Creating Names with Natural Attraction

Bird of Paradise

Every mind has its own style of expression—a leaning toward one direction or another. The language and culture of my mind reflects a lifetime curation of what it finds worth exploring and remembering, fostered by natural attraction. I hop, skip and jump from topic to topic to unearth the perfect name for your company, product or service. Agility is the key to my inspiration. The right answer could be hidden. Sometimes it is a follow-the- breadcrumbs activity, sometimes it is data extracted and culled directly from the source.

Leaning into the inspiration as it reveals solutions is what makes the naming adventure fun. I get up close and personal with all kinds of information and statistics. Your project is a journey for our hearts and minds to expand. It’s an activity I enjoy sharing. Hop on board!

Distinctive names are created through my ever-evolving, illuminated mind matched with your specific desires. Years of research and contextual experience are the foundation of my ongoing name excavation, exploration and evaluation. It’s a no-stone-unturned approach starting with a linguistic dig and sift, including metaphoric alliance, tone, and timbre.

It’s thrilling to find the nuggets, work with you to refine the gem and bring it to its highest cultural luster. The solutions are endless as we connect our hearts to create mindful, magnetic name attunement for your brand.

This ‘we’ combination directly greets your customers with a naturally engaging hello; irresistible, heliotropic compositions with structure, rhythm and melody.

Every project is new territory to explore the vast opportunity we have to positively impact our world. Sunny smiles abound with names that engage.

Join with me and your brand will come to life with true vitality—joyfully crafted through us.

Has your brand lost its flavor?

Flavor: The Science Of Our Most Neglected SenseI read this book with the intention of exploring an in-depth view of flavor. What I discovered was how sensory science applies to every area of life. It gave me a fresh perspective on what it means to develop flavorful brand solutions, solutions that satisfy a customer’s needs at every touchpoint. Reading this book will take you on an exciting journey and open your eyes to new thinking. Here are a few of my observations and how they relate to bull’s-eye brand engagement.

To boost flavor into your brand your brand needs sensory integration, a multicultural fusion that satisfies all of your customers’ desires. Add experiential value by planning themes that change the ways you and your customer perceive environmental flavor, contextually mingle assets that elevate your brand expression. Becoming a flavorist should not be limited to edibles. If you want to up your brand flavor, work on including the entire sensory landscape.

Boredom from repeated experiences dulls the senses and eliminates the desire to return. If your brand has lost its flavor, your customers and clients look elsewhere.

Whether it’s your messaging or mojo, people crave change. Small plate experiences tickle the palate and keep them coming back for more. Sometimes scaling back is actually scaling up.

Brands don’t excite or thrill when you keep presenting the same flavor experience. Exceptional brand flavor is a teaser, not an overloaded plate of sameness. You need contrasting tone and texture to avoid flavor fatigue. Character compounds with top notes, bottom notes, and differentiators to synthesize and balance subtle highlights with bold blasts of delight.

As with a symphony, it’s “note-by-note,” a term coined by the French chemist Hervé This to create culinary expression where only compounds make the dish.

This book will help you understand just how different our palates are and how you can please almost everyone if you add these science-based sensory elements into the mix.

Flavor: The Science Of Our Most Neglected Sense, by Bob Holmes

You can find it here on Amazon.

Season-to-Season Branding

Farmer's Almanac 2018While taking your seed of an idea to a full-grown expression, right timing is everything.

All you need to do is read The Old Farmer’s Almanac to understand how seasons play a vital role in seed-to-harvest nurturing. Nature knows exactly when to develop the next phase of its growth. Responding to seasons, sun, precipitation, and temperature it brings its best when the time is right. So too with a brand, you can’t rush through and expect to get ripe results. Maturing a brand takes precise seasonal planning.

As one Almanac patron shared, “My Almanac makes my life richer and my thumb greener and my decisions more thoughtful and more planned.”

Helping farmers grow healthy crops is similar to helping clients build a healthy brand. From best fishing days to forecasts by region and crop rotation, gestation and mating tables, even the moon phase. Also, using weather maps, general weather forecasts, and predicting extensive market weather patterns is essential. Timing your brand development and to-market phase launch depends a great deal on accurately utilizing these factors. Brand growth should be organically organized for optimum success. Let’s not forget the climate of the consumer. How can you best meet their needs at the right time? Are they explorers, foragers, outliers, or trend followers?

The Almanac even includes trends and cues to culture. So the next time you need to think things through with your team, or make some points with your client, read The Farmer’s Almanac. It’s an enlightening perspective well worth your time.

Quote attribution is from the current 2018 Farmer’s Almanac.
No.226 Robert B. Thomas. “New, Useful, and Entertaining Matter.”

Opening up to our true nature through organic evolution

NightlightFlowers are a beautiful example of something that has no idea how it will unfold. Each moment is an expression of its new nature. I photograph flowers often and shoot versions of them throughout their process of opening up. It’s like meeting a new friend and getting to know them one petal at a time. It’s intimate, gentle and very engaging to be with a flower and just let it show itself to you as it is. It never asks what do you think of me, it just opens naturally.

People could learn a lot from being like flowers. Trusting their own nature would take the pressure off. It would allow them to accept change and growth as a natural process without judgment or expectation.

From seed to bud to blossom and then its eventual fade, it just lives its life. How we perceive the process begins with appreciating the nowness of its beauty in every moment of transformation. If we could see ourselves from this point of view we would be much happier being who we really are.

We would not feel afraid of showing ourselves to others as we open up to what we ourselves do not know we will become. We would just be.

Graphology. Brand Signatures. Typefaces and Fonts.

Graphology. Brand Signatures. Typefaces and Fonts.I notice people’s handwriting and signatures. Whether you realize it or not, it has far reaching impact on how you and your brand are perceived.

When I first learned to write, two comments were written on my paper from my teacher that I remember to this day. One was “letters are too tight and touching,” and the other was that I was “drawing my letters.” This was before cursive. At the time I really had no idea what she meant but I did attempt to open up my letter spacing. Although she was satisfied, I had already begun to develop my own writing style.

Today I have many different writing styles depending on the task and three favorite writing instruments. They are also perfect for sketching out ideas.

The tools I prefer are a Mirado Black Warrior HB2 pencil, Black uni-ball Signo IMPACT 207 and a blue BIC Velocity 1.6. They support my different writing styles and flow perfectly. What tools you use change the art of your penmanship. These give my hand a nice grounding. Of course, no one can live without a Sharpie, but they bleed through and are not good for all writing applications. Each makes a unique statement.

When taking notes I generally use upper and lower case and the letters often run into each other as a combination of print and script. Most often I use all cap architectural handwriting. I am addicted to graph paper.

Some call your signature a John Hancock and it says a lot about your personality traits, as you will find in this article.

Here are a few more articles of interest if you want to dig deeper.

When it comes to designing a brand signature the same applies. It becomes a vital part of your brand identity. Picking the right personality for your brand can make the difference between success and failure. With so many variations to choose from, crafting the right face for your brand is not something to be rushed.

Designers have many things to consider when creating an identity but the brand signature is quite possibly the most important part with the other cast of characters in supporting roles. Whether you are writing by hand or using a computer, choose wisely and put your best face forward.

The Interior and Exterior of Brand Architecture

The Interior and Exterior of Brand Architecture

Trustworthy Branding

I’m looking at things a little differently regarding brand architecture. Brands focus a great deal on the exterior presence of a product or service to capture your attention. The interior is what you see after you decide to buy in. Then it meets or exceeds your expectation or can be quite a letdown.

We have become a very visually oriented society. Getting below the surface complexion of people and brands is now called transparency but it seems like fluff in many regards.

The general appearance of things and their character are two separate identities that need to be given individual attention. Then, when this is fine-tuned, it can become a complete iconic figure. An honest representation inside and out.

If you start with the interior amenities, the exterior takes shape with expressive style that is a complement, not a stand-alone feature.

The interior with its distinctive qualities is the heart of your brand. It is your brand character. Words that describe character offer insight as to how to build a brand from a place of integrity. Use these as a starting point to help you define your offering.

Here are a few:

  • Quality
  • Reputation
  • Specialty
  • Attribute
  • Nature
  • Constitution
  • Motivation
  • Standing
  • Ethos
  • Disposition
  • Personality
  • Spirit
  • Uniqueness
  • Manner
  • Expression
  • Emotions
  • Traits
  • Mood
  • Temperament
  • Individuality

While these are vital, characteristics reflect an even deeper interior view.

  • Essence
  • Flavor
  • Disposition
  • Tendency
  • Predisposition
  • Inclination
  • Distinction
  • Originality

The exterior is your brand complexion, reflecting the tone of your offering. It is how your brand appears at first glance, but it is only skin deep. The general aspect of your positioning will be highlighted with all the essentials showing first. Then you add coloring, hue, texture, tint, cast and style to your appearance to reach the target with genuinely true emotive appeal.

This is not limited to products or services in the brand world. These attributes can be humanitarian. If you build these into all of your social relations with loving care, and show your value as a mindful contributor, the natural outcome will be happy exchange.

You will leave a mark of excellence the world can look up to.

Long-loved Big Boy gets a Makeover.

Big Boy, before and after

I wrote a blog about brands that stand the test of time.

Big Brands that Stand the Test of Time

This mascot is no more. He has a new face.

Other brands have done the same. They change their identity to meet the modern consumer. But what about those of us who have grown up with this brand and loved it just as it was.

Here’s the new look.

Frisch’s Big Boy changes logo for first time in 40 years

Makeover transforms Big Boy into ‘buff boy’

What do you think?

Our Disposable Culture.

Truth or Consequences.

People discard a lot of what they once wanted with little or no understanding of the impact it has on our world. A deal they could not pass up, an impulse buy. Often fueled by boredom, or looking for novelty, they shop till they drop.

Branding, marketing and advertising companies are forever trying to make a consumer feel they must have this or that. Data is so targeted now that it’s likely you bought something today because you thought you wanted or needed it.

Did you really? How long will you be satisfied with your purchase? When will you tire of it and give it away? Do you know what happens to it after donation?

Do you know what resources were used to create that item and its afterlife potential? What is the real life cycle of your desire?

Former purchases end up in lots of places. I do shop second-hand and consignment stores and have noticed they are making a great effort to create a more upscale shopping environment; targeted merchandising, including having separate areas for the vintage and high-end. Many of these centers are for a good cause and help support your community. Not enough is said about the lives they have changed in their positioning. How is my purchase of a sculpture or a vase impacting our world and its people? Have I saved something? The above sculpture was purchased at Recovery Thrift which sponsors Teen Challenge. They provide housing and addiction treatment for youth, a cause I am happy to support.

Don’t get me wrong. I love good brand design, marketing and advertising. It’s my livelihood. I’m just asking you to think about what you buy and why. Transparency is a word that is thrown around a lot these days. But just how transparent are companies being? Should a label include things that might freak people out?

As in ‘this garment was made by a child who worked 18 hours today making 8 cents an hour without a meal break’? Would you still want to buy it? Fast fashion and disposable couture is fostering this kind of reality. How much petroleum or pesticides went into making it? Will it end up in a landfill?

Included are a few links that will help you scratch the surface of this topic.

I hope you will take some time to look more deeply into this and find it useful.

Every purchase is a vote for where you want our world to be. It’s a movement of choice. Ownership or loveship.

What I would like to see. Talking point-of-purchase that tells the truth about the consequences of our buying decisions that even the blind can understand. If you can’t read the label what good is it?

This week I went to buy some reading glasses that had a tiny warning label on the turnstile. It said they contained cancer-causing materials in the manufacturing of this item.

How is this possible, that reading glasses are made from cancer-causing ingredients? What about the person who made them?

We all need to pay attention and be mindful of what we buy. The fine print hides lots of shady facts. Look before you leap.

How to Craft a Naming Creative Brief, Part 2

A clear recipe makes all the difference.

A name should tell a story in a few words or less with pure, fresh ingredients.

After all my years of following creative briefs, sometimes veering off the path, just in case I can direct some new thinking, I am starting to want more specific details.

Many briefs are simply not digging deeply enough into the personality and lifestyle of the decision makers. Even the consumer description can be somewhat vague. Yes, data is important, but is it true to the potential name attributes and values you seek to accomplish? Will it meet the taste buds of your customer? Does your proposed name make them hungry or satisfied? What’s in your brand soup? Can you make it more delicious?

I am not always the presenter and privy to an insider’s view of what will work. In short, I don’t know all the ingredients. I’m called in to help without a full recipe. My improv creative skills are excellent, but if the ingredients are called out up front from the creative team chef, I have a greater chance of making it sing.

Some creative briefs are not even about the actual product or company. They are intentionally designed to cull results without the real product represented.

Often what clients ask for and what they end up choosing are completely divergent. Frequently clients choose a name that is completely uncreative and mainstream. They are in a comfort zone. The name feels like a dull kitchen knife cutting a tomato. Mush.

What is creative exploration about? Oftentimes the client has gone through a few rounds of internal creative and found they are not happy with the results.

Then they go outside to find solutions. Ask for the world, and then settle with a name as dry as the Sahara. How about going for a fertile name that breathes life into your venture?

Why hire a naming company when you are going to play it safe and choose names that are comparable to what you did not like in the first place? No nutritional value. No nourishment offered. No original recipe.

As someone who values the creative process, serving my clients with targeted names that are truly original, proffered from deep research and lots of life experience, I am starting to wonder what is really going on when people write these briefs. Busyness can cause people to fall back on a standard script. Perhaps a team of creative brief illuminators would help. Let’s call them ideation editors with a test kitchen. An outside consultant is ideal for this. They see things you may have overlooked. They have a fresh perspective.

A brief should be a recipe. A recipe that has all the ingredients for success built in. It should also fold in the personalities of the team. Like a restaurant, every ingredient adds something to the enjoyment of the experience. The owner, the chefs, the servers, the environment, the music, the amenities, the conversations, the acoustics, the parking. How does a brand name greet your customer? Does your customer smile when they see your brand name? What’s the legend you want your brand name to leave behind? Have you included future generations in your naming brief?

Let’s pretend for a moment you are the customer. Write your brief from this point of view. If you are a decision maker who likes warm weather as opposed to cold, someone who wants to ski rather than surf, someone who is a free spirit or a by-the-book thinker, you are going to influence name selections based on your personal preferences.

Names are not you, but you choose what comes to market. Path to purchase is directly influenced by your teams personality mash-up, and that includes me.

Put people on your team with different perspectives; stir in some feral thinkers. Have fun playing with your team. You already know they are smart, take off the reins. Sometimes a ‘team’ can be one person with multiple perspectives and lot of life experiences. Go with one person for the most cost efficiency and broadest results, someone with all nodes and neurons firing.

I think we need to spend more time getting to know one another before we start naming. Adding in the consumer variable, along with their likes and dislikes, will help create better names that people love.

The best brands don’t always stay on top as the market shifts and loyalty wanes. I recently read a review of ten top brands that are losing their appeal with consumers and why.

The 10 brands America can’t stand anymore

We need to remember we are people, not just consumers. In the moment emotions direct many purchase decisions. Loyalty is not guaranteed. Meeting a customer where they are goes a long way. Point of purchase needs to engage emotions. Making a genuine connection comes in many forms.

When writing a creative brief, add some humanness! Naming results will be more congruent, more engaging and more trustworthy. As a last note, give your team some time to marinate the ideas. Quick on the grill works, but it’s always better if you have prepped ahead with some tasty ingredients and a big dash of culturally authentic flavor. Add yourself into the mix. You matter, and I want to know who you are, what you love, and what you bring to the table.

With all of this emphasis on clean food, make sure your creative brief is not filled with processed prose. Fresh, clean directives result in fresh, clean results.

Salt to taste.


Loyalty? Data to Dividend. Who wins?

Loyalty programs should be called Sneaks. It would be more true to form.

Extra postResearching the landscape opened my eyes to what you are really giving and getting. How long do they share your data? Forever!

Profiling shopping habits, super-shopper data, target preference, tracking consumer habits, attractive end-aisles, milk and bread in the back, red=attention, green=fresh/health, blue=trust hormones, yellow/gold evokes hunger. They are all meant to lure you into a discount that may cost you in the long run. Way finders, coupons, specials, you name it….they want to snag your info. They don’t care about you. They care about your data!

Think before you sign up for any rewards program.

You are being invading! Time of purchase, item, credit/debit…there is no such thing as an invisible purchase. They track anything and everything they can. If you give them permission, you can count on being exploited.

Caspian is one group that offers a true-line to your rewards. (Caspian is Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbers.) There are many others. If you check it out online, you will find nothing is sacred.

If you shop counter-clockwise to clockwise it makes a difference.

I say, stop the clock. Pay cash and don’t sign up.

You are sharing your personal information with sneaky sharks. Your info is farmed out and brings nothing valuable to your table.

They count on your emotional involvement to sweep away your privacy.

Look for links that interest you and share with your family and friends.