Transforming Branding Projects with Intelligent Legal Technology

Nadaline Webster,

Legal tech is transforming the way that the legal industry can provide services but there are positive trickle down effects for those outside the industry. Where the practice of law overlaps with commercial functions within companies, there is room to integrate efficiencies at every stage of those functions.

How are brands born?

The naming process is going to look a little different in each branding agency or marketing department. Processes will evolve depending on the needs and goals of the company, the industry or region in which they operate and the in-house team talent and budgets. However, a typical process will often contain similar components:

The brief:

Every creative project starts with a brief - an outline for the scope and goals of the project. These will either be produced in house by the marketing team and developed from there, sent out to a branding agency to kickstart the project or the entire project will be outsourced to an agency who will create the brief and have it approved.

The research:

The basic brief will then have aspects researched to fill out the details and provide a base for understanding the needs and goals of the project.


A team is then gathered together to brainstorm ideas. This might be entirely in-house, have additional partners or freelancers or again it may be entirely outsourced.

Filtering & feedback:

All the ideas from the brainstorming session are recorded and in the first instance, these are usually organised or grouped together in some way. This can be a very big list so spreadsheets are often employed to sort them into some kind of manageable order. A smaller team will usually go through the list and cut out any non-starter ideas (which may also be saved for later!) resulting in a much smaller list.


This smaller list can be filtered down in many ways. Sometimes the entire short list is sent to legal for preliminary trademark clearance - ‘short list’ can sometimes be a misnomer in this context. In other cases, further filtering methods will be employed and a shorter ‘short list’ will eventually find its way to in-house or outside counsel.

How long does a naming process typically take?

How long the registration process varies from region to region and you can find details on each in our updated ebook ‘International Trademark Processing Times 2018’. But that typically comes at the very end of the naming process and not the start. What is less well understood is how long the naming process takes prior to applying for a trademark registration.

The Top Hat agency analysed projects and found that the average branding process from start to completion was around 3.76 months which, while it may not be accurate for every company or industry, provides some sort of guideline as to likely time frames. It is somewhat more difficult to find any estimate on how long the clearance process takes within that.

Arq, a media company, shared the process that they used to name their company. They found that the brainstorming session resulted in a huge list of contenders which were processed into 14 separate categories. They then filtered down their lists to 50 favourite names and then picked 25 final options to share for feedback (and presumably clearance). It is difficult to ascertain just how long that filtering process might take but for a list containing 50 names requiring clearance, you are certainly talking in terms of days if not weeks depending on the parameters required. Brands that are intended for use in a number of regions may add months to the process schedule.

So where can you save time and creative effort?

The brainstorming session will produce a substantial quantity of names, a fair percentage of which are undoubtedly descriptive, generic or in conflict with existing brands. Each of the names discovered or created in the brainstorming session is going to consume more time in the next steps - processing the names into some kind of organised format and then considering each in a filtering process. This is repeated up until the moment of clearance.

Newer legal technology tools will allow your marketing team or branding agency to receive instant feedback on exact matches, even across more than 1 region, for free. Getting that instant feedback as you are brainstorming helps to eliminate potential names for which there is an existing identical conflict. It’s also educational in the sense that as you are going through the brainstorming session, the entire team is getting a feel for what kind of brands and messaging are already saturating the marketplace and guiding the creativity along previously unexplored lines - brainstorming and research in one!

Like any creative process, a naming project is an intense one that requires effort, skill and imagination. It’s going to be time consuming and painstaking regardless of what tools you use to help you…but there are worthwhile tools out there that can save time, budget and much creative effort. You can start exploring options, for FREE, today!

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