IDEO U

How should we decide on a name for our new organization?

Portfolio Director Meija Jacobs weighs in on how organizations should decide on a name. 

Meija's key points for naming an organization:

  • A name needs to be telegraphic, memorable, sticky.
  • A name needs to be evocative.
  • It takes time for names to imbue meaning. Eventual meaning will grow based on where the name appears and how the organization uses the name in different contexts. 

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More tips from Meija on naming and name types:

The 3 types of names for organizations:

  • Descriptive: Clear and easy to remember, these names define what the brand is. Examples of companies with descriptive names are: Post-it, Ziploc, and Save the Whales. 
  • Suggestive: Hint at the intent behind the name but doesn't paint a clear picture of exactly what the organization does. Examples of companies with suggestive names are: Energizer, LEAF electric car, and Kiva. 
  • Fanciful: Takes investment of time and marketing dollars to build understanding of what these companies stand for. Examples of companies with fanciful names are: Apple and Virgin.

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