I am using AI Dungeon to create a simulation where you pretend to be a CMO working with a consultant to name a new product. I first wrote about it here. Exercise #2 was about water bottles. I thought the second attempt had too much description amd not enough dialog, so I played with the format a little, and this was the result. The product is Golf Balls, and the target audience is kids who play golf. The remainder of the post is the simulation. > are points where I enter the conversation, the rest is 99% AI.
You are the chief marketing officer of a company launching a new golf balls. Your target audience is children who are learning to golf. You have obtained the services of a marketing consultant who specializes in naming new products. She has already done extensive research on your target audience, your competitors and your product category. The consultant arrives at your office and you all enter the board room.
She begins to ask you questions.
Her first question is, “What is the #1 goal of a brand name?
> You say “We want something that the kids will ask their parents for”
The consultant nods and makes a note.
“What are you least favorite part of naming products?” you ask.
She replies “Narrowing down the options to just one product name”.
> You say “Do you have some research you can share with us?”
The consultant smiles, pats her briefcase and says “Of course”. The consultant takes out a number of magazines and lays them all out in front of you both. You quickly see that the magazines are all golfing periodicals. She begins to go through them and shows you certain ads.
“What do you notice about these ads?” she asks.
> You say “They all have men in them”
The consultant nods “That’s right. Now, do you think men are more likely to buy golfing gear than women?”
“Yes,” you reply.
She looks a you skeptically.
> You say “You think that’s wrong? We know men golf more than women, but do you think the women are buying the products for the men?”
The consultant thinks for a moment “Hmm, you might have a point. Oh look, there’s a picture of a cute little bunny in this ad! Now what do you think this ad is for?”
> You say “Well, it’s in a golfing magazine, so I think it must be golfing-related, right?”
The consultant looks very confused and says “Well of course it’s golfing related, but I just mentioned rabbits moments ago. You don’t think that the image is there because it rhymes with greens do you?
> You say “Rabbit doesn’t rhyme with “green”
The consultant continues “Well, of course not but why else would they use the image?”
The consultant asks you “What do you think of when you see the colors red and yellow?
> You say “Sunsets?”
“Ah! Excellent!” she beams at you, then picks up a red marker and draws a large red sun on the white board behind you. After drawing the sun she circles it and says “Tell me what you see here.”
> You say “Warmth”
“Good,” she says then picks up a yellow marker and draws a large yellow moon below the sun, then asks “And what do you see there?”
> You say “Calm”
She smiles and nods, then erases the sun and moon and continues “And what words describe your product?”.
You think for a moment and say “Creative”.
“Good. Now let’s try another. This is a difficult one. I’ll give you a clue, it’s a bird that rhymes with “that”.
> You say “bat?”
“No, try again.”
> You say “I can’t think of a bird that rhymes with “bat”. What am I missing?”
She smiles and says “What letter does “that” start with?”
> You say “T”
As soon as you say this the consultant draws a large yellow “T” in the middle of her white board and says “Look what I’ve found!”
> You say “What is it?”
“The letter “T”, what does it remind you of?” She draws an incomplete circle around the bottom of the “T” and asks again “What does this remind you of?
> You say “A golf tee?”
The consultant looks incredibly confused for a moment, then laughs and says “I swear that you’re reading my mind!”
> You say “You think our brand name should start with the letter T?”
“What do you think?” You never know if she’s testing you or really asking you. It’s part of the fun of working with her.
> You say “I think you might be onto something”
The consultant draws another “T” next to the first one and says “Let’s try it. What birds begin with T?”
> You say “Why birds?”
“Because everyone loves birds!” she says brightly. Then draws a three bird figures, each next to a letter of the alphabet, then says “Try another one, What insects begin with T?”
> You say “Termites”
The consultant draws an angular termite next to the “T” and says “This feels right doesn’t it?”
> You say “You think our golf balls aimed at kids should be called “Termite balls”?”
“It’s fun, it’s clever, and everyone knows what termites are but nobody loves them. It’s perfect.” You look at the cartoon bug on the board and aren’t sure what to think. Do you like it? What do your customers like? It’s hard to know for sure.
> You say “Do you have any research on how termites or bugs will appeal to kids playing golf?”
“Not yet. But I will soon,” says the consultant, and in large letters at the top of the board, she writes “BUGS”, then explains that each letter represents a different kind of research or testing. Acronyms and initialisms.
> You say “What does BUGS stand for?”
The consultant explains that it stands for “Best Uses of Great Science”.
She draws a large green locust on the board to represent B, then asks you to help her come up with the rest.
> You say “Wait. How are you thinking we will use BUGS with the termite balls?”
The consultant explains that she’s just using BUGS to organize her research, but since you asked she will go ahead and tell you the different kinds of research in the acronym.
B stands for Ball tests.
U stands for User Experience.
G stands for Image Tests.
S stands for Stakeholder Feedback.
> You say “How do you get “Image Test” from the letter “G”?”
The consultant explains that the “G” in BUGS doesn’t really stand for “G”. It really stands for a word that researchers shouldn’t say because it will distract them.
> You say “Okay fine. Have you given any thought to tag lines?”
The consultant draws a circle to represent each kind of test or research and then asks you for ideas that will fit into each one. Name alternatives — Consider industry jargon, secret code, or nonsense words.
> You say “Oh. Are you not happy with Termite?”
The consultant mentions that some words are easier to trademark than others. You and the consultant make a list of twelve potential names.
> You say “What are the 12 names?”
Bumblebee, Ladybug, Earthworm, Dragonfly, Grasshopper, Ant, Wasp, Spider, Praying Mantis, Termite, Wolf Spider, Bark Scorpion
The consultant explains that you’ll focus on a few favorites after doing some research. “Just because your company or website is using a particular system doesn’t mean you’re obligated to like it. You’re always free to change it.”
> You say “Okay. How long will the research take?”
The consultant pulls out a large tablet and explains that each name will need to be tested in real life.
> You say “So with actual kids?”
The consultant explains that kids won’t actually be involved in the testing, but you’ll be testing each name on your actual website and seeing how users react.
> You say “Got it. Will there be tag lines with the names or just the names?”
The consultant explains that real life isn’t a textbook. There will be an image and text with each name you test. The consultant takes a step back to let you absorb everything she just said. She reminds you that users are people, not machines. Users aren’t only going to like a name because it sounds nice. They’ll like it because it makes them feel something.
> You say “What are we expecting them to feel?”
The consultant explains that it’s important to get a feel for the minds of your target market. You’re looking for how people are going to feel when they see your name, what kind of first impression you’re making.
> You say “And you think bugs will make a good impression?”
The consultant reminds you that all of the different names are names of animals, but animals that inspire specific, diverse emotions. Ants are hard workers. Dragonflies are multifaceted. Ladybugs are cheerful.
> You say “What emotion do you think we need to drive with our golf balls?”
The consultant pulls out her tablet and begins swiping through a few slides. She explains that the more you know about your product, the easier your job becomes. In this case, the product is its own animal — quite literally. Your job is to give it life. You study the images of different types of ants on the tablet. They are beautiful, exotic, little creatures. You scroll through the images, spotting a particularly fuzzy red example. “What about the fire ants?” you ask.
The consultant explains that fire ants are a southern species. They’re bigger and hairier than most other ants, so they wouldn’t be great to put on the box. She suggests the “Ghost Ant.”
> You say “I like Ghost Ant even better than Termite. Shall we go with that?”
The consultant turns her tablet around so that it’s facing you. On the screen is the image of a Termite and your sidekick, Besamo, tapping on the image of the Termite with his knobby finger. The consultant explains that it’s best to get final approval from the person the product is named after. She turns the tablet back around so she can capture your reaction when Besamo sees the name for the first time.
[Ed note: No idea where Besamo came from, but I rolled with it]
> You say “Besamo, what do you think?”
The old man’s eyes widen. He begins to slap the desk with the palms of his hands. “Yes! Yes! Ha ha ha! Yes!” he exclaims. “Perfect name for perfect little shot! We call it perfect name!”
The consultant turns the tablet back around to face her and snaps a screenshot. “Perfect,” she says. “Thank you Besamo! I’ll make sure this makes it into the report to head office. Do you have a preference for color or would you like that to be up to us?”
“Blue. It’s lucky color,” says Besamo. “Also hard to see on course sometimes.”
“Great! I’ll make sure our engineers know to include your suggestions.
> You say “Great work here today team!”
Your staff cheer and offer the consultant polite applause. The consultant gives Besamo a high five, but he misjudges the distance and almost breaks his hand on the table.
Poor Besamo. I hope he is okay. I will post more of these simulations as I refine the model.
Keep it simple,
Edward is a senior advisor at Warburg Pincus and former CMO at General Assembly and A Place For Mom. He was an executive at Expedia, a consultant at McKinsey & Company and a graduate of the Wharton School. You can follow him on twitter, or read his marketing newsletter, “Marketing BS” every Tuesday morning by signing up here.