Standard Life: Brand-aligned naming

Case Study


Standard Life

Type of Work

Naming system

A branded naming system for Standard Life

Like many organisations, the long-term savings and investments company had taken an ad-hoc, last-minute approach to naming its products and services.

These names weren’t helping the organisation to convey its brand – and they didn’t “fit” together in easily-identifiable portfolios. Importantly, they were sometimes unprotected, because not enough time had been built into the process to register the names and protect IP.

Our job was to create a system that would allow all new names to be more ownable – to be created in a way that communicated the brand, their category and their individual function.


As a long-term supplier to Standard Life, we were already very familiar with its brand and regulatory challenges. However, to fully understand the way that products were being named – and the reasons behind these methods – we interviewed stakeholders across the organisation.

We also began to map out categories of products and services, and to document regulatory restrictions, legal restrictions, physical restrictions (for example, the number of characters a trading board can accommodate) and cultural preferences.

Creating a framework

Standard Life needed a tool that everyone involved in new product development and marketing could use to name new things.

So we created a simple process and framework that set out:

  • When to start naming
  • What not to do
  • Who to involve
  • Which types of name to choose
  • How to create options
  • How to test options

Testing the framework

We built the framework using four examples of live projects. This helped us to test the tool as we went along, and to further simplify and refine.

At the end of the exercise, we had a working framework, and new names for a magazine, a financial product, a group-wide training initiative and an exclusive membership organisation.


New products, funds, publications, initiatives and campaigns are now named in a more cohesive and timely way.

IP lawyers now have time – and adequate options – to register external names.

And the organisation has also moved away from giving projects a working title, and then continuing to use this name internally throughout the lifetime of the product. This is helping inter-departmental communication – and is helping new recruits to understand more quickly what their colleagues are talking about.

Want to find out more about naming? You might enjoy these posts:

Things to bear in mind when you’re naming a brand
How to prepare for a brand naming brainstorm

Or check out our FAQs on brand naming.