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Made to Order Chapter Ten: The Name Game

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It was back to the workshop this month for Omer Onder, owner of Springfield Diner, as the nearly 16-month-old eatery faced a name change.

In branding agency Longitude’s upstairs office at Walnut Street and Jefferson Avenue, Onder was taking notes and brainstorming during a two-hour naming workshop.

The objective is to determine a new moniker for the restaurant.

“We try to come out with one to three good options, just to sleep on and research further and think about,” said Dustin Myers, co-owner of Longitude.

Several leading candidates emerged: Omer’s Kafe and Omer’s Diner.

A third option, Klasik Diner, incorporates the Turkish word for “classic.”

Myers said the Longitude team came up with another possibility a couple days after the workshop – Yeni Türk, which means “new Turkish.”

During the naming workshop, Onder completed worksheets, including one evaluating the name. Longitude co-owner Jeremy Wells said the sheet can be good to determine what is or isn’t working.

Worksheet questions are:

• Is the first impression of the name strong?

• Does it sound or look good?

• Does it relate to the primary offering?

• Does it sound credible?

• Does it work internationally (if applicable)?

• Is it registerable or protectable?

• Is it memorable?

• Does it relate to your positioning?

Wells said the Springfield Diner name falls short on making a strong first impression and being memorable.

“We can all agree it’s not very strong,” he said. “If we can see the weak areas right now, it’s going to help us as we work through some of these.”

Onder acknowledged Springfield Diner sounds like a place that has been around for 50 years, which he added doesn’t explain the full meaning of the eatery. It also doesn’t reflect the branding position of “Turkish-inspired classic diner” that the trio recently selected.

When it comes to name brainstorming, Wells said no idea is bad, but not all of them will remain on the table.

“Certain bad ideas might spur us in a direction,” he said.

Time to change
The dry erase board was frequently scribbled on, as Wells added English and Turkish words to the list. He jotted down classic, culture, coffee, spring, cafe, happy and their corresponding Turkish translations.

Myers noted some businesses or products utilize rhyming names, such as Hobby Lobby and Slim Jim, while others, such as Jimmy John’s, use alliteration.

A person’s name can help it stand out among customers, Myers said, pointing to local classic diner examples of Gailey’s Breakfast Cafe and Casper’s chili.

Myers asked Onder what he thought about Omer’s Place. The room got quiet.

“It’s too out there,” Onder finally replied.

“Too much on you? You don’t want it to be about yourself?” Myers asked, eliciting a nod and laughter from Onder.

Myers said two good things about using Omer in the name is that it’s easy to say and can be sounded out.

“Talking with your customers, you were a big part of why they like the restaurant,” Myers reminded him. “That’s another interesting aspect of it.”

Communicating that the diner is a unique, Turkish concept is important, too, he added.

Onder eliminated some words, such as bahar, Turkish for spring, during the discussion. “It’s good in that it means spring, like Springfield,” he said. “But it’s too strong. Too manly.”

Klasik was among only a handful of Turkish words Onder showed interest in. He wants to be sure consumers can pronounce them properly.

Myers said clients sometimes need to stew on name change options. It’s a process that he and Onder said was continuing the week after the workshop.

No date has been selected for when the new name will emerge, but Myers said once chosen, it will allow the branding agency to move into design work for logos and signage.


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