A Sparkling New Name for Tried-and-True Feed

Miller’s Feed Service is a fourth-generation, family-owned feed manufacturer based in Topeka, Indiana. For over 80 years, they’ve served their community and beyond with high-quality animal feed and friendly service.

A Brand Dilemma

Recently, their wholesale division increased significantly. “Doing a lot more sales through dealers has changed our overall picture,” owner Mike Miller says. This change meant that they needed to rethink how they presented their feed. 

Mike says, “Our feeds weren’t branded. When our dealers talked about our horse feed, for example, they just called it Miller’s 12% horse feed.” Without a brand, their feed’s presentation didn’t reflect its high quality.

“We’ve put a lot of time into keeping our feed quality consistent. Over the years, a lot of people have come to us because they’ve heard that they can depend on us for quality. But when our feed was sitting beside a competitor’s feed in a shiny bag, it looked like ours was just the cheap kind. We wanted to be able to catch the customer’s eye.”

The Millers also wanted to separate their brand from the name of their company, putting space between their wholesale and retail branches. But they had to decide if the benefits outweighed the costs.“Would it pay for itself or not? We talked it through and were pretty sure it would,” Mike says. 

One of the biggest challenges Rosewood and Miller’s Feed Service faced was finding a name that fit a spectrum of animals and gave their brand room to grow. “The name needed to work for dog food as well as horse and cattle feed,” states Lyndon Martin, naming director for this project. Another challenge was finding a name that hadn’t already been used in the crowded animal feed industry. 

But the crew had full confidence that the naming process would deliver. 

The Naming Process

If you would have peeked into Rosewood’s Creative Room during the naming brainstorming session, you would have seen focused faces and dreamy contemplation. You would have heard stray chuckles and rapid-fire typing. But before that happened, some of the most important parts of the process needed to take place. 

1. The first step of the naming process belonged to the client. The Millers answered a 17-point questionnaire about their business, their customers, and the naming project. This covered anything from company mission to name preferences or dislikes.

2. The naming director then reviewed the questionnaire to write a brand personality, a 3-word description of the brand, with one primary word and two supporting words. Miller’s brand personality was tried-and-true (primary), serving, and wholesome.

3. After the Millers approved their brand personality, the brainstorming sessions began. The first session involved discussing what category of names felt comfortable to them. Many of Miller’s competitors have functional names, so Rosewood encouraged them to choose other categories.

  • Functional (Often name of a person and what they do, e.g. Miller’s Feed Service
  • Experiential (The experience the consumer will have with the product, e.g. Explorer, EZ Pass)
  • Evocative (Evokes an emotion or feeling, e.g. Apple, Mighty Ox)
  • Invented (A made-up word, e.g. Snapple, Oreo)

With resources like the brand personality, competitor analysis, and themes and words to explore or avoid at everyone’s fingertips, the brainstorming began. The brainstormers employed dictionaries, thesauruses, Google images–anything that triggered ideas and names.

4. After the second brainstorming session, each person involved in the naming selected their top 10-12 names. As usual, a few rose to the top as strong candidates.

5. After a series of tests, the 3 strongest names went into a name proposal, where each name received a description of its strengths and the feelings it evokes. Then it was up to the client to make their choice.

The Millers chose Radiance. Lyndon writes, “Radiance evokes everything pure, warm, and enjoyable about rural living. Radiance also evokes the illuminative knowledge and heartwarming customer service of Miller’s Feed Service. Like the unwearied sun, Radiance implies rock-solid nutrition and peak performance day in and day out.”

Reflections on the Process 

Mike says, “If I picked just one highlight of working with Rosewood on this project, it would probably be the professional approach from the first call to the end. I got an answer to every question I had on that first call. Right away I realized that this is a company that’s going to do all they can to help us.”

“Now we have a name and logo,” Mike says. “We didn’t know where to start on that ourselves.” But beyond that, the exploration of who they are as a company was a large benefit. “Rosewood asked us a lot of questions, and this helped us figure out what’s most important and where our focus should be. The process was thorough and detailed,” Mike explained. 

“We really enjoyed working with different people on the naming and branding projects. We enjoyed the whole process. We’re definitely well-pleased,” Mike says. 

“Rosewood asked us a lot of questions, and this helped us figure out what’s most important and where our focus should be.”

Lyndon’s personal interest in animals gave him an extra connection to this project. On top of that, he appreciated the expertise that the people from Miller’s demonstrated. “I found it interesting to work with them. They really knew their feed brands and feed history. They saved us a lot of legwork upfront by screening names they knew other feed companies had used.” 

But the biggest highlight was the satisfaction of a strong name. “I felt we were really on the same page. The name really connected with them,” Lyndon remarked. 

Want to grow? 

If you are interested in nourishing your business with holistic business strategy and marketing, please contact Rosewood to schedule a call with one of our sales reps. Our sales reps will help you decide if Rosewood Marketing is the right fit for assisting you with your business goals. Visit our website to learn more. 

About the Author Cari Hochstetler is a copywriter at Rosewood Marketing. She enjoys seeing creativity bring wonder and hope to the world. Contact Cari at carihochstetler@rosewood.us.com.