freelance work.. seeking for opinion

i am a freelance product designer, my client needs a design for
his playground system, but he wants me to
come out with a brand name for this system before any
designing works should start.

This project has been dragged over a month and stucked just because of
the disagreement of brand names that i have proposed to him.

Am i too careless to accept this project condition?
Is Brand name creation also a part of our work?
Any opinion?

Companies pay big dollars for branding. Here are some firms that do it:

http://www.zunpartners.com/home.html

Many advertising companies and public relations companies are also getting into this business. This is more of a graphic design/marketing function not ID. Sounds to me like you have a bad client who wants to do things on the cheap. Move on. Sounds like you will lose money on this job.

Although it may not be a skill traditionally taught, it is a service that many clients are asking for. By having a brand name and focus laid out before you begin designing you can fit a product into that “Brand Image”.

If you are creating the “Brand Image” and the initial product for that line then here is what has worked for me in this situation.

  1. Sit down with client, and members from his sales, marketing, business development teams. Brain storm possible names. Use the no suggestion is a bad suggestion. Also ask them to provide a verbal description of what this brand would portray or look like(products not logo). Write all down on a large easel using the post-it brand easel paper. Then as you fill up a page stick it to the wall and move on to the next. Continue this for as long as they are producing viable suggestions. Also to get the best response do this away from their offices, I have rented a conference room at a hotel for most. You will also contribute ideas, possibly have 5-10 written down do start the session off.

  2. Next have them take a 15-20 minute break. When they come back have them sit in different chairs so that none are sitting next to the original people. While they were gone you placed a sheet of paper labeled 1-10 in front of each chair. Now have them select the 10 that each like the most, in no specific order. You will also participate in this, if you feel yours are the strongest then choose yours.

  3. Now tally up the results by going down the lists of ideas and placing tally marks indicating how many votes are for each idea. Ask each person to give a brief explanation to their choices.

  4. Take the top five, these will be the ones that you create quick concept sketches of what the “Flag ship” playsystem for that “brand” might look like. Use the brand name, and description of what it might portray as your direction. Present these to the client at a design review when they are complete.

This method has worked well for me on 4 previous projects. It is actually derived from the approach that a large marketing and branding firm used during a joint project. (They charged 50k just to conduct the 4.5 hour session of brainstorming for possible names, but contributed no input on ideas until the clients suggested names and then the Marketing firms representative would describe what that name might portray.)

They charged 50k just to conduct the 4.5 hour session - - - Now freelancers can do this for $1000! Thanx ML!

50k baught a large prestegious firms time. Same firm developed 3 of the Half-time comercials for the last super bowl.

Frelacers bring lower fees, yes but the prestige is desired by some companies, that is why companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Cartel USA, etc. are willing to take a loss to have a Big Boy such as Stark of Lessoni design a product that is dificult and expensive manufacture.

Just know your clients. If they are only price driven then do it yourself, If they are interested in prestige find a well known firm to subcontract it out to (but maintain control as many marketing firms have designers and firms they refer work to).