How To Name A Product
Many of the principles outlined on our company names process page are true for generating product names too, so be sure to read that page first.
When naming a product, you will typically have much more flexibility, much less pressure–but also potentially more cooks in the kitchen–than when naming a company. A product naming team for a medium-to-large company typically consists of a group from the marketing department, augmented by a product manager for the product to be named, and sometimes others such as engineers and sales reps. Again, as with company naming, you want to keep the number of participants in the process as low as possible, which is often difficult when so many stakeholders want to take part. To avoid chaos, somebody will have to take charge, and you will have to determine a protocol of balancing group debate vs. controlled steering of the process.
Products come and go, as do product names. Don’t let that lull your team into a state of complacency, however. Just because a product cycle might only last a couple years, doesn’t mean that, in the exact words of many a product manager, “the product is so good, it will sell itself. Let’s just give it any old name (or model number) and move on to counting the money.” In today’s hyper-competitive world, it just doesn’t work like that. Every name of every product is competing for the attention of its increasingly brand-fatigued core customers, who are exposed to many thousands of brands and messages each day. How will you cut through all that media clutter? That is the challenge facing any product naming team, and it should be the top criteria of your project: that the name for this product must somehow differentiate itself enough from everything else in the marketplace to make your customers stop, even for just a few seconds, and think about it, ask questions, be intrigued enough to want to know more. If you can do that, you have succeeded mightily.