To Name Something Is to Know It

You know a brand by its name

There’s a classic scene in The Simpsons where Mr. Burns loses his nuclear power plant and has to become a “regular guy.”

Standing in the grocery store aisle he stares perplexed at two identical bottles. One is labeled “ketchup” and the other is labeled “catsup.” Looking back and forth he repeats, “Ketchup… catsup. Ketchup… catsup. Ketchup… catsup.” He stutters for a moment and mumbles, “I’m in way over my head.”

The scene cuts with him being arrested by Chief Wiggum and taken to the Springfield Retirement Castle. Wiggum says, “Relax. You’ve gone off your nut. So we’re stuffing you into an old folks home.” 😂

If only Mr. Burns knew the product names!

You Know a Product By Its Name

When it comes to our brands, names are the cornerstone. To name something is to know it. To name something is to make it understandable, shareable, and brandable. The names you choose define your brand.

A name becomes a point reference — it’s like a label on a file folder in your customers’ minds.

For instance, at the grocery store you don’t deliberate over your decisions like Mr. Burns. You find your brand, and you buy it.

If you’re shopping for toothpaste, you have a brand. Maybe it’s Crest or maybe it’s Colgate, but I guarantee you don’t think about it. You go to the aisle and pick it up. The same thing happens with dozens of decisions every day.

The name, that simple label on the packaging, is integral to each and every one of your purchase decisions. You know a brand by its name. It’s how your mind identifies the product, categorizes it, and recalls it.

Every story. Every experience. Every touchpoint. A name absorbs every interaction, and becomes the container of all a brand’s meaning and experiences.

With this much riding on a name, getting it right is essential. That’s why I wrote Brand New Name. It’s a graphically-designed branding book that shows you how to name (or rename) anything.

You Gotta See It!

Brand New Name comes out on October 8th. Pre-order your copy today.

The first copies of the book arrived at my office last week. At first, I was too scared to open them. It was intimidating. I’d put more than a year of my life writing and designing this book, and the expectations were high. But finally the pull was too great. I had to look.

On Friday, I cut open the boxes… wow! I cannot wait for you to see and hold this book. It is simply stunning. I shot a short video to show off the design. I’d love to hear what you think.