Branding 101: Best Practices for Product Naming

By Christian Schütte
May 16, 2020
There are many, many aspects to branding that need to be taken into careful consideration, not least if you’re planning to eventually take your brand and products to the world stage, and have a decent crack at the international markets.

Product Naming Tip 1: Make Sure It’s Memorable!

When you’re trying to establish what you’re going to name your product, the first thing you should keep in mind is to choose something that will make perfect sense to your customers, and something that they’ll easily remember whenever they head to the shops or look online.

When you’re working on boosting the memorability of your product names, make sure you the names you’re brainstorming are:

  • Simple to Spell: Never forget – your customers will have to be able to easily type your product name into a search engine, and while a slightly obscure or unusual spelling is, for the most part, absolutely fine (as search engines will pick up on words which are close to your selected name) it’s always best to avoid anything too difficult or ridiculous.

  • Easy to Pronounce: Words which can be spoken easily can also be remembered easily, and this can also help with word-of-mouth recommendations, too. Want an example of how this works? Just try and remember the name of the last prescription medicine you got from the doctor, which isn’t already a brand name. The chances are, it’s probably too complicated to remember, and your mind will have already not bothered to retain it!

Product Naming Tip 2: Ensure It Has Meaning

In order for a product name to retain its spark, it needs to have an inherent meaning, or some kind of link - no matter how tenuous - between what it is, what it does, and what it’s called. After all, you don’t want your audience base to hear the name of your product, and for their first reaction to be wondering why on Earth it has such-and-such a name! You can be playful, witty, and surprising as much as you like… so long as the playfulness doesn’t end up confusing or confounding the customer.

An interesting recent example that works well is the Chase Liquid card. This name really hits an interesting note, because why the word ‘liquid’ isn’t obviously connected to credit or money, it does immediately convey a sense of free-flowing liberation and simplicity, which is precisely what customers look for in a credit card deal. By selecting ‘liquid’ as the key word to represent their new service, the Chase company was communicating the notion that their credit card would be easy to use, and that their customers would be happy going with the flow.

Product Naming Tip 3: Stand Out From the Crowd

Refining and perfecting the process of naming products really, really isn’t easy, and plenty of brand managers and company bosses tear their hair out in pursuit of finding the ideal name… but once it happens, and once that bolt of inspiration hits, everything else seems to fall into place.

The golden rule is that the name needs to be something which your customers can sense a familiarity with and can understand, while at the same time providing a unique twist that helps it stand out from the crowd. Differentiation is key in any market, and when you combine that with the fact that, if you choose product names which are too much alike to each other or your competitors, your keyword strategy is going to be a real uphill struggle!

There are, thankfully, plenty of ways you can bring a unique angle to the process of naming your products. Consider, for example:

  • Blending words, or combining two familiar words to create something new
  • Playing around with synonyms and alternative forms of common words
  • Altering the spelling of something to give it a fresh new twist
  • Adding suffixes or prefixes to add an essence of interest

Such techniques are tried-and-tested routes for success which may work for your product, but it may also be the case that an entirely different approach will be necessary. Either way, a brand management agency will help you settle on the final decisions, and clear the path for further successes and finesse.