What’s in a name?

Have you had your morning brew yet? My morning routine always involves a trip to Starbucks (there are about 5 within 2 minutes of my office!) for a tall bold, but I might be switching to a Blonde in the near future. Why the switch? Well, if I manage to win the Starbucks Name Your Blend  contest, I’ll have no choice but to order my bespoke brew!

The premise: Canadians drink twice as much Blonde roast coffee from Starbucks than Americans. There’s just something about the milder taste that goes perfectly with milk and sugar that speaks to Canadians. Because of this, Starbucks is asking Canadians to submit a uniquely Canadian name for the Blonde.

All you have to do is visit www.starbucks.ca/blonde to enter. Easy peasy. Starbucks will shortlist three finalists and the public will choose the grand prize winner via a public vote beginning Feburary 18. The prizes (beyond the awesome fact that you’ll have named a Starbucks coffee) are wicked: a trip for two to meet a friend(s) for coffee at a Starbucks location anywhere in Canada as well as a $500 CAD Starbucks eGift card and $400 spending money. Runners-up will each receive coffee for a year in the form of a $1,000 Starbucks eGift card.

If you don’t know where to start – naming a nation-wide coffee blends is a daunting task! – I can help. I was lucky enough to chat with Toronto-based naming expert Candace Alper of Name Your Tune last week about key tips for naming – be it a baby, business or brew.

Here’s Candace’s advice, paraphrased.

What makes for a good name?

A good name, according to Candace, is “simple, easy to say and looks nice when written”. A good name should also resonate and be meaningful – all good names have a story behind them.

Are there any important things to consider?

Think about the experience of going to Starbucks: you might read some signage, you tell your order to the barista, the barista yells it out to another barista, then they speak your order back to you when it’s complete. The Starbucks experience is all about being able to decide what you want and say it with confidence.

Candace stressed that, since Canada is a multicultural country, you want to pick a name that is easily read and pronounced. It should be accessible for everyone.

Give me inspiration!

The language used at Starbucks tends to become part of your vocabulary in the same way going to Starbucks becomes part of your routine or lifestyle. Candace shared the inspiration behind the Veranda roast (Blonde) and Pike Place with me and suddenly her first point made a lot of sense – the story behind the name really matters.

For example, the Veranda blend was named for the region in Latin America where the beans for the blend are harvested. The area is scattered with verandas and locals love to hang out on them, sipping coffee. Another fan favourite, Pike Place, was named for the first Starbucks market. I don’t know about you, but hearing those stories really made me feel more in-tune with the brand and with my coffee choice.

Remember to visit www.starbucks.ca/blonde to enter your suggestion. Not sure if you have the right name yet? Do as Candace suggests and “let it brew” – but make sure to enter before February 10 at midnight!

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