The Importance of Choosing Product Names and How to Choose Product Names

naming products

In many cultures around the world, names are special, especially the name of a person. That’s why many parents spend time researching names online and offline and consulting older family members before settling on a name to give their newborn child. Pet parents are not left out of the naming struggle. Unlike, a person’s name, a business or product name has to meet some criteria, or the business or product may face unwanted challenges due to poor name choice. Every business owner knows how much thought they put into deciding their business name. Product names are like business names, but the difference is sometimes, you have to come up with multiple names for different products and it can be draining.

Why Choose a Product Name

Can you avoid choosing a name for your product? The short answer is yes. You can sell your products by simply putting your brand label and logo on them and calling it a day, but that’s a recipe for disaster. Imagine all Hyundai cars are simply named “Hyundai,” and no “Elantra,” “Sonata,” “Santa Fe,” etc. How will users point out one Hyundai car model from another one? A product name creates a distinct identity for your products.

Secondly, choosing a name for your product can help you sell just because a group of customers prefers a particular product over others. Back to our Hyundai example. No doubt some buyers prefer Hyundai Sonata to the Hyundai Elantra so that whenever Hyundai releases new a Sonata model, they are more likely to be interested in buying it without any persuasion from Hyundai. A product name is a form of marketing.

If you produce only one product and intend to keep it like that forever, it might be pointless to name it. But if you have multiple products or hope to produce more unique products in the future, it’s best to start practicing how to choose a product name.

Types of Product Names

Product names generally fall into these three categories;

Self-explanatory names: product names are self-explanatory when users can immediately tell what type of product it is upon seeing or hearing the product name. For example, Wireless Earbud from Google is a descriptive product name. It tells us that the product is a small wireless headphone.

Experiential names: product names that suggest to users what type of experience it should be associated with are experiential. For example, the MacBook Pro (“pro” short for “professional”) is a product name that suggests that the product is for professionals.

Coined names: businesses can also invent a unique name when naming a product. You can be creative with this. They can make up an entirely unique word such as “Nokia,” combine existing words such as “Facebook,” or add a prefix or suffix to a word, such as “iPad.”

Three Key Things You Must Do Before Brainstorming a Product Name

Before you start brainstorming for a product name, start at the foundation, and ensure to address these three concerns as precisely and concisely as possible.

1. Define your product

Think about your product. What does it do, what can users use it for, and what problem does it solve or what opportunity does it create for users? What vacuum does it fill in your industry?

2. Understand your target market

Conduct market research to understand your target market and use the findings to define your target market. Who will buy the product, and who will use the product? Sometimes, a product buyer can be different from the end user, for example, children’s products. Also, find out why they will use your product and learn more about their motivation.

Additionally, consider a secondary target market, people who can do without your product but will get it anyway for some reason. For example, Apple is marketing the new Apple Watch Ultra for athletic and explorative people who hike and dive. But other groups, such as construction workers are also interested in the watch because it is rugged and big.

3. Know your competition

“Know thy enemy and know yourself…” – Sun Tzu.
Research similar products in your industry to avoid using existing names for your product. That said, you also need to know how rival businesses address market needs.

Tips for Choosing a Product Name

Now that we know the importance of choosing product names and the types of product names you can choose, let’s look at some tips that can help you create perfect product names.

Avoid Using Jargon: when creating a product name, you can be tempted to use a name that technically describes the product features or what it does, but you have to remember that the average buyer may find the name too technical. You can write the features of the product on the packaging.

Your Product Name Should Be Simple: ensure to choose a product name that is easy to pronounce, spell, and understand. Your product name shouldn’t make buyers think too much about what it means.

Choose a Memorable Name: your product name should linger on in the memories of people who come across your product just once. So, as you brainstorm product names, test with friends and family to determine whether it is forgettable or memorable.

Your Product Name Should Stand the Test of Time: new business owners tend to assume that choosing a product name that applies to a trend will help them sell more. While that can be true, once the trend dies out, your product may struggle to sell. Choose a product name that will remain relevant irrespective of trends.

Choose a Distinct Product Name: avoid choosing a product name that already exists in your niche market. First, you can attract a lawsuit. Secondly, you can help your rival sell more by driving traffic to their already-known product with your marketing effort. So come up with a product name that is new to your industry, so that all your marketing efforts will impact only your product.

Consider Your Audience: do you know the difference between the naming method used for male-centric body sprays and deodorants versus female-centric body sprays and deodorants? The male-centric body sprays use aggressive names like “guard” and “double action” while the female-centric body sprays use soft earthly names like “rose” and “lavender.” Consider words your target audience will find relatable when choosing a product name.

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