A good name is an outward articulation of your internal strategic work. It is a first point of contact with the people you want to talk to the most. It is tireless, easy to say and remember. It can be aspirational and is always inspirational. It tells your story with colour and sound and rhythm. It is your 24/7 workhorse, used on every piece of communication you put forward and every person who goes out from your organization.

In short, it has a lot of responsibilities. It has to be:

Distinct  a good name offers a clear distinction from its competition. Being distinctive is only one element that goes into making a name memorable, but it is a required element, since if a name is not distinct from a sea of similar names it will not be memorable. It’s important, when judging distinctiveness, to always consider the name in the context of who will be using it.

Deep  a good name delivers an idea, concept or benefit. It has layers of meaning and associations that draw people in. It brings the idea of what you’re doing to life. It is rich in implications. Names with great depth never reveal all they have to offer all at once, but keep surprising you with new ideas.

Energetic  a good name is full of life and has buzz potential. It makes you lean forward and pay attention.

Human  a good name is appealing and feels comfortable right away. It exudes a sense of warmth, as opposed to names that are cold, clinical and unemotional. Try to imagine the name as a nickname you might give your child or pet.

Simple a good name is short, crisp and concise. Ideally, five to seven letters. We have limited attention spans. Less is more. It makes it easy for the essential message of the name to settle comfortably into our busy brains. It’s easy to pronounce, spell and recall.

Audibly and visually appealing a good name pleases the ear and the eye in any language. And auditory memory is more powerful than visual memory. The sound of a name is crucial. It’s two-fold – it needs to sound good and to be easily spoken by those who will use it most.

Without adverse connotations in key languages a good name has a purity about it that can’t be corrupted. This is ideal, but it’s critical to make sure that the name isn’t obviously culturally insensitive or insulting in our local or global neighbourhoods.