Every marketer knows how important it is to get the names of the products right, which is why they spend endless hours brainstorming and even appointing agencies specializing in branding. A quick look at the importance of product names, top mistakes to avoid, naming conventions, and other aspects of naming products you need to keep in mind to avoid wasting time, effort, and money
The Importance of Product Names
Keeping an appropriate name is vital regardless of whether it is a pack of cookies, a smartphone app, a car, a banking service, or any other tangible or intangible product or service. While the name of the product or service is important for clarity in internal communications, it is essential for the target audience since it helps to identify and differentiate it from the competition, and explains what it is to customers. While a product name must be easy to remember or find online, it also plays a central part in creating brand identity, which is why the name must match the brand values. According to Forbes, a strong brand name is easier to remember and builds customer trust.
Some of the important attributes of a brand name include visibility and searchability. It means you need to ask yourself whether customers find it easy to recognize and remember the brand name and can search for it online by spelling it in a way that search engines can interpret easily. If a product name is arbitrary, Google will take time to associate it with its use. A product name should be highly appealing to its target audience. It should excite customers and provoke them to buy it. Additionally, the brand name should be informative and relevant to the customer. The product name should help people choose it for its attributes and functions and also align with the way; you want to project the brand. In addition to helping create a business image, it should help the brand to be easily recognized. The best brand names are distinctive and encourage people to know more about them. You also must make sure that the brand name is easily scalable and translates well to other languages. It should not get lost in translation, cause offense to customers, or make the company a laughing stock.
Product Name Fundamentals
With the kind of resources a Google search on naming products turns up, you may think the process is simple. However, you need to know that while the naming process is not rocket science, you cannot adopt the same process to all the products under the sun and hope for success. Some product naming fundamentals you need to keep in mind include:
The kind of name: The first thing you need to bend your mind around when thinking about a product name is the kind of name you want. Some names describe what the product is or what the product does while other names are creative and do not indicate anything about the product or service. If your brand name is not established, it may help to keep a descriptive name because customers will not have to guess what the product is or what the product does. These products are also much easier to search for online. However, since these names tend to be generic, it can be hard to come up with distinctive names that cut through the clutter of the competition. You can devise a unique but compelling brand name by using an online product name generator. These free tools allow you to input keywords or suggestions and generate a slew of suggestions that you can work on to come up with something that works. In such cases, going the creative route may help, especially, if you are relying on establishing a connection with the emotions of your target audience. Somewhere in-between descriptive and creative names are associative and suggestive names. Suggestive names do not describe the product attributes but hint at what the product does, while associative names relate to some aspect of the product.
Longevity: Unless you are catering to a fad, you will want the product name to be enduring so that you do not have to keep investing in rebranding due to changes in branding. Choosing a product name with a long life is invariably far better.
Synergy: Even though you may take it for granted, the brand may not always have synergy with the product. You must ensure that the brand name fits the values and personality of the product. For example, Apple prides itself on the sophistication and simplicity of design, and the names it keeps for the products also reflect the same philosophy.
Avoid naming blunders: While a product name may make sense to customers in the domestic market, you need to tread carefully if you want to go international, particularly to countries with a different language and culture. You must make sure that the name translates properly into the local language and does not mean something offensive or laughable.
While the product naming process can seem complicated if you have never done it before, you can make it considerably easier by having a product naming strategy in place for all your products. By establishing and following a predetermined product-naming framework and rules, you will ensure consistency and lack of arbitrariness that will go a long way in making the process faster and ensuring your brand names are stronger. Before deciding on a name you must also scan the competitive environment and find out what kind of names are accepted better by the target audience and what names have already been taken up by the competition. The research will help you decide on a name the customer can identify with and yet allow you to be distinguishable in the clutter.
You will also need to check if you can acquire a domain name, which is an exact match, or close to it to make the online search easier and give SEO a boost. Last but not the least, you need to check whether your brand name is infringing on the trademark of other companies because a dispute can be expensive and set your marketing plans back significantly.
Paul is an content marketing strategist and serial entrepreneur.