Brand Architecture

Gulfstream_smAddressing the entire Gulfstream product line from its smallest jets to the largest and most luxurious, our naming architecture for Gulfstream Aerospace’s aircraft families is short, scalable and easy to understand.  A challenging and fun aspect of our architecture solution was preserving the company’s global awareness (including hip-hop name-checks of both the G4 and G6) and its investment in its existing trademarks, and facilitating the company’s new aircraft introduction plans.


Schwab_Inst_smIn a continuation of our long relationship with Charles Schwab, we revamped the naming architecture of the entire Schwab Institutional division. While less well known than its retail business, Schwab’s institutional side provides crucial services to tens of thousands of investment managers and financial advisors, accounting for billions of dollars in assets. Our work simplified the Institutional product offering, established a new product line structure, clarified and modified existing names, created new ones, and set up guidelines for future new product naming.


SanDisk_smWorking closely with Phoenix Brand Analytics, in this engagement we researched and analyzed customer needs and expectations related to future cellphone use, in particular, the need for more memory. The implications of our research for the Sandisk mobile memory product line, including naming opportunities around the “Wake Up Your Phone” initiative, was a key part of this work.


Maritime_smMaster-McNeil developed the name San Francisco Maritime Park as a more visitor-friendly nickname for The San Francisco Maritime National Park, its official name as established by Congress. Additionally, as part of our work, we recommended renaming the former National Maritime Museum Association, which supports the park through volunteers and fundraising. Our new name for this volunteer support group, also created as part of this project, is The San Francisco Maritime National Park Association; more closely mirroring the official National Park name and the name of its support group was a key objective of this work.


Cisco_smMaster-McNeil enjoyed an ongoing relationship with Cisco Systems for branding strategy management and name development for many years. We created the Cisco brand architecture and continued to work with Cisco for six years on new name development and naming strategy issues. Our architecture emphasizes and builds on the Cisco brand by allowing only descriptive naming, accommodating the company’s exponential growth during the course of our relationship. Since architecture implementation we have worked with Cisco to create hundreds of descriptive names as well as proprietary key branding elements such as the Cisco Powered Network ingredient brand. A Master-McNeil employee eventually went in-house at Cisco, further extending the architecture and naming conventions we’d established.


Holland-AmMaster-McNeil recommended Holland America’s use of the Dutch words Oost (east), Zuid (south), and dam (ship) to complement Holland America’s existing Noordam (north) and Westerdam (west) family of ship names. Additionally, we suggested Grand Vista as the name for Holland America’s new class of ships. Shortened to Vista, this class name resonates with and reinforces the N-S-E-W compass points of the four ship names.  In an extension of our work, we also recommended Holland America’s use of Prinsen (Prince’s), resulting in the additional ship name Prinsendam, also a cherished name from the company’s past.


procketlogoProcket Networks’ seasoned executives decided to put a naming architecture in place prior to releasing the first product of this young company. Their proactive vision and the naming architecture created to articulate it enabled all marketing resources to be applied in a strategic manner, rare among start-ups. Procket was quite quickly acquired by Cisco, possibly due in part to their clearly communicated product path.


Cadence_smAs part of a major corporate naming architecture project for Cadence Design Systems, Master-McNeil greatly simplified the Cadence product line by grouping products into six branded product families. We then created the names CiertoAffirmaAssuraEnvisia, and Intrica to establish a clear and cohesive family of sub-brands.


StorageTek_smFor this leader in information management and storage, Master-McNeil developed an innovative, collaborative naming architecture process. Taking advantage of StorageTek resources, we “employed” StorageTek senior marketing and branding managers as our own project staff. Together we developed naming architecture alternatives, refinements, and the naming architecture adopted. StorageTek later became part of Sun Microsystems, another of our naming and naming architecture clients.


navisionlogoNavision, a Danish-based European software company focused on integrated business solutions, wanted to clarify and articulate its use of multiple product, service, program, and event logos. Creating guidelines for third-party use was also an issue. Our recommendations establish a hierarchy that emphasizes the corporate name, while reducing the number of allowed logos and making clear distinctions among the company’s different offerings and those of third parties. Navision is now part of Microsoft, under the  Dynamics NAV entity name.


Akamai_smAkamai, a provider of outsourced e-business infrastructure services and software, wanted to establish guidelines for naming all aspects of its business — from its platform, product families, product suites, and technologies — to its partner programs and the sub-offerings within those programs. Our architecture recommendations led to the adoption of clearly articulated naming policies, including requiring the use of highly descriptive terminology rather than the many proprietary names used formerly, thus reinforcing the Akamai brand.


Intraspect_smAs a result of our work, Intraspect, a leading maker of inter-enterprise collaboration software, decided not to create and support multiple proprietary product names. To help Intraspect reach their conclusion, we created a variety of naming architectures, illustrating the pros and cons of the various approaches. Committing to this naming architecture and eliminating other naming options saved time and money as the company grew. Intraspect was acquired by Vignette, which later became part of OpenText.


Sun_sm-150x87Over several years of close collaboration, Master-McNeil created the Sun RaySun Fire, and Sun Blade brands for Sun Microsystems’ thin client enterprise appliance product line (Ray), server product line (Fire), and workstation product line (Blade), as well as architecture guidelines and names for several other Sun businesses (see Enterprise Technology section).


AMDAthlon_split_sm-150x150Master-McNeil created the name Athlon for AMD’s high-performance processor family, and Duron for the processor family optimized for value-conscious customers. Athlon, usually associated with athletic competition, suggests endurance, power, and speed, highlighting this processor family’s superior capabilities and performance. Explaining its choice of this Master-McNeil name, AMD said they “wanted to emphasize that the product represents a champion of competition.”




AMDDuron_split_sm-150x150With a leading processor design ideal for business and home users, AMD Duron processor-based systems are perfect for applications commonly used by value-conscious customers. Suggesting durability and dependability, our Duron name highlights the processor’s combination of capability, durability, and value.




AMD Opteron LogoOpteron, our name for AMD’s high-end server processor, suggests optimization and the ability to handle multiple operations. Opteron stands out from our earlier AMD names, the value-minded Duron and the powerful Athlon, by emphasizing the unique characteristics of servers, but shares with those names a family resemblance, due to the -on ending.


Sempron-150x150Sempron is our name for AMD’s family of processors for value-conscious PC users. Sempron joins our earlier Athlon (high-end) and Opteron (server) chip brand names for AMD. From the Latin semper, “always,” our name suggests the durability and performance of this chip family.





Apple_smApple Computer, as it was originally known, was Master-McNeil’s first client, and over many years we have named much of Apple Computer’s product line. Our naming for Apple includes numerous stand-alone software products, a number of proprietary technologies, the naming architecture and individual products within Apple’s former imaging product line, and the naming architectures and many products in Apple’s desktop and “portable-CPU” lines. For several years, during the years Steve Jobs was away, every product mentioned in Apple’s annual report was named by us. Some of the many names we created for Apple in these 60 projects include: Macintosh Classic, Macintosh LC, Macintosh Performa, Macintosh Pippin, AtEase, Apple FontPack, PowerBook Assistants, OneScanner, FirePrint, PhotoGrade, ColorSync, PowerLatch, TrackPad, GeoPort, and StyleWriter, among others.  Even though much has changed and many years have passed, several of our names from this era are still in use; and our Apple network of clients continues to come to us today for new names for the companies they have founded, or where they now work.


dockerslogoOur brand architecture for Levi’s Dockers, created and implemented over several years, brought order and clarity to a formerly confused, confusing, and complex product line. We remained deeply involved with Dockers over ten quarters, on retainer to provide all required names, including participation in the successful “Khakis” repositioning campaign.



Sungard_smOur brand architecture for SunGard Higher Education (SGHE) included an in-depth examination of every product and service being delivered throughout the company; development of alternative architecture scenarios; product and service re-identification; and the establishment of architecture and naming policies. A letter from our key client contact may be read in the Letters section.


Lawrence_Berkeley_smFormerly Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, in this interesting and historic project for the Laboratory Director and his management team, we recommended adding “National” to the Lab’s name, placing it on linguistic par with the United States’ other National Laboratories for the first time. Furthermore, this Lab, which does basic research and is funded largely by the US Department of Energy, was often confused with the high-security Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, largely funded by the Department of Defense. Our complete new name, the Ernest O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, clarifies the difference between the two. The Lab is known as LBNL for short.

Our work extended to using names to increase clarity and sense of place on the actual Lab site, in the hills above the University of California in Berkeley. We recommended changing the names of the most important streets within the lab from their rather generic and unhelpful names — Blackberry Way, Strawberry Lane, etc. — to the names of the many Lab’s Nobel laureates. The streets we named after the Lab’s Nobel laureates are those leading to the buildings where the Nobel Prize-winning work was actually done. This new system of vivid, memorable street names both honors these distinguished scientists, and helps employees and visitors to navigate the site.  Streets renamed according to this scheme include Lawrence Road, McMillan Road, Alvarez Road, Chamberlain Road, Segre Road, Seaborg Road, Glaser Road, Smoot Road, and Chu Road.  The historic Cyclotron Road name was retained.