Naming a Product
Selecting a name for
a new product can be one of the most important (and difficult) aspects
of the entire product management process. With the huge number of products
and services constantly being introduced by competitors, it is critical
that your product name helps accomplish your goal - selling it.
Here are some ideas
to keep in mind:
Clarity - If
at all possible, select a name that is descriptive of what you are selling.
If you have a new rugged bicycle, which name is more descriptive - Mountain
Climber or Model 3Z?
You want prospects to be able to remember your product. Finding a name
that is unique and yet creates a lasting impression can help you differentiate
your product and keep top of mind awareness with prospects. With almost
all products or services, the customer controls the timing of the purchase
decision. You want your prospects to think of your product when they are
ready to buy.
Ease - Along
with being easy to remember, you want your product name to be easy to
spell and say. With more and more prospects using the Internet to investigate
products, search engines can easily miss a product with a name that is
easy to misspell. A hard to pronounce name can create some reluctance
for some prospects to ask questions. No one wants to be embarrassed by
- If you expect to have multiple product "extensions," it may
be helpful to begin all your product names with the same word or at least
the same letter. Having a sense of repetition with product names helps
build awareness with potential buyers.
- If you have a product name that you think is worth the expense, you
may want to apply for a trademark designation. The cost and time required
for the trademark process doesn't have to be huge. You may want to speak
with an attorney that specializes in patents and trademarks for this.
Tag Lines -
It is often very difficult to come up with a product name that accomplishes
all of the things mentioned above. Many successful companies combine a
somewhat "formal" product name with a tag line that is more
descriptive of the benefits of the product.
- After you have lived through the process of creating the product and
then naming it, remember that your prospects are still unaware of it.
In your product introduction process, don't be shy about using the name
several times. If the name is unusual, clever or has some other special
significance, you may even want to mention how and why the name was chosen.
The impression made talking about the name can create the type and length
of impression you want.
Two books by Ries
and Trout, "Positioning" and "The 22 Immutable Laws of
Marketing" include some very good insights into the name selection
process. Their books focus on product and company naming. You may want
to check them out.
You, along with your
prospects, share a common trait that must be kept in mind - a shortage
of time. Anything you can do with your product name that can enable the
prospect to get the most accurate and lasting impression of your product
in the shortest amount of time will pay off for your and your customers.