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Thursday, January 11, 2007

What's In a Name?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

These Guys Are Good!

So we started a new project at work today - trying to rename a product. Sounds like a pretty simple task but I've got to say there's a pretty significant learning curve. We're using a company called NameStormers. This company has worked with many of the heavy consumer hitters like AOL, CarMax, and others to name new products, companies and the like.

I was so impressed with our contact who is one of the principals and founders of NameStormers, and he personally contributes to every naming project. Mike has over 30 years of experience in marketing and marketing research, including more than 20 years of experience in the branding and naming business.

Mike discussed the marketing process of developing a new name. Once we created a brief and identified our goals, he explained additional details about the process. Before I knew it, he was asking marketing related questions that few ever ask and really delved into our business, our objectives and the sales model.

He touched on a few very important points when it comes to naming a new product. The first was that the name itself didn't really need to follow our traditional naming convention, that it had to be unique - shouldn't have the company name included and shouldn't be more than a word or two max. It has to be memorable!

Additionally, it should be aspirational. The example he gave was Hormel's lunchables? When it launched, was it really a meal replacement? No... it was crackers and cheese - but Hormel admitted its reality and promised to move towards the vision of a meal replacement.

Another example was Apple with iPhone. They launch products knowing that they need to be improved but based on a promise of dominance and being the best in the market.

The last part of the discussion really focused around the one key attribute that we want people to think of when they are exposed to the product name. The example here is Volvo (safe). Another example would be Nike (athletics) or Starbucks (coffee). When brainstorming a name, you need that name to reflect the outcome your product or service stands for and promises!


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