What’s In A Name? Involve Customers To Bring Value To Clever Naming Decisions

Names can be both fun and meaningful – both memorable and powerful. For organizations, naming decisions can represent an opportunity to engage with their audiences and to welcome them into the fold – to make them a part of their teams.

Organizations that create naming opportunities for their customers and prospective customers understand the importance of finding ways to give their audience a sense of ownership in the organization and its decisions. Bringing the public into a naming decision sometimes can seem fraught and risky, but when organizations manage the process correctly the benefits are wide-ranging. At Fryed Egg Productions, we have guided our clients through naming opportunities and understand the keys to making them work.

Here are some important considerations.

What to name?

Organizations that bring the public into the naming process should choose a naming opportunity strategically – how does the naming opportunity raise awareness of a strategic priority and how will it strengthen your brand? Naming opportunities that rely on audience input can be applied to an array of subjects, but the more lighthearted and fun the better. Your target audience will be drawn to naming contests that make them smile or laugh and that give them a chance to be clever. For instance, businesses, such as sports teams, often hold naming contests or votes for their mascots. These inevitably appeal to people of all ages. Naming opportunities are not limited to things we normally give names. For instance, Plant City’s Cart-To-Curb program, an automated waste collection program introduced last year, has held a naming contest that gives residents the opportunity to give creative nicknames to the city’s new trash collection vehicles. The contest has drawn widespread interest and helped strengthen recognition and understanding of Cart-To-Curb.

A smooth, focused and public process

Any public-involved naming process should be part of an integrated marketing plan. It can’t be simply its own thing – it needs to be aligned with other promotional efforts. Similarly, you will want to use a variety of communications tools to promote the naming, such as media relations, advertising and social media, to strengthen your brand as you attract participants to the process. The outreach should encourage participation and cast a wide net, but you also can provide guidelines to participants to ensure that you receive entries that align with your preferences for the name. In some cases, in fact, brands will give the public a specific set of choices for them to cast a vote for. Appealing, creative prizes will help to attract entries, as will other incentives for participating. Your audience should have straightforward, simple ways of submitting their name or their vote for a name – if there is confusion or too much time attached to submitting an entry, people will simply abandon it.

Celebrating the winners

Everyone who brings the public into the naming process must consider how much control they are willing to surrender for the name. Will you allow the public to choose a name by popular vote? Or will you manage it more closely and make the decision a subjective one? When you have selected your winning name or names, they should be celebrated. Make a big announcement, use all of the channels at your disposal to promote the news. An event or other occasion where the winning entries can be announced in grand style will build excitement around the winners and your brand. If the winning names are the result of participant entries, create a way for the winning participants to remain associated in some way with the winning names. Naming, after all, represents a way for you to put your audience in the spotlight and a powerful way to strengthen your engagement with them.

Naming events and activities require strategy and savvy. Fryed Egg Productions can help you determine how a naming opportunity for your audience might fit into your broader marketing plans. If you want to learn more about how Fryed Egg can help, contact us at (813) 478-0494 or YFry@FryedEgg.com or visit www.FryedEgg.com.