How to give your brands and products sticky names
Developing product and brand names that become iconic is an art, with a whole range of factors that need to come together at the right time. These include things that are in your control, such as the words themselves, and other societal elements that no one can predict. To give your new name the best chance of success, consider the following when creating a moniker for your business or latest product.
Make it memorable and unique
Your name should stand out for the right reasons. Gmail and iPhone are perfect examples of tweaking fairly mundane words to create instantly recognisable product names. Co-opting a word that has fallen out of common usage is another great way to create a sticky name. Google, Adobe and Twitter took fairly obscure words and turned them into household names, but how many people could actually say what adobe is? (It’s a type of clay).
Make it relevant
The great thing about the names above, is how closely their meaning relates to the product and brand. Adobe helps people build things, Twitter evokes a constant stream of messages and information, and Google describes the incomprehensible size of the internet. Look at the basics of what your product or business is and how you can take its core concept and turn it sideways to develop a unique and relevant name.
See your name from all angles
Simplicity is important, but sometimes a single word or even a couple of words, aren’t enough to tell every brand’s story. When deciding on a longer name, consider how it feels to say out loud and what it looks like as a URL. The acronym is also important and there are many innocent names that have unfortunate abbreviations. Microsoft quietly changed their Critical Update Notification Tool to Critical Updated Notification Utility to fix such an issue.
Practical considerations to create a great name
- Work backwards from the product’s unique selling proposition. This could be based on quality, size, price or speed. The iPod Nano assures customers they are buying the quality of Apple’s famous product, but in a smaller size.
- Stand out by not following the conventions of your industry and competitors. This can mean building a list of competing products and looking for patterns, whether they are the length of the name, the number of syllables, or the general feel. Once you have identified the themes, you can then go against the grain to create something that won’t get lost in the mix.
- It’s important to brainstorm a lot of ideas, as few great concepts are conceived whole and complete. You can even use a word generator to throw up random suggestions and get the creativity flowing. While it probably won’t come up with the final version, this randomness may help to create associations that were not immediately apparent.
There is no magic formula to creating a great name
A great name relies on many factors coming together to create something interesting and memorable. The product itself must be the right thing at the right time, and the name should be equal parts culturally current and future-proofed for timelessness. Ultimately, the success of a name will come down to the quality of the brand or product behind it. A memorable name will work against a business if their workmanship or service lets them down, which will make their name sticky for all the wrong reasons.