Think that naming your brand new product will be easy? Think again. One the hardest hurdles that any inventor may face is coming up with an original, appealing, and descriptive product name. Consider that company branding has gone from the creative to the bizarre over the last two decades, finding a product name that hasn’t already been taken or somehow doesn’t violate someone’s trademark may also prove to be quite challenging. Below, we’ll talk about a few things to avoid and a few thing to incorporate when trying to find that perfect product name.
Numbers and Versions
You just happen to name your newest product the X7 or Mark III. Immediately, questions might pop into the minds of your potential customers, “What happened to the other X1′s through X6’s”? Then again, your customers may be left wondering what the difference is between your Mark I and Mark II compared to your new Mark III. As if that isn’t confusing enough for your customers, maybe you decided that your newer products will have lower number ranges than your older products. Play it safe, avoid numbers and versions of your products unless you happen to be a well established company like Nikon or Nokia.
Going Descriptive with your Product Name
Descriptive names are great for new products. A perfect example is the GoPro Hero wearable camera for sports enthusiasts and your aspiring film directors. First the company name, “GoPro” makes you feel like their products will put you into a more professional realm and it sounds just plain cool. Second, the model “Hero” makes it sound that if you wear this portable camera that you might potentially be the hero of any video you happen to record. Go descriptive and chances are you’ll improve the odds of your invention idea selling.
If you are looking for a high end product name that conveys a sort of luxurious lifestyle associated with using your invention idea, then consider using a person’s full name. Furniture designers tend to name classic furniture pieces after their clients. On the other hand, should your inventions be popular enough, you might be able to start branding everything with Your Name. You might just be the next Louis Vuitton of inventing.
Creating a Piece of Identity in the Product Name
Wouldn’t it be great if you could make your invention a part of your customer’s identity? Don’t know what I mean? Some perfect examples are the differences between Mac and Windows users or between iPhone or Android users. Clearly, each product is seen as a prestige piece within a customer’s identity. Ask yourself how you can potentially leverage your invention idea product name to become the next great prestige piece.
Acronyms are great for well established companies with well established brands. Take for example VW. Most of us know that VW actually stands for Volkswagen. How about BMW, another famous car company? Well, BMW stands for, uh…? Bayerische Motoren Werke AG or English, Bavarian Motor Works. Okay, so that one was harder and most of us probably didn’t have a clue as to what BMW stands for which leads us to a problem. Using acronyms for your inventions when you have just started out with an unknown product might not be the way to go. Imagine if you came up with a product that you sold as RCA which stands for Really Clever Actuator in your case. Little did you know that there are 54 difference abbreviations out there for RCA. Check out www.abbreviations.com where you can search for a variety of acronyms and their meanings to help avoid potential customer confusion when it comes to your product.
Welcome to the ‘i’ World
It seems like everyone with a new application or Apple related product are attaching an ‘i’ to the front of their product’s name. Some perfect examples of products that we use on a daily basis here are iProcrastinate and iAnnotate. If your product is software related or techie related, then you might want to think about whether attaching the ‘i’ to the front of your product name will help it get better visibility on the market.
Want to go international with your product? You might want to start thinking about how your product name translates into the the language of your target international market. A classic example was Kentucky Fried Chicken’s famous slogan, “Finger licking good”. The phrase sounds great in English but when they tried to use the slogan in China, customers avoided KFC like the plague. The reason? “Finger licking good” had been translated into “eat your fingers off”. Clearly, not an appetizing slogan for a food related product. A common solution to avoid any sort of translational suicide may be to come up with words that are common yet slightly modified such as Flickr. Then again, you could dust off your Latin or archaic language dictionary for a name that might sound appealing yet lessens the chances of losing something in the translation.
Pronounceable Product Names
Is your brand name easy to pronounce? If you have a brand name that can only be said if you have marbles in your mouth, then chances are, it’s probably not the world’s greatest name. A really interesting site where you can generate random possible product names based upon a few keywords that describe your product is www.netsubstance.com. Sure, 95% of the product names that NetSubstance pulls up might not be relevant but you never know – there might just be a gem in there too.
Then again, if you have the capital, you can always hire a branding company out there to give you a list of a few dozen potential product names. Just be cautioned, it will set you back quite a sum of money but the end results will likely be worth it.
Product Name Obsolescence
Even with the best product name that you could come up with and trademark may not necessarily mean that your product will be recognized as unique forever. Classic examples of this scenario include both Band-Aids and Kleenex tissues. Both of product names are used as generic terms to mean an adhesive bandage and a tissue, respectively. Then again, both of these products proved extremely successful when they first started out, as well.
Trademarking the Impossible
Some product names simply can’t be trademarked because they are far too common. If you want to check to see if your product name is available you’ll want to look at trade journals, product directories, take a trip to your local business school’s library, do an internet search, or break down and hire an attorney to do a trademark search for you. Either way, doing a search of your potential product name first will save you major headaches in the future particularly in terms of avoiding potential trademark infringement legal woes.
Now get out there and come up with the perfect product name for your newest invention ideas.