Naming: the art of name something

You think it’s easy but, definitely, it’s not: naming brands or products is tough.

There comes a time, in any copywriter career, when challenges must be faced: one of these is give something a name. At first glance, finding a name for a jewelry collection, a new company or a brand may seem like a rather elementary creative act, in reality it is far from simple.

A good, evocative and effective company or brand name is crucial because gives an identity to your business and helps you differentiate it from other players in the market. Your brand name is your story. It conveys your business ethics, values, and goals. And you need to choose it carefully. The danger is always lurking, especially in the Italian market. Between daring Englishisms, clear errors and trivial fashions (I still remember the tons of name with lowercase i) the risk of a flop is just around the corner.

Simply putting, a name can make or break your business and hence it can’t be choose by chance: I give you an example.

F.A.R.T – (it’s not a joke) is the name of an important italian company in the field of neon transformer (now changed in F/Art). Their name was a reasult of a simple acronym of “Fabbrica Apparecchiature Radioelettriche Treviso”. We need to remember that it was 1945, when Italy was trying to recover from the destruction and mourning of World War II, and nobody was worry about the meaning of that name in an other language. It become a problem later, when the company grew and become intenational.

Now we are not in the postwar period (even if Covid-19 remind us that phase for so many reason) and we need to pay attention when we comes to naming something. There are several factors which must be considered when you are naming a new product. First, every product you release must fit into that narrative of your brand so that it is instantly recognizable as part of your story. Second, words matter: especially when customers are considering whether to buy your product.

I still remember a potential customer who stopped me one day to share his brilliant idea for naming a new product: an innovative foam protection for the corner of sport equiment and facilities. The name was “pondo” and it was followed also by rhyme headline “che fa l’angolo tondo” (letterally it rounds the corner)

How to start on your product naming mission:

So, your product name should be understandable, evocative, and memorable. Easy, right? Not at all my dear. But five simple suggestions can help you to figure out.

  • Write down a description of your product (features, highlights, materials, inspiration, mood, etc).
  • Research competitor’s products: be sure not to duplicate any names that are already in use.
  • Looking at your description, play with the words you have listed (combine two words, use alphabetic substitution, use foreing words, etc.)
  • Find a background, a story, a common thread that you can also use for naming future products (again Apple names its mobile products with a lowercase i—for example, iPad, iPod, iPhone. Starbucks names its coffee sizes in Italian, etc.)
  • Use focus groups and consumer insights.

Six tips + 1 for avoiding common naming traps

The first phase gave you a list of names. Now the candidates should pass the following tests for winning:

  1. Easy to Remember: your product name shouldn’t be overly complex.
  2. Make it stand out: a memorable product name will help you break through the competitors.
  3. Positive Associations: you should avoid any mis-hear with negative words.
  4. Easy to Pronounce: if a name is hard to pronounce, there’s a strong likelihood of consumers rejecting the product altogether.
  5. Give it a meaning: product names that are easily understood and connected to a meaning are more likely to entice consumers to purchase.
  6. International Audiences: think about how a name will resonate with different audiences.

Before settling on a name, you need to make sure it hasn’t already been taken by others. How? Using Mr Google: search the name in quotes and see the SERP result. In addition, check GoDaddy to see if the domain name is available.

Would you like more about brand and product naming? Are you struggling with this kind of problem, please get in touch.