Name Your Blend



The names that we bestow are opportunities. Opportunities to tell a story, honour our past, make a wish for the future to share aspirations, our loves and values. To be sure (depending on how seriously you take this responsibility) this is true of a parent naming a newborn child, an entrepreneur naming a new business venture or product or a well-established company naming a new product offering.

Over the years I have seen parents turning to formal, organized focus groups and Facebook polls to seek help and guidance to choose the perfect moniker for their new baby. Starbucks is one of my favourites for coffee and for names. Many of the names that they have given to their blends and products are as full of meaning – strong and rich, just like the coffee that they brew.

The Name Your Blend Contest, marks the first time in Starbucks’ history that they are turning the naming rights over to the public. In inviting their fans and consumers to name, they send a message of trust and loyalty and it is also an invitation to be part of their history. Starbucks is looking to rename the Veranda Blend, which since it’s launch one year ago, has been the most popular of all of their brewed coffees in Canada. You can enter and find out all of the contest details at

Part of coming up with the perfect name is knowing as much as you can about it. I’ve put together some highlights about Veranda to give you the background and details that will get you started.

• Veranda is one of the first coffees Starbucks introduced as part of their Blonde brews last year
• The Blonde Brews were crafted with Canadians in mind after a survey of Canadian coffee drinkers revealed that 60% prefer a ‘lighter’ coffee, which Starbucks did not offer
• Blonde is for the coffee drinkers that think that they don’t like Starbucks, known for it’s dark and rich brews
• While Blonde has been well received globally, in Canada, it is more popular that anywhere else
• Canadians drink more than twice as much Blonde as Americans
• Key words Starbucks uses to describe Veranda: mellow, mild, soft, subtle

The name and the story behind the name Veranda is a good one:

“Roasting this blend of specially chosen Latin American beans for a shorter time allows the delicate nuances of soft cocoa and lightly toasted nuts to blossom. Mellow and flavourful, this coffee brews a delightfully gracious cup that’s perfect for welcoming friends. With its calm and laid-back character, this coffee pays homage to the art of porch-sitting. Named for the serene terraces decorating towns and neighbourhoods throughout the regions where these beans were grown, Veranda Blend is a gentle and inviting cup best served with a sunny day, a good friend and nothing in particular to do.”

I’ve put together some of my guiding principles and tips for choosing the perfect (and hopefully) winning name:

Fill it with meaning: In handing naming over to Canadians, Starbucks is looking for a name that is distinctly Canadian. The name should resonate with Canadians in a meaningful way. Think about landscapes, landmarks, moments, people, culture, identity and values for inspiration.

Evoke a feeling: From the way it sounds to the way that it looks, it should make you feel good. Think about how you feel when you’re enjoying your coffee – whether you’re enjoying a quiet moment alone either at home or at the café, engrossed in a book or a conversation with a friend.

Make it memorable: The winning name will be said, seen and heard millions of times daily across Canada as customers order, barristas pour and cashiers ring up coffees in Starbucks locations, grocery stores and homes. It has to be a name that people remember.

Let it brew: Don’t rush. Start a list of key words that describe the coffee, the experience, the feeling, the flavour, the moment. The words will start to tell a story.

Apply the KISS Rule – Keep it Short and Simple. As a general rule, the name should be no longer than 12 letters and no more than 2 words. It should be easy to spell and say. It should not be open to multiple ways to pronounce. You would hate for someone to want to order their favourite coffee and shy away from it because they don’t want to say it wrong.

Bragging rights could be yours. The winning name in Starbucks’ search to rename Veranda will appear on menu boards, packaging, signage and featured in ads. It will be one of the most common used words by customers and baristas across Canada every day.

Go pour yourself a favourite cup of coffee and let it be your muse.

I offer one last bit of inspiration for you as your coffee and your name is brewing. In his book Pour Your Heart Into It, Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO wrote:

“We aim for the unexpected, the offbeat, the clever. My highest aim is to have not just our advertising but the entire Starbucks experience provide human connection and personal enrichment in cherished moments, around the world, one cup at a time.”

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