Words have work to do

It's my job to come up with the most productive ones.

At Operative Words, I put words to work as brand names, taglines, and product descriptors.

I coordinate teams of words for nomenclature systems that organize products and lines of business.

I recruit just one or two words -- the right words -- to do the heavy, heady work of expressing a brand's essence and positioning.

For twenty years, words have been my labor of love.

Before starting Operative Words, I was Global Director of Naming and Writing at Landor Associates; worked there for 13 years.

At Lexicon Branding, I named consumer products, pharmaceuticals, companies and technologies.

I've been a typesetter, copywriter, software marketer and product manager. And for a few years, I did nothing but design wine lists. That was fun.

I have an honors degree in Linguistics from UC Santa Cruz and, on occasion, lecture there and at Haas Business School.

Over the course of my verbal branding career, I've worked for over 230 companies and brought more than 160 new brand names to market.

To learn more, please read my profile on LinkedIn.

Join me. Let's put words to work.


  1. Words are my fascination and always have been. Plays on words, puns, naming things, it goes on and on for me, practically nonstop, all the time. I became truly fascinated with naming while searching for appropriate and mellow shades of beige for the house I am preparing to put on the market. Paint names are incredible -- I think my favorite so far is "Baby Elephant". Maybe not paint colors per se, but I would love to find out how to market myself and possibly make a career out of my abilities with our language and the words that work best to describe, and often name, a concept or product, or even a potential one. I am in Watsonville, trying to get back into Santa Cruz. Let me know if you are going to lecture at UCSC, I would love to attend.

    Gillian Bottrell

  2. Baby Elephant. I like that. If you want to break into naming, be prepared to start off working for very little to build your portfolio, chops and business relationships. Announce your skills and passion on the Naming Coterie and VERB forums on LinkedIn. Hound bigger branding and naming agencies for a naming internship (Landor, Interbrand, Siegel+Gale, et al). In the meantime, maybe begin by building a portfolio of imaginary brands by inventing products/positioning and naming them. A portfolio of fake brands (and paint colors) would be a productive way of applying your imagination, demonstrating your skills, and reducing the risk of hiring an unseasoned intern. My post, What's In a Namer? (in the list on the right), gives my perspective on the battery of skills a namer needs. Good luck!