By Robin | 21st January 2016
A brand is the face of your company, product or service. As such, it should be friendly, easy to remember and created with a global audience in mind. A poorly chosen name could stand in the way of a potentially great products, and studies have shown that well-chosen names leave a strong impression on consumers to positively influence their purchasing decisions. It is in our psychology to make snap decisions, and when a potential customer scrolls through his or her options, a product with a simple and unique name will have a higher chance at success. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when choosing the name of your product.
1. Discover your company’s essence
A good strategy is to be descriptive such as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Still, one does not have to be so obvious about the description. Take, for instance, the virtual reality headset “Oculus Rift” which is set to launch in 2016. The word Oculus means ‘eye’ in Latin and the word rift was chosen because it creates a rift between the user and reality. This name is a good choice because it is original and draws the consumer in without being boring. The rift is a good balance between unique and descriptive, especially since it is a word often found in video games too.
2. Don’t settle for the first name you think of
By now, many people may know how google got its name: it is a play on the word ‘googol’ which is a mathematical term for the number 1 plus 100 zeros. But it may come as a surprise to learn that Google was originally named ‘backrub’. This name seems irrelevant and even laughable, so perhaps after realizing it was a terrible name for a tech company, founders decided to change it.
But imagine if the company had kept that name? If there is a lesson to be learned here it is this: Dedicate the time and energy into creating a great product name and don’t be afraid to scrap your original idea if it isn’t a good fit.
3. Be aware of negative connotations
People are able to make connections that were impossible a mere twenty years ago, as technology facilitates instant access to anyone anywhere in the world. A globalized audience is one you should always keep in mind when naming your product since. A name that sounds perfectly acceptable in one area may have negative connotations in another. Here is one example of a company that did it wrong the first time. Biggby Coffee is a privately owned coffee franchise in Michigan, USA, but that name is relatively new. Before 2007, they went by ‘Beaner’s’ presumably because of their coffee beans. The word ‘Beaner’, however, is a widely known derogatory slang for people of Hispanic heritage. As a result, the name had to be changed.
4. It should be short and memorable
Think of 5 brand names off the top of your head: were any of them more than 8 letters long? This is one thing that Apple, Google, Yahoo!, Nike, Facebook, and so much more have in common; they kept it short and sweet. Even longer names such as General Electric and Hewlett-Packard are abbreviated to GE and HP respectively. You want your brand name to be remembered off the top of your users’ heads. Otherwise, how can they spread the word about how great or useful your product is?
5. Look for similar names
Once you have your options for your product name, type it into one of the search engines and see what comes up. If you have a name that is too similar to something else, it can create confusion and can also lead to legal issues. The previously mentioned Oculus Rift was presented with a trademark infringement lawsuit from ‘Oculu’ a company which offers a platform where content is streamed online. They say that the Oculus Rift claimed “false designation of origin, trademark dilution and unfair competition” as there may be a conflict if Oculus Rift intends to stream content after its release.
This is only one example of the importance of conducting market research before going ahead with your product.
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