How to choose a product name that will attract buyers

It’s time to tackle one of the most important tasks for making your product launch successful— naming it.

You’ve spent months perfecting your product. You’ve done all of your research and tested your product concept. Naming can be a challenging task—whether it’s babies, products, brands, or boats. The process may get emotional or contentious, but you’ll ultimately find the perfect name.

The perfect product name will support a healthy launch, support sales, and increase your brand awareness. But do you know how to name a product? We can help. Read on for tips on giving your product a name that will attract buyers.

What is product naming?

Product naming is the process of brainstorming, researching, testing, and applying compelling and unique names for your products. This may sound easy, but finding the perfect product name can actually be quite tricky.

Why is a product naming strategy important?

There are a lot of moving parts to consider. Your product name will involve how you will compete in the existing marketplace, attract the attention of your target market, and support the message of how your product is part of your overall brand identity. There are several ways successful product names affect your brand:

  • Boosts appeal: a good product name will make your product sound interesting to your target market and give you the edge over competitors
  • Increases visibility: using a unique product name will help your product stand out and help potential customers find it in online searches
  • Competitive advantage: instead of launching your product as a generic equivalent to an existing product, make yours distinct with a name that supports your branding
  • Global expansion: your product name should appeal to customers with a variety of linguistic backgrounds
  • Customer loyalty: a great product name sticks in the minds of the customers so they can recall it easily for repeat purchases
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How to choose a product name that will attract buyers

It’s best to approach naming your product with a plan. Some like to start brainstorming immediately, but that may waste precious time as it tends to be less focused. Instead, try these five steps to organize your process and find the right name for your product:

Step 1: Define product objectives

Is your product a new version of an existing product? Is it the debut of an entirely new product? Align your product name with your marketing strategy for the product by identifying and analyzing:

  • Audience: what kind of name would appeal to the target market for your product? For example, a product geared toward children would have a name with a completely different tone than one aimed at older adults.
  • Competition: if your product is similar to one or more already on the market, study the product names and how customers respond. Always keep your brand identity top of mind as you consider names.
  • Industry: would your name be better served with a name that is conventional in your industry? If not, try something unusual that will stand out.
  • Your other products: do you have a naming convention across your other offerings? Consistent naming can reinforce your brand image and lead to sales of your other products, recognized by similar names.
  • Brand: name your product something that supports your values, philosophy, and brand look. Make sure you stay true to your brand.

Step 2: Brainstorm

After defining your objectives, it’s time to brainstorm ideas. This is an opportunity to gather your team and get creative. Be sure you stick to the product objectives you’ve laid out in the first step. Make a long list of names—write down everyone’s suggestions at this point— and then review the list to narrow it down to the most promising options.

Here are some common approaches to brainstorming product names*:

  • Describe or define the product. Sometimes, it’s beneficial to be straightforward. For example, if your product is a wooden jewelry box, the product name might be “Sam’s Handmade Wood Jewelry Box.” This product name describes how the item is produced and its intended function.
  • Invent new words. You could play with letters to invent words to tie to your brand story, product development, or convey a mood or tone. A printing company might use the name “Inkler” to describe one of its products.
  • Play with spelling. This is a commonly used strategy for naming products. If your company sells an app that helps customers keep track of their spending, it might be called “EZ Accounting.” 
  • Rely on association. Use words associated with desirable attributes of your products. In the cosmetics world, a long-lasting lipstick might contain the words stain, everlasting, tar, shellac, or other words that evoke visions of something that will make the lip color stay in place for long periods of time.
  • Use acronyms or numbers. Items with complicated names, such as technical or mechanical products, use acronyms or numbering in product names. This makes it easier for customers to search for parts or replacements later. An example could be a computer processor named “Smartcore 12.”
  • Add to words. Add to or combine words to make new words that represent your products. We run into these quite often. For our purposes, let’s say that your company makes stationery items and names a new object that holds papers together, a “FlipClip.”

*Please note that all product examples are fictional.

Step 3: Research

Once you’ve narrowed your brainstorming list down, it’s time to do some research. Does your product name align with your brand identity? Does it reflect your marketing goals? Is it appealing to your target audience? Read our concept testing solutions blog post to help you understand our methodology in helping you bring your best products, ideas, and names to the market. 

Research should also be conducted to:

  • Ensure that there are no other products with the same name
  • Make sure you can secure relevant social media usernames and web domains
  • Ensure that there are no unintended negative associations in other languages

Remove any names that don’t make it through your research, and reorder the list that’s left in order of priority.

Step 4: Test

Take your final list of names and conduct market research to determine how potential customers feel about them. The SurveyMonkey Brand Name Analysis tool compares and scores your naming concepts to provide you with qualitative feedback to determine which name is favored by your target market. Review the analysis and settle on your name. Product name testing gives you everything you need to choose the best name for your market. In fact, you can use our concept testing tools throughout the product life cycle.

Step 5: Apply

Prepare the product and brand social media accounts for launch. Purchase domain names as needed. Make plans for eye-catching packaging design—and don’t forget to test your packaging design before launch. Draft new content for your website that features the new product.

Use agile market research and concept testing to help you appeal to your target audience.

Product naming best practices

Still struggling with a product name? We’ve put together a list of best practices to help you develop great ideas. 

Give it meaning

Keep your company mission and values in mind. Use them as guidance for brainstorming—you should be able to come up with several ideas. Choose a name that ties into your brand identity so that it will mesh with your overall marketing strategy.

Keep it simple

Shorter names are generally easier to remember. By keeping your product name short, simple, and easy to spell, your customers will be able to remember it. They’ll also have an easier time sharing it on social media.

Make it memorable

A unique, memorable name will set you apart from the competition. Depending on your market, competition can be tough. A distinctive name will stand out and hopefully be remembered by your customers.

Ensure it’s easy to pronounce

Sure, it looks good on paper, but have you tried to say it aloud? Remember, your customers need to be able to ask about it, talk about it, and recommend it verbally.

Take “anemone,” for example. It’s a lovely word and an even lovelier flower. But did you know that it’s pronounced [uh–nem–uh-nee]? If your name has a similar flavor, pass on it in favor of something easier to say.

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Consider international translations

Plug your name candidates into Google translate. This is an important task that ensures that your product name, even if it’s made up, doesn’t mean something unintended in another language. Yes, “asquerosa” rolls off the tongue—but it means disgusting in Spanish, not something you want to be associated with your product.

Make sure it stands out

If your competitors are clustering around one term in their product names, try to stay away from that term. For example, if you’re marketing a new product for dogs and your competitors have multiple products using the term “bark,” stay away from it. Set your name apart by using other, more inventive words.

Try to get it to evoke a feeling or memory

Tie your brand identity to the product with an evocative name. Use suggestions and metaphors to evoke a feeling in your customers. A restaurant might be called “The Catch of the Day,” which produces thoughts of being near water, fishing, and fresh seafood.

Gauge whether it's easily written and spoken

As we mentioned earlier, your product name should be easy for people to say and simple for them to spell. Ask family, friends, and colleagues to look at the written name and say it aloud or say the name to them and ask them to write it down. If they falter and results indicate the name is problematic, it’s time to go back and find another one.

Aligns with your brand/product category

What is your brand’s vision? What are you trying to accomplish? What values does your brand embody? The answers to these questions influence everything your brand does, including choosing a product name

Some industries have naming conventions for products. If this is the case for you, you have to decide whether to follow the norm or choose a name that’s outside of the conventions. 

Examples of great product names

Dropbox is a file hosting service that offers cloud storage for personal and business use. Its name puts two words together and conveys that you can simply drop whatever you want to store in a box. The company has chosen to name its brand and its product the same thing.

The name makes it sound like a more straightforward solution than some competitors, like Sync.com or pCloud. It stands out from other competitors that use the word “Drive” in their name, like Amazon Drive, OneDrive, and Google Drive.

iPhone, iPad, and iPod are all tech products from Apple. The distinctive element here is the “i” prefix. The first iPod paved the way for an unlimited number of products that will be instantly connected in the customers’ minds with the unique naming convention. And Apple isn’t the only company to do this. Many of McDonald’s restaurant fast food items begin with the prefix Mc-, as in McNuggets and McFlurry, or contain Mac in the name, like the Big Mac.

Windows operating system from Microsoft describes the physical windows that appear onscreen when you’re using it while also representing opening a window into the world. Windows versions also generally use numbers when they update, with the notable exceptions of Windows NT, XP, and Vista. Using a number to identify a version makes it easier to name updates and maintain the name of a familiar product.

Naming a product

Give your product every advantage with a great product name. Follow our steps for coming up with names that align with your brand identity. And then check your list against best practices to make sure you’re staying on track with a great name. 

Don’t forget to use our tool for product name analysis to find out what your target audience thinks of your name choices. 

If you’re still in the early stages of product development, our product concept analysis tool will help you discover what your potential customers want from a product like yours.

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