What’s in a name? A lot, if you’re trying to get your market to understand your product and buy its benefits!

Jisc work in the UK education sector, providing leading digital services and solutions for universities and colleges.

They run a range of projects around different aspects of IT and digital infrastructure requirements, as a result of which they launch a large number of products into the marketplace.

These projects and their many resulting products all need names - names which help the market’s understanding of what they do and their benefits.

It was clear that both projects and product names needed to be consistent with Jisc values guidelines at the outset. But how do you ensure brand consistency across numerous projects, in multiple sites with multiple teams operating in disparate markets and still allow the teams to retain ownership of the identity?


Our approach

One possible answer may have been to predetermine a very long list of acceptable names from which a project team could select. However, these names would not necessarily reflect the values or benefits of the project or product and would not allow the teams to exercise the input they desired in the process. This was not a credible solution.

A more robust solution was determined following a series of working sessions with the marketing team and interviews with other stakeholders to consider their objectives and constraints.


Activities Undertaken

Following this user study, we proposed the creation of a flexible naming model, using weighted scoring techniques to determine the suitability of names. This model was built, presented and subsequently tested with a small number of new projects. Minor refinements were made to the criteria weighting following the “soft launch”; a user helpsheet was created and the model was released across the organisation.

The resultant model had two parts; firstly, prospective names had to conform to a set of “yes/no” rules. Those that passed this first test were then scored in a group forum against a set of weighted criteria, which reflected the values and guidelines of Jisc. This model provided the opportunity to discuss and agree suitable names, in a structured and balanced environment. Those names passing the predetermined minimum value threshold were considered for use, subject to availability copywrite etc.


Results and Impact

The refined model was widely circulated and adopted throughout the organisation and has successfully been employed on dozens of new projects and products; it is now accepted as the preferred method for naming and is still used today. 





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