The Name Brief is the first communication that you will have with the team of Creatives who will be working with you on your branding project. And a well drafted brief is one of the four key ingredients to a successful contest. 

Here are four essential brief-writing tips that our consultants use again and again to kick off successful branding contests. 

Tip 1: Explain the brand, not the business 

If you write 

We are opening a high-end seafood restaurant in Everett, Washington.

The creatives will hear 

  • High-end = classic name
  • Everett =  local restaurant and location themes

This may - but likely will not - fit your vision.  

If you write 

We are opening a unique, hip, seafood restaurant. The decor will be minimalist. The food will be top-notch, but the ambiance will be more casual. 

The creatives will hear

  • Unique, hip = fresh, unique, and modern name
  • Minimalist decor = straightforward name 

The two short descriptions above could easily be about the same venture. However, the first focuses on business details, and the second explains a brand. The first can easily lead the process down the wrong path; the second will provide a great foundation for a successful contest. 

When writing your brief 

  • Explain the essence
  • Describe feelings 
  • Include key differentiators and benefits
  • Share foundational words and ideas

Tip Two: Focus on psychographics and behavior

Introduce your Creative team to the needs, wants, desires, and passions of the people you intend to attract. 

If you write
Women, 18 - 29, living in an urban area. 

Creatives will likely hear

  • Feminine 
  • Trendy
  • Cutesy 

If you write
Young-adult women (18 - 29) who want to feel strong and accomplished. They have leadership roles at work and an active social life.  

Creatives will hear

  • Strong
  • Avoid highly masculine sounding names 
  • Align with success and fun

As you can see, when you describe your avatar or persona instead of your target customer’s demographics, you will guide the project in a much more precise, and meaningful way. 

Tip Three: Create a Project Statement

When it comes to naming, most people have a gut understanding of where they want to end up. Brand descriptors like modern, hip, preeminent, fun are exactly what you are trying to capture in your name. 

Create a one or two sentence project statement based on these examples:

  • We need a fresh, modern name that captures one of our key ideas - connectivity, productivity, and gratitude. 
  • We need a descriptive name that captures our value proposition - we are a payment solution that is easier and more user-friendly than anything out there (PayPal?). 
  • We need a strong name that establishes us as a preeminent solution. However, we also want to stand outside from the standard industry names. 
  • We need an elegant name that immediately sounds like a high-end women’s fashion brand. 

Tip Four: Keep your brief brief

Now that you know the essentials of writing a strong brief, there is one more principle that we’d like to share: Don’t hide the key information in a long brief. 

You can share additional details with your Team of Creatives after the contest starts by using Daily Public Feedback. 

Write a short brief to kick off your contest. Then post a few sentences of Public Feedback each day. 

Here's an example 

Imagine you are, in fact, opening a Seafood restaurant in Everett. In your brief you’ve explained that your name must embody a hip, classy, minimalist restaurant - but you’re also interested in exploring some names with a local twist. 

Instead of including this information in your brief, share it with the entire community on day two of your contest by writing this Public Message -  

What is truly essential for our name is embodying a hip, classy, minimalist seafood restaurant - but we’d love to see some name ideas that explore local themes...” 

Daily Public Messages allow you to keep your brief short, focusing on the most critical information, without losing the ability to share additional details and explore further angles. 

Do you want a .com URL along with your name?  

One final thought. When creating your brief, you will make a choice related to your domain preferences: 

  • I’m not looking for a URL 
  • I want a URL but minor variations are allowed (TeslaMotors.com, GetDropbox.com)
  • I want an exact match URL (Squadhelp.com, Apple.com)

If you select either of the second two options, the Squadhelp platform will require contestants to submit a URL along with each name idea, and we will check that URL for availability. 

In this case, you will not see any URLs that are not available to register for the standard registration fee of around $15 on a site like GoDaddy. 

Option #1

Choose I’m not looking for a URL to indicate that you want to focus on outstanding names, not URL availability. 

Option #2

Choose I want a URL but minor variations are allowed to indicate that you don’t need an exact match domain, but you’d like the Creatives to find and submit a strong, relevant, and available URL with their name ideas.  

Here are some examples of minor variations 

  • Add-ons in front of the name (Sleep Mate - GetSleepMate.com)
  • Add-ons in back of a name (Stone Eagle - StoneEagleAdvisors.com) 
  • Phrases (Strive - WeAreStrive com)
  • Non-.com (Flashcast - Flashcast.io)

Option #3

Finally, choose I need an Exact Match URL, if you’re looking for a URL that directly matches your name. In this case, you’ll need to be aware of the limitations implied with this choice, and set realistic expectations. Because so many short URLs are taken, exact match URLs are very limiting, and they can prevent you from securing a great name. For example, Mint.com was acquired for equity that now has an estimated worth of almost $50,000,000. 

If you’re still not comfortable, consider our Managed Package in which one of our branding consultants will create your contest brief and manage your contest. We’re excited to work with you. 

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