The Kitchen Sink

7 Strategies & Secrets for Killer Product Names

7 Strategies & Secrets for Killer Product Names

Yikes! According to research agency AcuPoll, up to 95 percent of new products introduced each year fail. If you want to be one of the smart 5% who succeeds, you can greatly increase your chances if you have a highly likeable product name.

Consumers don’t fall in love with product names created by scientific processes, linguistic voodoo or mangling the alphabet. Those kinds of names don’t resonate with us because they don’t make emotional connections. The most powerful names connect with people and move them to buy because they are based on familiar words and concepts that they understand and appreciate. Kryptonite locks. Mayday tech support. Obsession perfume. Ninja blender. These are the names that speak volumes.

Here are some additional tips on how to name (and not name) a product.

1. Evoke a positive brand experience with a name that makes a powerful emotional connection. What do you want your customer to feel when they experience your product? Let that drive your product name. Sugary beverages have this down. Jolt Cola. Mountain Dew. Red Bull. The fragrance industry also lures us in with enticing names … Beautiful, Fierce, Bombshell, Envy, Passion, Fahrenheit.

2. Don’t get too full of yourself with chest-pounding names that make claims like, “The Country’s Best Yogurt.”Clearly this company knew they had made a mistake and tried to save themselves by abbreviating the name to TCBY. TCBY is absolutely meaningless and it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, which brings us to our next tip…

3. Avoid acronyms. FYI, people have ADD. You can only expect them to remember one name – not two. Brand your product with a full name and let the acronym be something you use internally. World of Warcraft is a great name – WOW is a bonus acronym that works really well, but not nearly as powerful as the name is spelled out. They were smart to use the full name to brand the product.

4. Do not name your product and company the same name..It’s confusing to name your product and company the same thing. And although you may only have one product now, think about the future. What if Apple had named their first computer The Apple? What would they name the dozens of other products that have launched since then? Your company name should be a wide enough umbrella to fit any product name under it. If you do have a product name you love, you can add a modifier to make a company name. For instance, the floor-cleaning robot we named Neato was such a perfect name, we named the company Neato Robotics.

5. Make sure your product names work as a family..Roomba was the initial product from iRobot. They thought they were onto something when they named their next product, a wet vac, Scooba. Then they were stuck. They ran out of “ba” names. How do their next two robots Verro (pools) and Looj (gutters) fit in.

6. If you have to spell your name out loud for people, Siri butchers it, or it looks like a typo, it’s a mistake. Spelling your product name in a non-intuitive way isn’t clever, it’s lazy. Sure, it’s tempting to spell your name “creatively,” so you can nab an available domain name. But spelling-challenged names will forever frustrate your customers, embarrass your employees, and annoy journalists, bloggers, and proofreaders. And if you were still in elementary school, it would annoy your teacher, too.

7. It’s fine to share your product name with another (unrelated) product..When you hear the product name “Explorer,” you most likely think of Ford Explorer or Microsoft Internet Explorer. Many products share the same name, which is fine as long as you are in an unrelated category and you aren’t using a product name that is so well recognized (Hula Hoop, Big Mac) that it could lead to consumer confusion and get you into legal trouble. (Check with a trademark attorney before using any name.)

More Brand Name Tips
For more tried and true tips on naming your product , order Alexandra’s upcoming book, Hello, My Name is Awesome, How to Create Brand Names That Stick. Pre-order here.

Does Your Brand Name Suck?
Find out now with our free 12-point name evaluation test.

Need Professional Help?
At Eat My Words, we name products every day and we’re pretty darn good at it. If you’re losing sleep at night trying to do it yourself or just want a professional opinion, Book a Meeting with us today.


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