A product’s name is more than just a label. It’s the first impression on potential customers. It offers a window into your product’s use, value, and how it stands out from the competition. It tells a story, evokes emotion, and inspires people to buy your product.
Product naming can seem like a daunting task. There’s immense pressure to select a perfect name from a world of possibilities. Sitting down with a blank sheet of paper and hoping for inspiration is romantic but unrealistic.
Implementing a process that blends creativity and practicality is the key to success. By following these steps and using market research to help inform your choices, you’ll have the perfect name for your hit product in no time.
The first step in any project is to set clear goals. You need to define measurable parameters for success beyond simply finding a good name. A brief serves as a guideline for selecting a product name and guides the process from ideation to execution.
Some of the critical criteria to consider for your naming brief:
Unless you’re at the bleeding edge of a brand new industry, your product will face comparisons to competitors. Researching your intended niche provides valuable insight into the product’s positioning and perception.
First, what sort of broad trends exist in your competitors’ product names? Would it be beneficial to adopt any of them? Or does it make more sense to stand out by bucking conventions?
Second, what sets your product apart from other options? Does it compete on features, price, or your brand’s history? What terms or naming conventions will accentuate your product’s unique qualities?
Lastly, are there any specific names or terms to avoid? Choosing a name that’s easily confused with a competitor will risk a lawsuit and almost certainly derail your product launch.
With your naming criteria in place, it’s time to get creative. The best way to approach this phase of the process is to let ideas flow. Write down everything that comes to mind – as long as it fits your product name brief – without judging the quality too harshly. Focusing on whether a name is perfect will hinder creativity.
If you find yourself attracted to certain words or ideas, use them as jumping-off points. Spend time throwing out ideas centered on those terms. Word association is a powerful tool to help develop different ways of conveying a given thought. As you brainstorm, you’ll naturally refine ideas and come up with several iterations of similar concepts.
Once you have a collection of ideas, cull that into a shortlist of favorites. Focus on a few different possible themes, and keep a handful of potential ideas for each theme. You’re only narrowing the field at this point, not selecting a final winner.
While brainstorming is mostly about creativity, vetting is a pragmatic process to eliminate problematic names. An attorney is a valuable resource for navigating possible legal issues with potential names. However, you can complete many of these steps in-house or with the assistance of a market research firm:
The final and most important step in product naming is collecting feedback from customers. If you have the creative resources to include visual elements, that’s even better. Testing mockups of logos, labels, or websites will gauge customers’ perception of a name and its associated branding.
Using a market research firm to conduct these panels is also an excellent way to eliminate internal biases and ensure you collect useful data. This phase’s results are a clear preview of how well your product name will resonate with your target audience.
Customer feedback isn’t the final deciding factor in choosing a name, but it should weigh heavily. No matter how much you might like a particular name, your customers will have the final say.
Looking for help using market research to choose the perfect product name? Contact Voccii® today!