2019, Volume 16, Issue 3

Back to the Table of Contents

Marina V. Golomidova
Ural Federal University
Ekaterinburg, Russia

Use of Product-Naming Techniques for Creating Official City Toponyms: Analysis of Perspectives

Voprosy onomastiki, 2019, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp. 162–178 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2019.16.3.037

Received 1 June 2019

Abstract: The article explores the possibilities of using product-naming techniques to create new urban place names. The author reveals the distinctive nature of this approach among other naming strategies, which consists in the pragmatic focus of the name-creation process, split in a series of successive operations with each step having its specific means and purpose, and ultimately aimed at delivering correct perception. These stages include: consideration of context-driven factors for naming the promotion object; defining the image-building effects of the name (positioning); overview of existing designations used for similar objects; identifying distinctive features of the promotion object to provide for its competitive advantages, both in terms of perception and applications; working out variants of the name, checking if these are consistent with the ongoing image-related tasks and communicative expediency; selection of final variants; perception testing by target audiences; checking the name’s legal cleanliness and compliance with linguistic standards (name evaluation). The research suggests that the use of the product-naming algorithm is not restricted to the commercial sphere but can equally apply for the creation of official city toponyms. The hypothesis builds on a marketing approach to territorial positioning, a modern conception of holistic imaging of space, and the practice of designing individual locations. By extrapolating the marketing methodology, the author evaluates the applicability of the staged approach in the creation of toponyms and explains its peculiarities for the designated realia. Best practices for the creation of a comprehensive and consistent toponymic landscape are listed, based on the activity of the toponymic commissions of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, and Perm. The paper also emphasizes the importance of analytical consideration of extra-linguistic and linguistic information collected at the prenaming stage and outlines a structure of a creative brief for place naming. Potential strategies for the evaluation of topographic objects names are discussed in the end.

Keywords: official city toponyms, toponymic design, naming, product-naming techniques in toponymy, conditional analysis, naming themes, creative part of toponymic naming, expert evaluation of new toponyms.

The study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant number 118-012-00586 “Urban Names as a Part of the Language Landscape of the City: Traditions and Prospects for Rational Development”).


Ambler, T. (1999). Prakticheskii marketing [Practical Marketing]. St Petersburg: Piter.

Balakhonskaya, L. V. (2016). Osnovnye etapy neiminga [Main Stages of Naming]. In A. D. Krivonosov (Ed.), Brending kak kommunikativnaia tekhnologiia XX veka [Branding, A Communicative Technology of the 20th Century] (pp. 158–160). St Petersburg: SPbGEU Press.

Chernysh, N. A. (2012). Struktura gorodskogo landshafta [The Structure of City Landscape]. In Ya. A. Polonsky (Ed.), Nauka i tekhnika v sovremennom mire [Science and Technology in the Modern World] (pp. 100–105). Novosibirsk: Sibirskaia assotsiatsiia konsul’tantov.

Isyanov, R. K. (2012). Kommercheskie nazvaniia kak promezhutochnye kategorii mezhdu imenami sobstvennymi i naritsatel’nymi na primere nemetskogo i russkogo iazykov [Commercial Names as Intermediate Categories between Proper and Common Nouns in the German and Russian Languages]. Vestnik Bashkirskogo universiteta, 17(2), 963–966.

Kara-Murza, E. S. (2008). Novye vremena — novye imena. Kommercheskoe imia kak ritoricheskaia i marketologicheskaia problema [New Times — New Names. Commercial Name as a Rhetorical and Marketing Problem]. In I. B. Aleksandrova, & V. V. Slavkin (Eds.), M. V. Lomonosov i sovremennye stilistika i ritorika [Mikhail Lomonosov and the Modern Stylistics and Rhetoric] (pp. 282−303). Moscow: Flinta; Nauka.

Klimova, S. V. (2013). Sotsial’nyi marketing kak sotsial’naia tekhnologiia [Social Marketing as a Social Technology]. Vestnik Saratovskogo gosudarstvennogo sotsial’no-ekonomicheskogo universiteta, 1, 84–88.

Kryukova, I. V. (2004). Reklamnoe imia: ot izobreteniia do pretsedentnosti [Name in Advertising: from Creation to Precedence] (Habilitation dissertation). Volgograd State Pedagogical University, Volgograd.

Kushch, S. P. (2003). Sravnitel’nyi analiz osnovnykh kontseptsii teorii marketinga vzaimootnoshenii [A Comparative Analysis of the Basic Concepts of the Theory of Relationship Marketing]. Vestnik Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta, 8(4), 3–25.

Novichikhina, M. E. (2004a). Kommercheskoe nazvanie, reklamnyi tekst, brend, tovarnyi znak, nomen: razgranichenie poniatii [Commercial Name, Advertising Text, Brand, Trademark, Nomen: Differentiation of Concepts]. Vestnik Voronezhskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, Ser. “Filologiia. Zhurnalistika”, 1, 165–170.

Novichikhina, M. E. (2004b). Teoreticheskie problemy issledovaniia effektivnosti kommercheskoi nominatsii [Theoretical Problems of Researching the Effectiveness of Commercial Naming] (Habilitation dissertation). Voronezh State University, Voronezh.

Romanova, T. P. (2007). Sistema sposobov slovoobrazovaniia reklamnykh sobstvennykh imen [A System of Word Formation Patterns for Commercial Proper Names]. Vestnik Samarskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, 5/2, 204–214.

Sarna, A. Ya. (2003). Pozitsionirovanie [Positioning]. In A. A. Gritsanov et al. (Eds.), Sotsiologiia. [Sociology]. Moscow: Knizhnyi dom. Retrieved from http://sociology.niv.ru/doc/encyclopedia/sociological/articles/1161/pozi....

Sokolova, T. P. (2016). Neimingovaia ekspertiza: organizatsiia i proizvodstvo [Evaluation in Product-Naming: Development and Implementation]. Moscow: Iurlitinform.