Several months ago, one of my customers asked me to design a new tea for their discerning customers to enjoy during the holidays.  They wanted something exciting to add to their extensive menu and set them apart from the nearby coffee houses and restaurants.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seatbelt67/502255276/ As I sat to brainstorm ideas with my mad-chemist tea broker, we collaborated on desired flavors, interesting ingredients, and ideas for a tea that would perfectly represent the cool and joyous holiday months, while easily transitioning into a year-round option.

We tasted, re-tasted, and tweaked to get just the right flavor profile and came up with the perfect holiday tea – a combination of apples, almonds, cinnamon, orange peels, and spices added to an Indian black tea.  We were ready to present this lovely, warm, and flavorful tea to my customer and to the world.  I was thrilled to have something that I could personally put my stamp of approval on and enjoy drinking with fellow tea lovers.  But before it was presented to the world, it needed a name.  A name?  Yes, a name!  Ahhhhh, a name. 

When Naja Tea first started with a humble selection of 12 teas, I waited literally until the last moment, after months of designing our customized canisters, to send the tea names to my graphic designer for our canister labels.  I knew from working with successful brands in the past that a name can make or break even the best of products, so I took my sweet time to make sure their names expressed the essence of each tea in a unique and whimsical way.  With Naja Tea, whenever we would name a new tea, I would pull my team together and we’d taste tea for hours, throwing out words, feelings, and emotions that each tea inspired.  We laughed a lot and wanted to cry at times, but always enjoyed the sometimes tedious process.

There’s one rule for naming a newly released Naja Tea tea – it must make an impact.  Our most commented on and popularly named tea, Wicked Plum, was the brainchild of a Marketing intern, Shealyn Johnson, who blurted out the name as if the ghost of Gilles de la Tourette had overcome her spirit in that very moment.  You just never know when inspiration will hit.

So when it came time to name this customer-inspired tea, I decided to do something a little different.  I took it to the streets.  I rallied ten tea testers, gave them the tea to sample, asked them to share their thoughts on its look and taste, and then give suggestions on names.

However, as life would have it, it was not my new market research process that named my new tea.  In a last-minute, desperate attempt to get a name that inspired, I asked a creative friend if she could help me think of a name for this oh-so-delicious new tea.  “I’d love to!,” she responded.  “Just give me the night to mull it over.” 

MULL IT OVER!!!  THAT’S IT!

I knew immediately we had found our name.  Not in a boardroom brainstorming session or with a group brought together for a common purpose and an end goal in mind, but by simply listening.

My customer was happy.  Their customers enjoy the tea.  And we all love the name.

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