Naming a product can be a tricky process. Product names can veer from the traditional, The Art of Shaving, to the snarky, like Wet-N-Wild’s brown nail polish color, Checkin’ Into Rehab, to the nonsensical like Fruux, the name of a synchronizing company. Product names have to create an emotional connection and make the tone of the product lighthearted. No one wants a face product that has been christened “accident” or “breakable”.
You Got Me Feelin’ Emotions
Summer is filled with positive emotions about holidays, sunshine, and sugary foods. Beauty products, which appeal to those seeking elevation above the masses, they’ve been trying to capture this “june bug in a bottle” essence. Beauty products seek to provoke feelings of being chosen, to be welcomed, and to be valued. A product must fulfill those fantasies, particularly in a digital world where dating websites are surging because too many people are glued to their phones and fear the rejection of a simple face-to-face conversation. The face and body are what you can control within your domain.
What’s the gender
Gender is fluid. However for many, it’s not. It might be a bit of a stretch to name a men’s shave product Tiger Lily or Venus, because it may not have the desired effect. Designate a gender for your products and their intended audience. If a product is designed to be neutral like a face wash, then find a unisex product name that fits with your audience, such as Mountain or Kiehls.
Keep it simple
Avoid unusual spellings as much as possible. The name Emily has a traditional spelling. It connotes class and grace. Through the years, it has been spelled Emilee, Emmylee, etc. Making a name complicated does not make it unique. More often than not, it can be tedious. If you can’t easily Google it, or if it gets autocorrected, it’s too complicated and your potential customers won’t be able to find you. People appreciate what is familiar and want to feel smart. A product name is not about proving your intelligence; it is about letting the client in on the story and allowing them to feel as if they are in the know.
Make it sticky
Sticky is the term the marketing industry uses to say that a name works. Avoid trendy names, as they will not stand the test of time. Think of prom dresses from the 80s. Shoulder pads that made girls look like linebackers/football players, garish sequins, and neon colors were the de rigueur selections. Now this look only serves as a Halloween costume. If you want to avoid the trendy issue, harken back to noir films or history for striking names. Think Severine from Belle du Jour. Additionally, skip acronyms, as they are not memorable. Keep it short, memorable and emotive. Customers want to have an emotional tie to a product and those who are emotional invested are more likely to become advocates for your brand.
Create a character
Products should engage in storytelling. Create a character and have the products be inspired by their lingo, mind frame, or mantra. If you are selling foot cream, take a hint from the Three Little Pigs and name your salt scrub product This Little Piggy Went To The Seashore If you have fun with the product, the client will as well.
Look for inspiration
Music, movies, and literature are great sources of inspiration. IKEA, which means home in Greek, takes inspiration from the ordinary as namesakes. Coffee tables are named after Swedish places, whereas beds have Norwegian names. Bookcases are inspired by occupations, and desks look to men’s names. If your product is made with Dead Sea salt, then try names that have to do with the sea such as siren, waves, or shore. Try to evoke the essence of your product in its name.
Gather a group of friends and family, or ask strangers to give their opinion on your choices. The best is to gather people who are part of your ideal target audience. Allow them to discuss names and try not to get defensive if a name does not stick. You have to give your product name space. Once it’s on the market, you will have no control of its perception. It is infinitely better to tweak before production than to change afterward. Consider hearing “no” as another form of “yes,” or “try again.”
A product should be fun, easy to remember, and creative without trying to be quirky. Keep in mind you are not proving your intelligence to the customer – you are letting them be in the know because they are smart. Pick a group to test out your names and allow them to discuss the names without concern for your emotional attachment. A name can make or break your product, so spend time considering all your options.