There’s no doubt about it. Naming is hard. You want a name that is not only memorable but also reflects the purpose of your product and the personality of your brand. Sometimes, you’ll strike gold on your first try and a word or phrase will come to you that perfectly encapsulates that product. Other times you will have to put serious thought and effort into coming up with a great name for your product. Here are some ideas that can make this process a little bit easier:
- Put a twist on a real word. Naming a product doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to come up with a brand new word. Sometimes, a word that already exists will work perfectly, if you put the right twist on it. Take the Ford Explorer, for example. Explorer is a perfect name for an SUV—it evokes adventure and fun, as well as playing off of Ford’s American roots and America’s history of exploration. Picking a word with the right connotations might not be easy, but it is a great way to give your product an easily recognizable name.
- Change the spelling of an existing word or smash two words together. Changing up the spelling of a word that relates well both to your product and to your brand is a great way to give your product a unique name that still sounds like something your customers will recognize. This is also great if you discover that a real word that you wanted to use is already trademarked by another brand. You can still use the word—just change up the spelling. Additionally, if there are two words that evoke the spirit of your product, try blending them together or creating a compound word like “Pictionary” (mixing picture with dictionary).
- Name it after a person. You’ve heard of the George Foreman Grill, right? Despite that product name being three words long, almost everyone calls the product by it whole name, all the time. This is because this product name just works. You can name your product name after a member of the development team or the head of your company, as long as there is some aspect of the name that is still descriptive of the actual product. Historical names are always fun.
- Don’t name your product the same thing as your company. This will be confusing for consumers, especially in marketing materials and in business to consumer communications. This also limits your ability to expand in the future, forcing expensive and time-consuming rebranding. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use your company’s name in the name of your product, it simply means that they shouldn’t have the exact same name. If you name your company “Big Red Shoes,” and your product “Big Red Shoes,” consumers are bound to confuse the two and they are bound to be confused if you ever start selling something that isn’t big red shoes.
- Consider naming your products as a family. Android names all of their operating systems after candies and sweets. Apple uses big cats. If you already have a product, consider naming your new product something in the same family. This strengthens your brand identity and makes your product easy to identify, even if a consumer finds in a retailer, instead of on your company’s website. You’ll be more memorable—always a good thing when trying to sell a product.
- Try to create a positive connection. The last thing you want to do is evoke a negative feeling or thought when a consumer hears the name of your product. As with all branding, your goal should be to create a positive connection between your product and something happy, exciting, or good in the mind of the consumer. As you start brainstorming names for your products, start writing down words that have cadence and rhythm to them, as well as positive connections. Consumers prefer products that have names that are fun to say and easy to remember.
- Make up a word. If you can’t find a real word that really evokes the image you want to evoke, make one up. Just start throwing around sounds until you find one that you really like. If it fits your product, consumers won’t mind that it’s nonsense—because it won’t really be nonsense. This works especially well for products that are new and very innovative, as consumers expect new words to be connected to new concepts.
Lastly, names set expectations. Make sure your product delivers on them!