How to lead a name discussion

A name change is always an exciting process. Whether in small businesses, startups, or larger company contexts, how the “baby” is renamed is an emotional issue that somehow concerns everyone in the company. This makes it all the more difficult to decide on the new name — and the subsequent introduction and acceptance. In the following 3-part series, you will find suggestions as to what you can do to get all decision-makers and employees on board.


Part 2: Renaming - The Discussion


Before presenting proposed names, and in particular name changes (see Part 1: How to prepare a name change) the high requirements placed on the new name should be listed again. By the time a name has made it to this final stage, it has cleared a variety of hurdles. It was chosen from perhaps hundreds of name ideas, thoroughly checked, determined to be appropriate, and has survived preliminary discussions

The names meet high requirements

Why is this important? Stakeholders should know what is behind these proposals and perceive them as “weighty". This means they are not discarded too quickly as the discussion progresses. The aim must be to select a name from the proposals on the table. 

For the renaming presentation, it is recommended to present all the name options at once. Visualization (embedding in company design or with the product) and background story, meaning, associations, etc. to each name. An overview of all names on a slide for comparison is also helpful. During the presentation, the most important rule is:

Don't talk, just write!

At the start, point out the following: The first spontaneous thoughts that come to the listeners' minds, please just write them down first and don't speak them out loud! 


Why? Personal impressions of a name, when revealed too early, almost always lead to even the most promising names being “burned” forever. Therefore, be careful with premature, subjective statements! For this, the group must be sensitized, even if it is management. The topic can also be interested humorously, e.g. with the explanation of the "Grandmother's Cat" syndrome

Grandmother's Cat Syndrome: “This reminds me of my grandmother's cat who was run over by a car...” Even if none of the other listeners have experienced this story, the idea of a dead cat will now be in their minds. 

Of course, everyone can give their feedback on the names and to criticize. However, positive impressions should be collected first. 

Give positive feedback first!

Why is that important? People tend to look for the "mistake" in something first, because this is easier than getting excited. Those who are "forced" to find something positive think about it a second time, and often notice something they may have first overlooked. Of course, criticism is also allowed. However, if a name is rejected, a valid, objective reason should be required, such as:

  • Competitor X already has a similar name 
  • Name X means fool in Croatian, etc. 
  • Difficult to pronounce... 

Spongy statements like, "I think that's not soooo...." should not apply, as the names have already jumped over many formal hurdles. Therefore, only sound arguments and points of criticism count in order to reach a decision efficiently. If, at this point, a single clear favorite already stands out—super! If there are several favorites, a decision must be made in the next step.

=> Read next week in Part 3: How to Decide on a Name 

Looking for creative name ideas?

With your NameRobot company name generator you can find the desired name for your business.

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