organization's legal department for approval.
7. Deliverable. Present the final name candidates, rationale and recommendations. Show the candidates in a plain typeface to give an accurate representation of how the name would appear.