What is the purpose of a product name
5 golden rules for product naming
It is difficult to give things their own name. As soon as you give something a name, it sticks in people's minds, name and object are then forever linked. It is only through the name that a brand is recognized.
This is why brands have a hard time renaming things and why there is still a Carphone Warehouse in the UK after having had nothing to do with car phones in years. Likewise, actors keep their stage names even if their real name has changed due to marriage, for example.
Names and words don't come out of nowhere. People usually associate a story with the name or associate it with something and this has to be taken into account when choosing a name. My parents wanted to call me Max, but ultimately decided against it because “Max White” sounds like the name of a strong detergent. The name is important.
I spend a lot of time at Brandwatch naming things, including new features, new products, and new services.
So far we've kept the names relatively descriptive, such as Dashboards, Components, and Filters - but recently we've been trying to find more interesting-sounding names that evoke something.
I have 5 rules that I always try to follow when finding a name:
1. The name should be readable and writable
If your product name is difficult to pronounce, people are not going to talk about your product and if they can't spell (and spell it correctly) the name, then how are they going to Google the name?
Keep it as simple as possible and avoid fancy and complicated spellings.
2. It should be unique
It's very difficult to be completely unique these days, so don't be too strict with yourself on this point. Nevertheless, your product name should at least be unique in your industry.
This makes it a lot easier to get your own domain, easier to find and when people bring up the name you can be sure that they are talking about your product and not something else.
3. It should be short, crisp and easy to remember
The longer the name, the harder it is to pack people with it. A long name can also lead people to invent abbreviations that are often out of control.
4. It should sound beautiful and look good when written
The name should stand out from all other boring words on the page. In one sentence, it should stand out in a way that makes the audience aware of it.
5. It should evoke an emotion, feeling, or image
Your product name should represent what your product is about, the feeling or image that the product is supposed to trigger in people. The name should be emotional and inspiring at the same time.
Our own problems with finding a name
Take a product that we recently named: Brandwatch Vizia. Vizia is our data visualization product, a second generation command center, you could say.
Vizia was a difficult name. We spent many hours brainstorming, looking at words, digging into dictionaries, making up and combining words, looking for acronyms, and so on, until we finally found the right one.
Ironically, “Vizia” was one of the first names that came to mind and also the one we ended up choosing - it can go that way sometimes.
And this is how we came up with the name:
I had already named parts of the product “Scenes”, which are the data visualizations that make up Vizia. “Scenes” is a great name for data visualizations, as it reminds of locations with beautiful landscapes and interesting solutions - that fits perfectly with my vision (and what we designed Vizia for) that a Dataviz tell the story of its data in a beautiful story should.
But what should we call the overall product? With features, it is not so important that they have a unique name as they only make up a small part of the product, but for the product as a whole it is important to pay attention to the uniqueness.
I suggested “Vista” to build on the concept of beautiful landscapes and the idea of spending hours looking at something. The problem with “Vista” was… well, we all know how successful the last product it was was.
Then came the suggestion to change it to “Visia” because of the above concept and to play more with the word “visual”. However, there are already some companies that use the Visia name. We started to despair. At that point our design team stepped in and came up with the suggestion:
The great thing about this prank was that it took all the golden rules into account. Using the Z made the name much more eye-catching. We also created an “ambigram” in this way. An ambigram is a word that looks exactly the same when you turn it around (if you neglect the dash from the letter A in Vizia). That also gave us more ideas for the logo and other design features.
And that was it. We had a cool name that was easy to pronounce when you read it and easy to write when you hear it. It was (more or less *) unique, short, good-looking, and most importantly, it evoked feeling, emotion and the concept of visualizations.
Vizia was launched and is now a name that our employees and many customers mention, read or write on a daily basis.
Now I am faced with the difficult task of naming two of our new products that will soon be launched. The biggest challenge will again be to find names that are exciting enough and that go with the products.
I will let you decide for yourself whether we have been successful with this when we announce the names in the next few months.
Helpful pages for finding a name:
33 tips for generating new names
*) The only negative thing about the name is that Vizia means “big breasts” in the Greek colloquial language ... so do not search for Vizia in the Google image search until we have worked on our SEO and have more photos of our product on the Google Slide up the page.
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