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#2022EM22 - Naming and Matrioska

Fathers or mothers know how hard it is to choose a name for a child. Well, we dare say that choosing a name for a brand can be even more complex. For the simple fact that many times, this choice is made by a collegiate and not only by a couple. Reaching a consensus is the first of many challenges that turn this task, of creating a name for a brand, as one of the most ungrateful disciplines in Branding, in the words of our business partner with whom we have developed many naming projects, Sérgio Guardado.

But the challenge goes well beyond the search for a consensus and makes us relate the construction of the naming, in a metaphorical way, to the matrioska. Also known as the “russian doll,” the matrioska is characterized by the compilation of several dolls of different sizes that are placed one inside the other. The fact that a doll comes out inside of the other represents the act of birthing, when the mother gives birth to her child, and consequently, this child gives birth to another child, and on it goes. The task of creating a name for a new brand is like the matrioska, a process that takes on life as new dolls start appearing. What does this mean? When we suggest names to a client, it is like it was the first doll of the matrioska, the first layer of construction. As we like to say, the name is only the beginning of the conversation, the dialogue will come as soon as new dolls start appearing. In Branding, this indicates that the name starts taking shape and gaining its own meaning. It starts with a word written in Arial 20, or even handwritten, in a napkin. Nothing indicates the promise that the brand will bring. Little by little, through the work of Branding and communication, the name starts taking shape, starts to grow, bloom. It gains new forms and colors starting from its logo, graphic representations with its system of visual identity, gains a personality, a tone of voice, messages that start to be constructed for its communication. And, of course, most importantly, the name starts to relate to people through its products and services, gaining affinity and even intimacy, building bonds. That which was only a cold word, with every new expression of the brand, it starts to become established as something that reveals who it truly is. Little by little, the name, which in the beginning seemed a bit strange or inadequate, becomes absolutely natural and we stop thinking about the word itself, and start to understand what the brand means. The word, like the matrioska, starts to grow as the time passes and its manifestations take place.

To us, the most important thing when thinking about a brand name is to make sure that it doesn’t have any initial barriers to its development, that is, that it doesn’t have any roadblocks that limit this natural flux that we described above. In this way, the ideal is to develop a disaster check to evaluate possible problems. If it passes, believe it, the name starts to come to life and starts to bloom. We are reminded of names today that seem very natural to us because they have already passed through this process of maturity or “matrioskization,” as Apple, Gol, Itaú (black stone) or Omo (that comes from the initials of mother owl, the old owl mother). They seem natural to us, not because of their name, but for the story they have built from the name and especially for everything that goes beyond it. They are brands that left behind the literality of the name to build value and meaning. There is no way that this, in its turn, can come out ready only from the name.

May we be lighter with the judgment of names, without putting too much faith on them, because, as we have mentioned, it is only the start of the journey. Asking more from a name is requiring a deliverable that it is not capable of giving, for however good it is.


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