Originally we started using project code names at MegaFood in order to have a certain level of confidentiality. When working on a new product from ideation to final concept, we used to keep that project close to our chest. Now, with Big T Transparency, code names aren’t just to conceal information. In fact, they make it easier when referring to a project, and they tell that project’s story quickly.
Not only can project code names illicit a laugh from the team, they have power. As I mentioned, they tell a story. They can also inspire, and are an important part of our brand and tone of voice. At MegaFood, we carefully craft our project code names. While they are for internal use only, they are as important as any marketing external language.
For example, last fall we launched eight new multivitamins with our partner Dr. Tieraona Low Dog. The project had many SKU’s (items) and moving parts, and it felt fragile. We chose code name ‘Lady Slipper’ because it is an indigenous herb to New Hampshire, it is fragile and endangered, and it is Tieraona’s favorite herb. While Lady Slipper perfectly fits the multivitamin project, because the project is on a tight deadline, sometimes we refer to it as ‘Glass Slipper’. That’s right, we’ve got code names FOR code names; that’s when you know humor is a big part of our culture here at MegaFood.
Not all project code names are for product. Other recent project code names include project ‘Busy Bee‘ for a new farm fresh partner. And, in an effort to reduce MegaFood’s carbon footprint, we are exploring a different type of packaging that resembles baby food jars, so that project is called ‘Chubby Cheeks’, after the iconic Gerber Baby! :)
MegaFood first started using code names in the year 2000, when we undertook an exciting initiative to explore the manufacturing our own ingredients (which we now do today). We partnered with the University of New Hampshire in the town of Durham in a confidential project to explore this new direction in supplement manufacturing. The endeavor was called ‘Project Durham’. The name stuck, so much in fact that when we opened our first manufacturing plant on site, we named it Durham Facility.
The value of a good project code name can’t be overstated; it’s the background story, an inside joke, good communication and company legacy.