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BRANDING | The 8 Principles Of Product Naming | Part Two

BRANDING | The 8 Principles Of Product Naming | Part Two

Even at the best of times, naming is a contentious and emotional business. Whether you’re naming your baby, your boat, or your brand, the process can breed nearly endless deliberation. Keep these principles in mind as you scout the perfect name.

  1. LISTEN TO YOUR FEAR 

Great names grab your attention by breaking the rules–but a name that defies your expectations may also appear scary. Look past the fear and you’ll find energy and possibility. That buzz of surprise could be telling you that you’ve found a name that stands out.

Example: BlackBerry

ProMail, an early name candidate for what we know today as the BlackBerry, probably would have been an easier sell in RIM’s executive suite. But once users got their hands on the perfectly sized device, it became obvious which name was the perfect fit.

  1. STAND OUT IN A CROWD 

If you are different, you want to sound different. Use your name to focus on what makes your brand special. Look at your category and where it’s headed. What do customers expect? How can your name signal something new?

Example: W Hotels

In a market dominated by the prosaic names of people and places–Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, and Radisson–W had the nerve to sound young, energetic, and stylish. Today, it’s the premier destination for business travelers who want to balance style with substance.

  1. TOO MUCH IS NEVER ENOUGH

The first hundred names you think of are likely to be the same ones your competitors tossed around. Use naming specialists to develop thousands of alternatives. To arrive at a name that meets all your objectives, you need a list that’s both broad and deep.

Example: Accenture

Thousands of names were created, hundreds were screened, and scores were considered. One name rose to the top, and now countless conversations center around this brand’s “Accent on the future.”

  1. EXPECT ITS STORY TO EVOLVE

There are always reasons to dislike a name, but you can’t make the right decision if you never make any decision at all. Remember that names are just one part of your brand, and they’re elastic–you can stretch them to mean what you want.

Example: Virgin

As a word, “virgin” brings to mind anything from wool and olive oil to Mary and The Material Girl. But as a brand name, Virgin has come to stand for a provocative attitude that can sell everything from prepaid mobile phones to vacations in orbit.

 

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