So, you and your team have spent the last few weeks, maybe months, brainstorming the next product that will put your company at the forefront of innovation. You believe you’ve found a product that is unique, creative and something your customers will love as soon as it hits the market. The hard step is over! Now it is just time for… the next hard step: how to come up with a product name.
The idea of creating a name for your product seems simple enough until you realize the amount of strategy that needs to be implemented into product naming. Once you understand this strategy, you and your team can feel more confident that you will successfully gain the trust and purchasing power of the average customer when you step into the brainstorm session for your product’s name.
What Types of Strategy Go Into Product Naming?
Your product name has to be unique. The names of our products are what make us stand out. Having a clever and interesting name makes your product stand out from the products of any companies who may be competitive in whichever market you are attempting to enter.
The name of your product should also support and align with the brand of your company. You want customers to know what brand is behind the product in front of them without them having to look it up. This direct connection from product to brand is practical in that – if customers like one of your products they will be more likely to try another product that you put out.
Naming your product with a hint of shock value sparks intrigue. Shock value doesn’t need to be crude or out of the left field, it simply needs to elicit a response of “Hm.” or “Interesting.” or “Whoa. What is that?”. An interesting name will convince consumers to pick your product up off the shelf and put it into their baskets.
Beyond understanding what types of strategies go into product naming, you and your team should set up some basic guidelines to follow when you enter your next product naming brainstorming session. These basic guidelines should be generic enough to allow for uniqueness and creativity, but detailed enough to ensure everyone on your team has the same idea in mind.
In order to start effectively, it is vital that you and your team fully understand the idea behind your product. Understanding your product will allow the ideas generated during your brainstorming process to be creative enough to capture the attention of your customers yet practical enough to identify both the function of the product and your brand.
Your Target Market
The first part of understanding the idea behind your product is knowing your target customer. Who is buying this product? What problem are they having that generated a need for this product?
You then have to know who your competition is. This is an idea you can worry about a little less if your product or concept is completely unique. However, it is still important for your team to consider such questions. Do your customers have experiences with other brands that make a similar product? Are there other businesses out there that distribute products that could compete with your product? Do these shoppers have a loyalty to your brand, or have they been purchasing a similar product from a different company?
It is also important to think about other products that your business has out on the market. Should the name of your new product fall in line with your other products? Does your company have a pun-focused product naming system that you have to follow? Or does your team have to work around your company’s desire to spark intrigue with your product names? Does that
Discussing these three steps should be the first conversation you have with your team as you begin to brainstorm the name for your product. Each of these provides insight into the thought process, experience, ideas, and understanding that your customers have while in the decision-making process. Allow these three brainstorming guidelines to guide the naming process. Allow them to provide creativity with constraints while fleshing out ideas for product names.
After you and your team have ensured that you fully understand the idea behind your product, the next step is to get creative. While brainstorming a product name, there are no bad ideas. However, there are some ideas that are better than others. It is important to encourage those coming up with product name ideas to consider the name from a customer standpoint as well as a representation of your brand. The best product name ideas will draw in both your target audience and, hopefully, a few potential people who are outside of that target market. Be sure to write down all the ideas that come to mind during this product naming process. It is much easier to erase potential names off of a list than it is to remember the idea you had a few days ago while you were walking to lunch that you didn’t bother to write down.
If you and your team hit a creative wall during this process, it may be helpful to take a step back and give it a break. Time and space allow people to come back later and start again – this allows the creative energy to be restored. However, if you try to start again after taking a break and the product naming creativity has just been worn down, it may be beneficial to follow some creative prompts that will provide some guidance as you continue with your product naming process.
Five Prompts to Encourage Creative Product Names:
1) Make It Clear
Sometimes your target audience doesn’t quite understand that they are the target. Occasionally, creative naming can go right over people’s heads. Creative and unique ideas can convolute the ideas behind your products. Sometimes your name can be simple and self-explanatory. Your audience may just want you to allow the name to be a clear and self-explanatory concept. For instance, if you are selling a high-quality pen, you may just want to name it “Smooth Ink Pen” as opposed to “Color Splash Supreme”. The clear definition of your product allows people to understand that they are part of the audience your product is trying to attract. Simplifying the name of your product may increase the audience who understand that they are part of your target demographic.
2) Create Brand Association
This is beneficial if your business is one that has already been established and has a few other products on the market that people have had quality experiences with. There is no problem with letting them know that while this product is a new concept, it is still the quality that your brand has proven to produce. The strategy of using people’s experiences with your brand takes some of the stress away from finding the perfect name and relies more on the ideas that people have of your business. There are many people who rely on this brand loyalty when they are browsing the seemingly limitless products that are on the market. Rather than looking through each company, people find it much easier to stick with a business that they have had positive experiences. If you take a moment to consider yourself as a buyer- when is the last time you changed the brand of athletic shoes you bought? Do you have a favorite soda or candy company? Now, ask yourself if you cared about the name of the last product they put on the market. Did they draw you in with a spectacular name, or did they rely on your previous positive experiences with their products to draw you in? Your audience may have the same shopping strategy.
3) Catchy Word Combos
Here is where creativity starts to become part of the strategy. People enjoy clever name ideas just as much as they find practicality in product names that are self-explanatory. Creating a catchy combination of words can be the perfect name for your product because it can be a combination of both a clever and unique name as well as a practical concept that is easily understood by your audience. Say, for instance, your business invents a new card game in which the rules are simple, you have to flip over your card, and if it matches another player’s card you have to tap the matching card. Take the two main words from the game and boom. FlipTap. The concept of the game is simple enough, and the product name can be that as well. Creating catchy word combinations allows your audience to gain an understanding of what your product is but also allows room for creativity that makes your product stand out on the market.
4) Explain the Experience
Your product name can be the perfect time to explain what your audience should be experiencing. If you want your customers to associate an experience with your product, your product name is a great place to shape what their overall perception will be. People will quickly internalize the words you use to describe your product whether they realize it or not. Because of this, you can easily shape their perception of their experience with both your business and your product. Use creative words to let people know how you want them to perceive your business. If you are the creator of a self-care product and you just released a new sunscreen product, call it something to the extent of “Serene Sunscreen”. Let your buyer know that when they use your sunscreen product they should start to have the calming and serene feeling that your brand has promised them. Again, people are more than willing to internalize the words you use to describe your product. Use this strategy to shape the customers’ experiences with your product.
5) Include Your Target Market in the Name of Your Product
People in your audience want to be seen. Your brand has the potential to make them feel seen. When releasing a product to the market, addressing the people you are hoping to draw in as customers can be an important step in the naming process. It will allow the customers to feel as if they relate to your product. It will encourage them to feel as if your brand relates to and understands their experiences. Creating this relationship with your product is a great step in gaining business traction from your target customers.
Creating Catchy Names
When thinking of product names, many people on your team will try to be creative and try to come up with catchy product names that make your brand unique and encourage your product to stand out from other products on the market. However, it is important to know what makes a product name catchy.
A catchy product name is a name that is funny, clever, or simply memorable. For instance, it can be made up of common words with a twist, like “Heineken” which means “Dutch beer”. A catchy product name will help entice shoppers to buy the product.
While this is a broad topic because there are many different ways you can come up with a catchy product name, the key to coming up with a catchy product name is making it short, simple, and memorable. A good way to create this type of name is to come up with five or six words that will describe your product and then use those words as the foundation for your company’s slogan. To make the slogan more memorable, you can use rhyming words and alliteration in the middle of your sentence. For instance: “We’ll do whatever it takes” or “It’s time for a true change.” It is important to capture people’s attention, but it is also important that the names you discuss for your products accurately capture the experience your customers will have with your product. This product naming process is a complex one. It is important to remember that there are no bad ideas, but it is equally as important to remember that the first catchy name idea that comes out in your brainstorming session may not be the best product name to grab the business and attention of your target market.
5 Steps to Ace Your Product Name
To summarize, the product naming process is a complex one. It is important to balance creativity and practicality. While your team is trying to name your company’s next product, it is important to take a few things into consideration:
1) Understand your product
It is important that your team understand the experiences that your customers will have when they use your product. A good understanding of the concept behind your product will all you to create a unique name that connects your company with your target audience.
2) Decide What Type of Name Fits Your Brand
Are you going for something catchy and unique? Do you want your ideas to be a more self-explanatory product name? Deciding what type of name fits both your product as well as your brand is an important place to start. This will provide some guidance during the next step of the naming process. Take a moment to consider the strategy your business currently uses or would like to use to make its products stand out on the market.
Gather the creatives from your company and have them start rambling off potential product names that make sense for both your brand as well as your product. During the brainstorming step, it is important to write down any of the product name ideas that you come up with. It is easier to edit and remove the ideas that don’t fit the business or product concept than it is to remember a product name idea that was said in the middle of the brainstorming session but was never written down.
4) Edit and Decide
After enough time of tossing around product names, it is time to begin the aforementioned editing process. Take the conceived product name ideas and begin to revise, edit and eliminate. Use previous experience and knowledge as a strategy to analyze which name concepts will be successful. Eliminate any of the name ideas that you don’t think will increase brand exposure. You can create focus groups to collect data on the perception of your product name ideas, or you can allow people from your company to further revise your name ideas. Either way, at the end of this process, you should narrow it down to a single product name that your business feels confident in.
5) Hit the Market
It is equally as important, if not more important, to let your product hit the shelves. The perfect product name may be out there, and you may have it. You also might not. However, if you never decide on a product name that you feel good enough about, and you never let consumers experience your product, you will never make a sale. Product naming is an important part of representing your product and your brand, but at some point, the product should get into the hands of the people who will spend only moments analyzing how unique or practical your product name is. Whether it is a made-up word or a self-explanatory concept, the consumers’ purchases, experiences, and word-of-mouth recommendations are what will bring your business success.