A good product name is critical in today’s overloaded atmosphere- whether on the crowded store shelf or trying to get attention online. When you only have one second to tell customers about who you are and what you do, finding a name that telepaths a lot about a brand can do wonders. Here are some general guidelines that should go into a naming brief when working with a naming agency:
How You Are Entering the Market:
Disruptive Innovation: If you’ve got a brand new offering with no competitors, you may want to opt for a more descriptive name to clue consumers in about the product. E.g. Sushirito (Burrito style sushi) or DO (edible cookie dough).
Entering Crowded Category: However, if you are entering a crowded category, you need to let consumers know what makes you different from all the other stuff that’s out there. E.g. QuickBooks vs. FreshBooks (they are telling you they are the new, innovative product on the market with a fresh take on small business accounting).
Balancing Brand Target and Brand Personality: It is very important to make sure the name will work for both your brand’s target and your brand’s personality. If you are a serious product but targeting young consumers, you have to walk the fine line to come up with a name that doesn’t undermine your product but also doesn’t alienate your consumers, e.g. Sunnies Sunglasses by Perverse (named for both the functionality and their sunny style) or RX Bars (a name that focuses on the transparency of the product but in an interesting way). Both brands are targeting Millennials and each name tells a great story about how their brand is different in a way that connects with their target.
A Functional Vs. Emotional Name:
Another place clients need to think about is developing a functional vs. emotional name. Both approaches can be valid, but a clear choice needs to be made up front to not take the process into entirely different directions. e.g. Febreeze vs. Lysol, Secret vs. Degree, Graze vs. NatureBox, Cheerios vs. Wheaties, etc.
The Type and Length of Name:
Real Word vs. Made-Up Word: Use of real words vs. a made-up words based on parts of other words can get you to very different places. This is critical to think about upfront. e.g. Travelocity vs. Kayak. Both names tell you something about their travel benefits but in an entirely different manner.
Multiple Words vs. One-Word Names: Sometimes we are asked to do a whole lot in just one word, which is the most challenging approach. Think about how open you are to different solutions for naming – a name can’t be too long, but also being too short can leave something behind. E.g. Just Crack an Egg vs. Eggo. Each name uses the word Egg in their name and are memorable but with entirely different models. Just Crack an Egg is crystal clear on what the product is but limits the kinds of line extensions in the future. Eggo has more flexibility in terms of line extensions but is less clear on what it is.
Finally, don’t forget the three most critical things – 1) Do you like the name and does it get you excited? 2) What does it sound like when you say it out loud? and… 3) What does your target think? What we’ve found with naming projects is that at the end of the day, it’s like naming a child. Sometimes you just like a name because of the way it sounds when you say it or how it makes you feel or vice versa. So don’t forget to read the lists of names out loud and listen to your heart!
As a last step, make sure to get feedback on the name by sharing your product concept and a short list of names with your target consumer to see if they think they fit together. You might love the name, but they might think it sounds like a product for their grandparents. Don’t forget that final step!