5 Tips to Creating a New Product Name

Not surprisingly, developing a product name is usually done by committee. Some people think the brand name is too childish but love the product. Others want to name things with acronyms, Not all products and offerings need a new name. Too many of your company product names will lead to confusion about our offerings, which undermines the integrity of the brand.

A new name is only necessary when introducing a new, unique product or family of offerings. If a product or service is an enhancement, feature, component or accessory of an existing product, use the current name of that product.

1. Although each situation is unique, answering “yes” to the following questions indicates that a new name should be created:

  • Is this a new family of products and services?
  • Is this an individual product which provides an unusually strong point of differentiation from the competition — and does not fit into a current family of offerings?
  • Is the offering backed by significant marketing support and commitment to long-term growth and development?

2. A new name is generally not necessary if the offering:

  • Is it a product enhancement, product feature or product component of an existing product (for example, If we bundled a new add-on feature, we wouldn’t rename the plan?)
  • Is the product common in the industry (for example, wifi)
  • Is the product part of a short-term promotion (for example, a promotion that will run for a quarter or less) Is the product and upgrade or part of an existing family name.

3. When to use descriptive names:

  • Descriptive names are straightforward. They use common, easy-to-understand words to describe functions or benefits of the products or services.
  • Descriptive names may be preferred for most company offerings because they are highly communicative and require minimal advertising or communication to convey the message of the offering.

4. Below are situations where descriptive names should be used:

  • When the product or service is part of a standard industry category or offering in the marketplace (for example, wifi). When the product or service has a limited budget.
  • When the product or service is not backed by a long-term commitment. Examples: company® open house, company® grand opening, company® free promotion

5. When to use proprietary names

When a program or services is very innovative or is comprised of many different components, it may be too complex to use a descriptive name. When this is the case, a proprietary name can be developed.

Proprietary names are less communicative than descriptive names. These names may suggest meaning and benefits, but on their own, these names generally have little meaning to the customer without more information. Once understood, though, these names can be powerful, memorable and may be entitled to protection as intellectual property.

It’s imperative for proprietary names to undergo research testing to ensure they are appropriate for and meaningful to the target audience. Do not do this in-house. Proprietary names may be appropriate when the offering falls into two or more of the following categories:

  • A major new product category or company-wide offering.
  • Product or service family whose breadth or complexity requires an umbrella name to ensure clarity of communications.
  • Backed by a large multimedia marketing budget and a long-term commitment. Provides significant competitive differentiation. Examples: In 2012, Cisco Services Domain Ten(SM) Cisco Services’s Blueprint for Simplifying Data Center and Cloud Transformation; or Cisco Aironet®;  or Cisco Prime™

For more information and help with determined a product or company name, contact Tim Fahey at Dirigo Agency at info@dirigoagency.com.

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