When you run a product business, coming up with a memorable name for your product is vital.
You’re likely competing with hundreds of other similar businesses, so standing out matters. You want your product names to resonate with your potential customers and stick in their memories.
But choosing a memorable name for your product is easier said than done. Many business owners find themselves stuck when naming their products.
However, with the right tips in place you can choose a memorable name for your product that’s sure to help your brand stand out! Read on to find out how.
What Makes a Product Name Memorable?
Have you ever read about a product online then later realized you couldn’t remember what it was called? Plenty of customers run into this problem.
If your customers can’t remember what your product name is, chances are good that they will simply move onto a competitor. So how do you make sure they’ll remember yours?
In the book Made to Stick, Dan and Chip Heath created an acronym for making your ideas “stickier,” a.k.a more memorable. The acronym is SUCCESS, which stands for simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and story.
Think about the most well-known brands—Target, Google, Apple. Their names are short and simple, making them easier to remember. How simple can you make your brand or product name? Can you limit it to one to two words? The shorter and simpler, the better!
Coming up with an unexpected name not only makes it stickier—it also makes it easier to secure a trademark. Think of words you want to associate with your brand and try putting them together in unusual ways. You could even make a fake word that’s fun to say.
If you’re stuck, look to different languages and combine words together to make something new. For example, Etsy comes from the Latin word for “and if” and the Italian word for “yes.”
A concrete name brings up sensory memories. You can hold it in your hand or easily imagine what it looks like. For example, Creme de Mint, the name of our company, is something you can almost taste.
You’ve probably heard some outrageous names out there. But the best names are still tied to your product in some way, even if the connection is abstract.
Our company’s name, Crème de Mint, for example, ties back into the customers we serve—companies in the food / beverage and wine / spirits industries.
Apple is another great example. At first glance, you may wonder, what does a fruit have to do with electronics? But if you look deeper, you will see the connections—apples are simple and so are Apple products. Apples are easy to eat and Apple products are easy to use. As long as your name is truly connected to your product, it will feel credible to your customers.
Before you begin brainstorming a name for your product, think about how you want potential customers to feel when they hear your product name. Do you want them to feel inspired? Excited? Comforted? Identifying the primary emotion of your brand will help guide your naming in the right direction.
Our customers associate our product names with stories. Think about your favorite brands and products. What stories do you associate with their names? For example, the juice company Tropicana’s name tells a story of freshness and tropical places.
Even if you’re living in a cold place, when you drink a glass of Tropicana orange juice, you get a taste of warm places full of orange groves.
The Target Audience Matters
Choosing a memorable name for your product is important, but only if it’s memorable to the right people—your target customer.
People buy products for emotional reasons. That’s why you as a business owner should use empathy and consider your customers’ hopes, dreams, fears, and desires.
The better you understand your target customers, the more likely you are to come up a name that resonates with them.
For example, Mark Zuckerberg originally made Facebook for college students. He named it after the sheets that college freshmen received with photos and details about other students and professors. He knew they would instantly understand what Facebook was because of that association.
Break the Rules for a More Memorable Product Name
When business owners don’t know where to start with naming, they often turn to description words that directly describe the products. But those are usually the most boring names (and the least likely to secure a trademark!).
Don’t be afraid to do something different and come up with a name that doesn’t make sense at first. For example, Zynga, the popular app company that made Words With Friends, was named after the founder’s bulldog. It has nothing to do with gaming or apps, but it is memorable.
Brainstorm Big, Then Narrow it Down
Rarely are you going to come up with the perfect name on your first attempt. Be patient with yourself as you name your product.
Start with your brand story and the words you want associated with your brand. Try to brainstorm at least 20 names that sound distinct and different. (Remember, having outside opinions on your product name is important. If you’re a solo business owner, find some friends to sit down with you so you can bounce ideas off of each other.)
Once you have a long list of potential names, you can start narrowing them down. Narrowing your name choices down can be tricky. Nick Kolenda created a detailed approach to narrowing in and finding the ideal name.
He suggests you take the following into account when weeding out names:
- How many spelling variations are there? The less, the better.
- Is the URL available?
- What are possible abbreviations for your name?
- What does your name mean in other languages? Make sure it’s not something that will turn people off.
Check for Trademark Availability
As you narrow down your list of names, remember that you’ll want to have a few backups in mind. You might run into trademark issues with your first choice.
If your product or business name is already being used in your industry, not only would it confuse your potential customers, but it also might violate someone else’s protected trademark.
To make sure your name is available for use, run a search with your potential names through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO.)
If your name, or a similar name, is being used in your industry, you’ll want to choose something else.
The USPTO is also where you can apply for a trademark for your own name once you are settled on your final choice.
Test Out Your Product Name
Once you’ve come up with a name that feels right, put it out there and see what people think. Ask friends and colleagues who will tell you their honest opinion about your name idea (or ideas).
If you can, find social media pages or groups with your target customers and test your name out there. If people don’t “get” it or if you get negative feedback, keep brainstorming names. You will eventually hit on the right one.
Don’t Overthink It
Don’t let difficulty in choosing a name hold you back from taking the next steps in your business. The worst thing you can do is stall your business because you can’t come up with a name.
If it’s holding you back, pick your best contender and move forward. You can always change your product names later. Even if you do, you’ll be in good company. Google was originally called BackRub. They changed their name a year later. If Google can change its name, so can you!
Do you have a new product you want to get out into the world? I can help you create a labeling and packaging design that helps you stand out. Contact me for more information.