Great Product Names are Powerful

Great product names are a powerful force in branding and marketing. They differentiate a company from its competitors, make an emotional connection with customers and help build a highly favored brand.

A strong product name is the result of a powerful brand positioning strategy. The key is to find a fresh way to connect with your customers, redefine and own the conversation in your industry and engage people on as many levels as possible. The best product names represent the ultimate process of scaling these ideas down into a word or few words that compels customer interest, emotion, reaction, response and loyalty.

Creating a Great Product Name

Successful product names may appear to have been created by the swipe of a hand. But, of course they aren’t. To develop names that are dynamic, effective and that will fully leverage a brand’s potential, the right process needs to take place. A process that is clear, insightful, logical and focused will lead to a name that is a powerful component of your brand strategy.

Many companies use computer-generated words garnered by software naming packages. While this can play a role, it is important to remember that the work that the computer does is purely mechanical. It can give you lists of words meeting certain specifications, but it takes a person to sort the information and the potential of words that are generated.

Another method is using a linguistically savvy professional equipped with a few basic principles. The name creator will use an analytical and structured approach to successfully create a name that works well and is commercially viable for your product name.

That product name must imply certain values that the buyer shares. It should be short, vigorous, mean nothing negative, have no hyphens and be easily pronounceable. The name must not be easy to misspell or it will quickly destroy its identity. It must be memorable, easy to graphically illustrate and legally available. And, it’s very important that there are no unintended meanings of the word that can work against business goals or international marketing.

It will take several phases to develop a powerful and lasting product family name.

Phase 1: Competitive Analysis and Assessment

A thorough competitive analysis through primary and / or secondary research is the essential first step. This helps to decide where to go with the position, branding and naming of your product name. Quantifying the tone and strength of competitive company product names is also needed for naming effectively.

Phase 2: Positioning

The next step is to define your brand positioning. The more specific and nuanced your positioning is, the more effective the name will be. All great product names work in concert with the positioning of the businesses they represent. The best positioning finds a way to reinvigorate or change the conversation that a company has been having with its customers.

Phase 3: Name Development

Next comes name development and deciding what the name should do for your marketing, branding and advertising efforts. Making this decision allows you to narrow your name search to a certain category of names.

When considering potential names for your product, it is vital that the project be kept as objective as possible. Dissecting potential names is not easy. Only through objectivity are you able to determine why a name will work or not work, weigh the pros and cons of one name versus another by appearance, distinction, depth, energy, humanity, positioning, sound, force and estimated trademark potential.

The name created should be short, easily pronounced, unique within your industry,
legally available, should not lend itself easily to abbreviations, should be flexible and expandable, will not age quickly, embraces your company’s personality and fits within the company’s brand portfolio.

Phase 4: Trademark Prescreening

Your list of name candidates should be prescreened to make sure no time is wasted considering a name that does not have a good chance of being available for registration.

Phase 5: Testing

Once the list is cleaned for availability, a focus group should be conducted to gather opinions, beliefs and attitudes about proposed names. This will help test assumptions and narrow the names down to a few.

Phase 6: Evaluation and Creative

At the end of the naming project, you should flesh out the brand, marketing and creative strengths of the remaining viable names. This will allow you to choose the best one.

Phase 7: Name Implementation

At this stage, you will choose the name. Once you have the name, content and images need to be developed to pinpoint the most effective, perfectly nuanced personality with which to present your new product name.

Every naming project is unique. It is all about informed and inspired execution.

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4 Responses to Great Product Names are Powerful

  1. Stanley Goodrich July 19, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    Great Article. It’s one to keep and read and re-read!

    Thanks

  2. John Kim July 19, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    its time to consider a pitching factor with a brilliant name. thanks for making it clear.

  3. George J. Swaniker July 27, 2012 at 2:40 am #

    This article is insightful. It passes for lecture notes. Its basic ans explanatory. Jenny, good job. I wish I can invite you for a talk in my country one day.

  4. Vivek Hattangadi July 29, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    A great article Jennifer. I have preserved it mu archives.