Ready to launch your product and take your business to the next phase? The name you choose for your product will greatly impact your success.
In this article, Ken Poulin, intellectual property expert and owner of Evermark Trademarks, shares his expertise on five ways to create a great product name.
5 Ways to Create a Great Product Name
In a crowded name scape, deciding on a product name can be hard. Including the product type in the name may seem logical, but this approach can lessen its commercial appeal. The goal should be to adopt a name that can serve as a brand because brands have broad appeal, and names are narrow and limited. In a virtual and online world, your product name is not local, it must compete with other names in a crowded Internet environment. So, you would need an exceptional name that points customers to your product. Here are five tips for creating a product name highlighting your unique brand.
Include a Unique Term in Your Name
Many names include a consumer product and a modifier, such as Joy’s Candles, West Side Sub Shop, and Fashion Girl Clothing. Attaching a modifier (Fashion Girl) to a descriptive word (Clothing) does create a product name. However, that name is not original enough to be a memorable brand that carves out a unique space for your product. Any product name should include a unique term that enhances its overall brand appeal. Better brand versions of the above names would be: Fireside Candles, Meathead Sub Shops, and Lookfly Clothing.
Avoid Geographic Names and Locations
It can be tempting to create a geographic product name like: Kelowna Wine Tours, Canadian Salmon Treats, Kitsilano Boat Rentals, or Stanley Park Shoe Company. Using place names quickly identifies the target market and immediately narrows a name’s brand appeal. It is worth noting brand names increase in value along with your business, and you cannot acquire exclusive commercial rights to geographic names, which impacts the ability to protect your product name or register it as a trademark. Unless your business operates in a hyperlocal way, it needs a name that does not impose brand limitations before you even begin.
Do Not Use Generic or Descriptive Terms
Generic and descriptive terms are not effective in setting one product apart from another because they are unoriginal: so, they diminish the brand potential of names that include them. There are many types of generic and descriptive terms, including descriptors (beautiful, chilly) laudatory terms (expert, first class), localities (downtown, main street), surnames (Jones, Wong), numbers and single letters. Absent an additional unique element, generic and descriptive terms should be avoided when the goal is to create a product name with broad commercial appeal.
Research the Name
It is easier than ever to know if a proposed name is already in use. First, research identical matches with an online search engine. If there are no exact matches, search the unique part of the name in related areas. Let’s say your name is Sweet Tots Clothing: search ‘Sweet’ and ‘Tots’ for terms like shirts, accessories, bags and shoes. Also, access the free search at the Trademarks Office for identical and similar trademarks, or order a NUANS report (Newly Updated Automated Name Search) that combines useful information on trademarks and business names. Of course, if you find identical or highly similar results, you may need to go in a different direction.
Be Creative – Invent a Name
Names that are invented, or ‘made up’ create great brands because they do not exist for another product – making them unique at inception. You can invent a name entirely, like ‘Lululemon’, combine two words in a unique manner, like ‘Microsoft’ (micro computer and software) or spell a word in a new way, like ‘Segway’ (segue). A unique name could also be composed of a word or words in another language (but not the word for your product in that language). Since invented names are immediately distinctive, they are also better suited for registration as business names and trademarks, and more enforceable.
It may seem like every name is already taken out there. However, if you incorporate the above tips, you will be well on your way to creating a name that can live in the consumer market as your own, unique brand.
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