How to name a product or business

Seven Rules for Naming a Product

Are there secrets as to what makes a great product name? During our 20 years of naming, Namebase has developed the following seven key rules for great naming:

  1. Focus. A good name can communicate no more than two ideas. Any more and you will have confused your audience. Remember that the name does not have to communicate everything on its own. Your logo, website, tagline, etc. will support your key name communication.
  2. Unique. The name for your product or service should be distinct from others in your category of products. Oftentimes, a name has only seconds to tell a story and you want it to tell your story, not remind your buyer of the competition.
  3. Memorable. It’s often the linguistics in a name that make it memorable. Things like alliteration (the repetition of a sound within a word) or the use of short or sharp sounds such as the “r” and “x” in Clorox play a key role in memorability.
  4. Engaging. A name includes meaning, sounds and a tone. All of those elements can combine together to create a highly involving name that tells a story, making the product come alive for its customers and prospects.
  5. Easy to say and read. What do Huawei and McAfee have in common? They are both difficult to say and often pronounced differently by different people. When a name is difficult to pronounce, people will naturally shy away from it, for fear of saying it wrong. By the way, it’s “WAH-way” and MAC-uh-fee.”
  6. Future-proof. Remember when names with dropped volumes (Flikr, Tumblr) or cute endings (Napster, Friendster) were ubiquitous? Following naming trends like these might seem like a good idea at the time but as the years go by, trendy approaches can make products appear dated.
  7. Believable. Steer clear of names that make statements the offering cannot possibly deliver. Names that are not believable will fail to inspire the customer confidence necessary to ensure trust and loyalty.