What’s in a Name? (And Our Process)


Read Time: 5 Min

Copper Yards. The Calo. Kairoi Residential. Plexus.
^ Just to brag about a few AOR-developed client names… Naming is a key part of our branding process, and one we take seriously, have loads of fun with, and are very proud of.

Besides the logo, design, and colors, the name is the first aspect of a business story audiences and potential customers take in when they look at a website, building, or any marketing materials.

First impressions are vital to developing loyalty and customer buy-in. If you only have time to catch them with one or two words, the name of your property, event space, building, or otherwise, says so much about who you are and your story.

And that’s what you want them to take away, right? The aspects of who you are that should matter to them, and what parts of your story position you as the right choice above competitors.

It’s not just what the name means either. It’s about how it sounds, the energy it exudes, and the way it looks in a logo. Branding, messaging, and design — they all come to a head when it comes time to name. So let’s talk about how we get from the drawing board to the final product.


Discovering What Makes You Tick

When you sit in a discovery session with us, it’s meant to be fun. Beyond chatting about your business needs, we get to know you, develop deeper relationships, and really try to understand your vision.

As we chat and get to know you, we start to pick up on the things that make you…you. We need to understand the entire picture in order to perfectly encapsulate who you are in the name and to create a brand identity that will resonate with residents, tourists, and customers, as well as have a lasting impact on the future of the business or city.

If we are naming a complex, district, or building, we usually like to do an in-person site visit. Actually seeing the space will allow us to understand how those utilizing the space should feel.

While we didn’t have the opportunity to do a proper walk-through for our work on Copper Yards (thanks COVID) we took many walk-throughs on Google Maps and went to the ends of the internet researching the area (from the immediate area, to all of SLC, even deep into Utah herself) — all in an effort to fully understand what makes the district area what it is.


Asking for Client Input

After we start to draw our own conclusions based on the discovery and site visits, we ask for your input. This may occur during the discovery session, or we’ll work in an additional session to really nail the name categories.

Word Banking

We typically ask our clients for input on things like tone, X-factor, and purpose. We want to know what your perspective of your organization, space, building, or property is. What sets it apart? Who is going to utilize the space? What words would you use to describe it?

Name Categories

We then provide prompts for our clients to help us narrow our approach. Are we looking for a playful name? Do we want to come up with a made-up word? Should the name have a historical reference? Do we want to utilize an acronym? Finding this out helps us be more efficient when it comes time to research.

Naming Categories

Research, Research, Research, Write, Write, Write

This is the time our heads go down and we work. Depending on who you talk to, there are different strategies that go into this process. But in all honesty, our Google documents usually look like one giant, beautiful, well-researched, brain dump. In fact, for every name that gets used, there are often 100 or more left on the cutting room floor.

We usually spend many hours on Wikipedia, city archives, and doing competitor research. It’s our goal to find a name that has a story, stands out amongst the crowd, and perfectly encompasses what the space or property wants to say about itself or its residents and visitors.

When it came time to name The Calo, a Greystar Apartment Property in Sandy, Utah, we went through three or four rounds of naming. We spent hours researching, and hours more writing down names. Two things we knew for sure about this property: it was located near the beautiful nature of Utah, and it wanted to encourage connection and community spirit amongst its residents. Ultimately we landed on The Calo (a shortened version of Calochortus nuttallii, the scientific name for the state flower the Sego Lily). The name speaks to the nature surrounding the property and the community growth the complex sought to encourage amongst its residents.

So, What’s in a Name?

Heart. Purpose. Mission. Story. Passion.

A name is much more than a name. So next time you are getting ready to name and brand your property, building, event space, or otherwise, think about what you want your audience’s first impression to be.

We can help! At AOR, we LOVE naming. It’s a time for us to get up close and personal with a property, to really learn who our client is and what the space or building will do for the community.

The process can be daunting and overwhelming, but take a look at some of our previous work to see what a difference it made for our clients.

And as always, take a look at our website to learn more about the other solutions we offer and contact us with any questions!

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