Haven't had time to write lately as I've been doing contract work for various branding agencies. Very hard to find time for personal projects of any kind when doing agency work. If you've worked in branding or advertising then you know the dilemma – challenges to be met, no set hours, and every deadline is yesterday. Thrills, chills & spills.
One of the firms I've been working for specializes in naming, which was a first for me. I was just doing UI work there but the elite level of their processes was such that I learned a great deal about naming simply by hanging around. I've often helped my clients with simple branding ideas and even naming from time to time, but after a stint at this shop I wonder if I'll ever again have the balls to help a client come up with a name for their business.
A top agency's process for naming a company or product is exacting and requires supreme cool under the fire of deadline. You have to take a project through brainstorming, editing, copywriting, legal scrutiny, edits of the concepts that survive the eyes of your lawyers, and client presentations – all in a narrow timeframe. And after all of that, if you are skillful enough to have achieved harmony with the client, you hope to god that after the product launches that your research and calculations were right and that the public responds to the new (or rebranded) widget as positively as you hoped they would.
It was very impressive to see the efficiency with which the teams worked together to conjure up this marketing magic in an environment where marketing is scarcely ever discussed.
I'm still obsessed with the challenge of how to help smaller clients with this service. Agencies who service large corporations have no problem budgeting for the exhaustive legal and creative work required to develop identity and ensure that the client won't have to worry about possible suits from trademark infringement.
But small businesses need help too, now more than ever in the age where high search rankings can transform the fortunes of those who are strong in their vertical and know how to optimize for it. Almost every client I've ever had has experienced some kind of problem with naming their company, a spin-off line of products or a marque. Some have trouble even defending branded search terms. The huge challenge is how to help these people with integrity while working out a budget that won't blow them away.
Affordable legal seems to be the main hurdle. I'll be looking into fees in the near future to get an idea of how to present professional-grade service for those who need it. With a decent legal resource on one side and a logo freak on the other handing creative concepts I might be able to coordinate some good work for the smaller clients.