Helping Clients Think Ahead

We encourage clients - and their agencies - to think ahead about future products and the brand architecture. Don't, and you risk of naming yourself into a corner.

One of the most common reasons a company is forced to embark on a messy renaming or rebranding project has to do with a lack of foresight. This is completely preventable, and as an agency, you have the chance to think ahead for your client, and in the process, make yourselves look like rockstars.

For example: carving out a truly proprietary theme can be very difficult. But trademark issues aren’t the only potential obstacles. The future is just as much of a challenge. No one has a (functioning) crystal ball. Ford certainly doesn’t. They thought they were onto something with their “Ex___” theme for the SUVs. The mid-size Explorer was first. They were sure they’d never make anything bigger than the next one – the Expedition… until they did – the Excursion. Problem is, an “excursion” is smaller than an “expedition.” And it’s not like you can just pull a name off of one product and re-assign it to another. So Poof! goes that naming theme.

The solution? Be careful of the very narrow systems – those relying on exact letters or words. Also, avoid themes that are bookended – those that have a defined biggest, fastest, etc. Themes that follow a style or motif are likely the safest – from both a trademark and future-proof standpoint.

If you want your agency to be seen as a longterm partner for your client, it’s important to think ahead and raise issues like this one. It’s even better if you’re not only raising the issues, but also providing the solutions. We don’t have a crystal ball, and we can’t help with everything, but we CAN help with naming and brand architecture, even going so far as to provide a nomenclature - a system for naming future products - so if that’s in the cards, give us a call. We promise, the rockstar status will be all yours.