Naming with the Right Balance of Form and Function
Nova Chemicals is a plastics and chemical company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. As part of its enterprise-wide transformation efforts to move from a commodities provider to a customer-intimate organization, the company was developing numerous ways to help it target customers’ businesses. One of these innovations was a tool that polyethylene converters could use to predict the properties—as well as economic outcomes—of different combinations of resins. This technology would be highly valuable to customers, as it would enable them to cost-effectively experiment with several different grades in order to create the optimal polyethylene product for particular applications. The challenge they asked us to address was to develop a name for the tool that satisfied a set of pre-determined criteria and effectively communicated a highly technical offering.
The FullSurge team began by immersing themselves in the tool, how it was used, and its application to customers’ businesses. Internal and external interviews were conducted to gain key perspectives on both the utility of the tool, as well as the higher-order benefit it would provide. We also scanned the competition for similar tools to gain insights on potential differentiators, as well as names and words to avoid. As we synthesized these learnings, we developed a positioning strategy and tool-specific criteria to guide name development. Key among the criteria was that the new name be “on brand” relative to a new master brand strategy the client had adopted. This information, as well as a recommend naming territory, was discussed with the client team to ensure early alignment before creative development began.
Based on enthusiastic approval of the positioning strategy and naming criteria, we began creative development of a long list of name candidates. We conducted “knock-out” searches of this list and narrowed it to a manageable number to discuss with the client. After receiving early feedback, a second round of name candidates was developed, presented, and discussed. Five names were eventually selected to take into a more exhaustive legal search for eventual trademarking purposes, as well as cultural and linguistic checks in key world languages. Throughout the process, we consistently educated the client as to what constitutes an effective name, and we helped guide them toward optimal name candidates.
Key among the criteria was that the new name be “on brand” relative to a new master brand strategy the client had adopted.
A final name was selected, and it successfully cleared both legal and cultural translation hurdles. The name has become a model example to the rest of the enterprise on how to create effective names that are “on brand,” “on strategy,” and effectively communicate complicated technologies in customer-friendly terms.