Your Name Matters!

Names impact how we perceive a company or a product and we all want names that say something, that somehow define the product without defining it. Shakespeare said, “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”; your name won’t be worth much without a naming and branding strategy to back it up and without a context to live in. Here are a few pointers on how to choose that name and how to figure out which strategy is best for your product or company.

Names that define the product or the main feature of the product.

Your name explains your product. A lot of eco, organic, green, or bio products will have those specific words in their names. You have a product that’s eco friendly and you want to make sure that the consumer knows that from the first glance. Take a look at Eco Optics or Element Eco Wear.

You don’t have to explain anything to your consumer; you don’t have to put it in context. When people see the name, they know it’s something environmentally friendly. On the other hand, in a world of bio, eco, green things, your name may not stand out, so you have to make sure you find a creative solution for introducing the descriptive element.

Names that define a benefit of the product.

Is it a bleaching solution? Will it make you look prettier? Have more strength? What will this product do for you?

L’Oreal has a bronzing lotion called Sublime Bronze. The benefit is clear: put this lotion on and your skin will have a “sublime bronze”. Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Corrector –  if you have dark spots or uneven skin tone, this is the product you need.

Benefit-names are particularly effective for any product that wants to be a “feel-good” product. However once you chose your benefit, you might get a lot of competitors for the same market niche and you have to leverage your product as being better. For the longest time golf clubs manufacturers would leverage the speed of the club. However with the advancements in manufacturing technology, speed is something that all clubs have. So it’s on to the next benefit for them.

Newly coined terms that often end up defining a category.

There’s a multitude of names here, but definitely they most popular ones are Google, Blackberry. Yes, we searched before Google, but now we don’t search anymore, we started googling and most Blackberry users will refer to it as a Blackberry, not a phone or a smartphone. Not to mention that we’ve learned to Facebook people.

Newly coined name have no residual association. Your consumer has never heard it. You can tell your consumer what to think and how to interpret the name. However, you need to create a context and build the name before it becomes a class of products like Kleenex.

A few conclusions

Choosing a naming direction is no easy chore and that’s where naming strategy company comes in. As a parent you think about names for your child, but also consult authorized sources. As a product manager or business owner, you are the parent of the product. Sometimes you get inspired and create something amazing; sometimes the name just comes to you. But most of the times, a name means research, creativity, naming strategy, more research, more creativity, and even more strategy.

Once you choose your easily pronounceable and memorable name, vet it for trademarks, buy the web domain, and most importantly make sure it doesn’t mean some crazy offensive thing in a different language as that can invalidate your entire work in a second. Check out the deal breaker name Pajero that Mitsubishi came up with for their SUV and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

2 responses to “Your Name Matters!

  1. Like your article! I didn’t know about Mitsubishi’s SUV name, reminds me of the infamous Ford “Nova” years back!


  2. Yes, there are quite a few mishaps out there in terms of name meanings that are totally inappropriate. Reebok had a pair of shoes a few years back targeted towards women and they decided to call them Incubus…


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