7 rules for naming a new product


Naming your products represents an essential step in the process of building a powerful identity for your entire company. No-name products are simply lost in a world where everybody fights in a battle for the memory and the loyalty of the target audience. The names based on numeric codes or generic terms are doomed to be forgotten. If you want to leave a legacy behind, you have to become specific and to own a strong personality.

Escape from the void. Fill the void with the character and vision of your future products.

In this article, we will provide you the simplest 7 rules for naming a new product:

  1. Analyze your competition

It’s very important to start your naming product process by studying what others have already done. Make a list with your most important 10 competitors and carefully analyze their product names. Then make a table with all the names and classify them into the four most used naming categories: Descriptive, suggestive, metaphorical and invented. Read more in this article about how each of these types of names is distinguished than the others. The trick here is to find the gap and to fill it if it’s suitable for you. For example, if most of the product names from your field are encountered in the descriptive naming category, you should think more about finding a suggestive name. Step out from the crowd but do not jump in the perfect opposite corner. An invented name on a market where everybody is being too descriptive, it will be a black sheep. Interesting, but nobody wants to buy it.

  1. Don’t copy! Don’t search for similar naming options!

Unfortunately, many of our potential clients are asking us for finding product names similar with existent names on their market. They value a lot the success of their competitors and somehow, they think that finding a similar or even almost copied product name, this will be a guarantee of their customers preference. But it’s wrong. If you will choose a similar naming alternative, you will show a big weakness, lack of professionalism and lack of inspiration. You need to detach of any misconceptions and find your own meaning spot.

  1. Do the brief. And do it right.

The brief is a crucial aspect in the naming process of a new product. Find the answers for the following concerns and many other more:

  • The true problem my product will solve
  • The promise, vision and mission of my product
  • What differentiates it from others existent on the market
  • The territories where the product will be launched
  • 10 different words to describe the product
  • 10 different words to describe the perception of the product in the eyes of the target audience
  • 5 key phrases to describe the main functionalities of the product
  • Which is the USP?
  • Who does it buy the product? Who does it use it? Who does it influence the acquisition?

The brief will give you a lot of naming ideas and it will help you a lot to narrow down the research area.

  1. Check the following product naming criteria:
  • Suggestive for the target audience

Repeat after us, please: Suggestive for the target audience, NOT FOR US!

The main challenge and product naming trap are that the most important criteria used by the marketing teams are related to their own personal opinions. If the proposed product name has a good sound or a good connection with something positive from their life, then it’s a good a name. If not…God help us:). It’s not about me as naming specialist, or about you as a branding/marketing specialist. It’s all about the target audience. To provide them the name which they really expect.

  • Meaningful

The chosen product name must have a true meaning which will fill the branding void. It must be a name which shares with the target audience what the product does and its marketing positioning.

  • With potential of creating imaginary

This rule is applied for suggestive and metaphorical names. In the case of descriptive names, a client can not use its imagination in order to discover more about the product. If the name seeds into the customer’s mind the feeling of wanting to find out more about the product, that’s a jackpot! More about imagination in the following point:

           5. Use imagination, creativity and connections with other fields and industry

Just think outside your box! Sometimes a descriptive name is not enough to differentiate your product on the market. You will need more. Find connections in other fields, stories, movies or books. Try to find a theme which fits with your product. For example:

  • If your product is a security one, you can find useful inspiration into: Greek mythology, superheroes movies, historical facts about famous fortresses and wars.  
  • If your product is from the cosmetics zone, you can inspire yourself from: ancient women famous figures, life and stories about great women who had an important word to say in this world, special places on the Earth which can be related with the qualities of the new product
  • If your product is an innovative new gadget, you can relate it with: SF famous movies, facts from famous books like Jules Verne has written, disruptive natural phenomena.

Think beyond the borders of your company, field and industry!

         6. Planning to launch more products in the next period?

If you are planning to launch a higher number of products in the next period, things are a little more complicated. Do not start just to name each of them without thinking about a more complex naming strategy. Actually, you should take into consideration how to create a logical, homogeneous naming architecture. You can read more about naming architectures in this article. Soon, we will publish an interesting article about creating a naming system or a guideline for companies who own a huge number of products (more than 100). Stay tuned!

         7. Just avoid the following:

  • Acronyms
  • Generic terms
  • Founder’s name used for naming general products (not pioneers, or very innovative products)
  • Geographical names if the location is not a crucial distinctive factor
  • Rhyme names
  • Invented names which mean nothing if you are not Xerox, Kodak or Google (if you do not have the financial strength of promoting this kind of name)
  • Misspelled names

Not sure if do you need to name your future product?

Let’s imagine the following situation:

You have started to eat healthier. That’s why you need a new set of pans for you to cook without oil. Of course, you need that kind of pan which does not make the food stick in the cooking process. You are going in a hypermarket and you ask a clerk to help you.

You receive too different answers:

  • I think you need a Tefal set of pans.
  • We have a new model of pans. The food does not stick, and they last a long period of time. They are made from Teflon. Like a “Tefal” pan. But they do not have a name.

What do you choose?

Do you plan to launch a new product? We can help you in the naming process. As consultants or as naming creators, we are here for you. Write us more about your future launch:

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