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Naming your product

Naming your product

Finding a name for your product is a vital step before launching it on the market.

The name has to be:

  • Unique (not to be accused of unfair competition and be able to differ your product from others)
  • Long lasting (you should take into account the possible evolution of your product including its internationalization)
  • Easy to remember (this is what your customers will have to memorize first)
  • Compatible with your positioning (your brand or product identity)

Product Managers introduce you the 5 essential steps of a product name research.

Step 1: Positioning and differentiation

Before anything else, identify your positioning (target, market issue, solutions offered by your product) and find your differentiation point or unique selling point (why would someone buy my product instead of another?).

Step 2: Be creative!

Taking the results of the first step as a basis, highlight all the related concepts: pictures, symbols, key words etc. This is a step during which you should not put yourself any limit. Explore the universe of your product or brand.

To help you doing this you can use 3 tools

  • The brainstorming: gather people; ideally in your target otherwise employees of your company to produce as many ideas as possible from the product’s concept. The rule of the game is to avoid curbing the participants and to not judge the ideas a priori. You can sort out the ideas by yourself or with the participants in a second round.
  • The Google tool “AdWords”: from the first word identified, Google will suggest relevant words in its research.
  • Dictionaries: “etymological, synonyms or thematic”: they allow to developing new terms from common words.
Step 3: Finding relevant potential names

Starting with the words and concepts you found previously, use the following leads to establish a list of potential names:

  • Describe literally the positioning of your product and its differentiation point (or unique selling point) : Volkswagen was at the beginning “the car of the people” in German.
  • Combine words and concepts (DigiTech = digital + technology)
  • Create an acronym (IBM)
  • Use a relevant symbol (Club Med, Bacchus)
  • Personify your product (Paul Smith, Mc Donald’s)

Note that, often, the most relevant, unique, long lasting and easy to remember names are the ones that don’t have any apparent link with the product: Yahoo, Apple, Google…

Step 4: Establish a short list

Check the availability of the names. You can use the website: ICIMARQUES that gives you the exact results by categories of product.

Check also the availability of the associated url (for your website and email addresses).

You should now be sure that the names of the short list (about 10 maximum) correspond well to your first goal. For that, the ideal is to interview people from your target (or some of your employees that know the market well)

Step 5: Finalization

At this stage, you should only have 4 or 5 potential names left. Ask for a research of similarities (orthography, phonetics, intellectual) to the INPI (National Institute of Intellectual Property). It costs 40€ for 3 categories. If everything goes well, choose the final name according to your objectives, the reaction of the fourth step test and your subjectivity!

The next step will consist in making it being registered by the INPI.

Catherine KOKOREFF

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