Understanding the relevance of strategic naming

Why relevance matters

In today’s hyper-paced, hyper-connected, hyper-social world, the business model which made sense for your brand yesterday, might not tomorrow and the companies that are best suited to respond to and succeed in this constantly shifting landscape, are the ones that know how to stay relevant in the consumer’s mind.

A long history of naming

When Microsoft made the fairly radical decision to redefine themselves away from being a giant, enterprise-scale, business-to-business technology company to a mobile-first, cloud-first brand, positioned to compete in a whole slew of new consumer-facing categories, it was directly acknowledging and addressing relevance.

One-way to clearly communicate these changes are in the names that you use to identify the products and services you offer. Over the last fifteen years, Salt has worked with Microsoft to bring that clarity of communication and simplicity of execution to everything they do. We’ve created names for some of their leading brands across many of their business units, including Windows Vista (still the #3 used OS system in the world), Microsoft Forefront (IT security), Microsoft System Center (Anti-Virus software) and Microsoft OneNote for Office.

A different kind of name

More recently, we’ve worked with them to create names that align with their new brand focus, creating names that have evolved from market-approved, benchmarked, traditional names that spoke to technical nous and ingenuity, to names that better reflected today’s customer expectations, namely: simple, self-evident, real and able to span seamlessly across any platforms and devices.

For it’s entry into the burgeoning wearable technology field, focusing on stripping away any unnecessary communications and being as clear as possible, led us to recommend the name Microsoft Band.Similarly, for it’s entry into the highly competitive hardware market, our work centered around creating a highly memorable, but open-ended and powerful, physical image, which ultimately led them to use Microsoft Surface as the best name to define that experience.

We approached the concept of completely seamless integration, backed by industry-leading visionary gaming technology, with this same perspective and created the name Xbox One for their Xbox franchise.

Making naming relevant

Maintaining relevancy today requires brands not only to listen to and engage their customers in ways that are truly authentic and personal but also to display a willingness to re-invent themselves and their brand assets in order to be current, as consumer’s preferences will change over time. Salt creates names that have impact and helps brands stay relevant across a variety of categories.


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