Our Brand Is... Our Brand Is Not...

This post was originally posted on Clubhaus, Block Club's blog of inspiration.

When working with businesses on building their brands, one of the most exciting (and stressful!) stages we encounter is naming. Whether it’s the name of the business itself, or names for products, features, menu items or campaigns, the naming process can be challenging.

Some clients come to the table with a very short list of potential names, while others may have a sense of the feeling or tone they want their name to embody without having any vocabulary in mind. Regardless of how we start, one of the final stages of the brainstorming process is always my favorite: the “is/is not” list.

The way it works is simple. We create a two-column chart with an “Is” column and an “Is Not” column, and guide the client through the process of identifying keywords to describe their brand (”Our brand is…”) and similar-but-not-quite-right words that do not describe their brand (”Our brand is not…”). Words should not necessarily negate each other, rather the “Is Not” column should modify the “Is” column. For example: 

OUR BRAND…

  • is sophisticated, is not stuffy
  • is quirky, is not wacky
  • is affordable, is not cheap

An “is/is not” list is a great way to help hone in on the specifics of a project’s defining element (i.e. name, mission statement, branding, messaging, etc.) and separate out the important nuances in the potential final product. It also begins the process of creating brand values, key attributes and other brand characteristics along the way.

This post was originally posted on Clubhaus, Block Club's blog of inspiration.