What is Your Name?
What is Your Name?
  • Yoon Han Eunjung
  • 승인 2013.05.09 11:40
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Let’s think about the name Apple, Samsung or Haechandle.  Have you ever wondered who made the names?  You might think that Steve Jobs or Lee Gunhee, who is CEO of the companies, made it.  However, that’s not the case.  There is a specialized person who makes brand names in a marketing promotion team.  Do you know ‘Namist?’ They are person who makes new names of products, companies and services.  The Sookmyung Times (SMT) met namist Lee Mirim (LEE) who are mother of naming field.  The name Haechandle, and Mychew are all her works.



SMT  From 1990, ‘Brand Marketing’ became big stream in society, so every company started making their own brand and unique character.  They need to make a name specifically and professionally.  Finally,specialist called Namist was born, and you are the first generation of it. 

LEE  It was great fortune for me to work as a namist.  Early in 1990, namist was not even listed on job dictionary, so nobody knew about it.  Companies made their name by themselves, but the quality was not good.  Hence, the needs arose for namist who has professional ability to  makename.  At that time, I had worked as a copywriter for two years right after graduation from university.  One of coworker who is my alumnae from same university came up to me, and asked me “How about working as namist?”  Actually, as a copywriter, I sometimes treated naming works by chance.  It really made me interesting, and finally I felt that itis my vocation.  So, I quitted copywriter resolutely then entered a naming company.  That is my first step of whole naming life.

SMT  Can you explain the process of naming?

LEE  First, client who needs a name contacts my office.  The client can be individual or company.  They present their project proposal and about their new product which needs name.  Each client has different idea and purpose in marketing promotion, so it is very important to communicate with them carefully.  Next, we conduct market research.  This step should be carefully implemented, because knowing about the market which the product will be dealt is directly related with the product’s name.  For example, to make a new bakery brand, we should investigate all kinds of bakery market.  We should not use similar name with PARIS BAGUETTE or TOUS les JOURS of course.  By studying about the character of the market, we can make the name competitive.  After researching step, we begin naming!  This takes about two weeks.  Every namist in my company should suggest about 60 names each day; finally we have hundreds of names after two weeks.  At the same time, we must check trademark registration which is a law that regulates the reuse of already registered name.  That means, we should check all the brand names to avoid same name.  Anyway, after summarizing names into 10, we finally report to the client.  As soon as the client choose one of them, the name goes out into market world.  

SMT  When I first call you, I was impressed to hear that you often use café as a work place.  That’s because I imagined that all the namists have office-room and stay at there.

LEE  I think the best work place is where I can feel comfort.  Creation is wholly painful process.  When I worked at naming company as a staff, the office system made me very tired.  I am not a person who has powerful strength, so commuting is really hard to me. I sometimes slept even in restroom.  During those days, I decided to make my own office system in future. The atmosphere must be comfortable and there is no limit of work place. I think good idea can be born in comfortable place, so café is my best office.  “Department Stores, My Best Playground” I am a person with great curiosity.  The reason why I changed my job from copywriter to namist was also because of my curious character.  I always try to stay curious wherever I am.  I do not live such a special life like other specialists, but just daily life which I am living gives me lots of inspiration.  I am a namist who deals with the brand, so I am really interested in any kinds of items related with brand.  Department stores are my best playgrounds.  I often drop by there and look around at which new brands have been born.  That is also one way of getting ideas for me.




SMT  I heard that you worked as a copywriter in two years right after graduating, and turn to namist. What is the specific reason to change your job?

LEE  Actually, in my early days, my dream was to become copywriter.  So why I enter the college of Mass Communication is just for that.  I heard that studying mass communication is useful to be copywriter.  During university life, many of my friend entered school newspaper to be reporter,but I was not interested in it.  I just enjoy school life and sometimes participates the student movement in 1980s.  I did not have much burden of future or getting a job, because I have a specific dream to be copywriter.  After graduating, I entered a copywriter company.  It was so exciting to do what I really want to! Also, naming works were often given to me as it happens, so I had interest in naming.  I remember that many coworkers complimented my naming work, and with a accidental chance I decided to turn into naming world.  (*Copywriter is a person whose job is to write the words for advertisements. It differs from namist who makes short name)

SMT  What is the most memorable naming work for you? And is there other namist’s work you like?

LEE  Red Roof (Bbal-gan-jiboong) is my first work, so it is very meaningful to me.  Also, Haechandle is my main work.  Haechandle was very preposterous name for food at that time, because the name’s pronunciation and shape seems very strong. But that’s what I wanted!  I think the most Korean style is the most global idea.  Haechandle has Korean unique sensitivity and beauty.  I like it very much, and so pleased that many people remember the name. Do you know restaurant Top Cloud in Jongno, Seoul?  The restaurant is placed on atop of a high building, so it looks like touching cloud.  How nice it is! I think the namist who makes it, have a good sense. 

SMT  From other interview, I heard that naming work become more difficult when the client does not have any direction.  If so, how about a client who have too specific direction and order?

LEE  There was a company who wants to make their new product’s name.  So we met, and talk about the proposal and direction of the naming process.  I thought that they have a very specific plan and goal.  They consistently accented about their CEO’s preference of the product.  I began naming process regarding their order, and finally gave to them various kind of names.  But all the efforts went to vain, because the CEO just changes his taste.  From that case, I learned one thing that all the process can go to waste if the client does not value on the name.  So, I prefer to work with small and medium-sized company.  They have a strong affection for their product’s name, and have free system for communication with CEO. 

SMT  I think you are a specialist and have known your interest from early days.  That’s not easy to find specific interest and keep the engine go.  Is there any advice for someone who feels confused about their career?

LEE  Please do not obsess over a so-called‘good’ job.  Look around very carefully and try to find what makes you happy and enthusiastic.  Everyone is faced with a frustration in life, but the passion of your job will make you stand up again.  Also, take care of personal connection; friends, alumnae, professor or family.  They will be a great helper in a crucial moment, and make your life lively.  Thank you



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