What does your product or company name really say to your customer? What kind of image does it invoke? I was recently asked to be a subject matter expert on a panel to evaluate presentations for some local entrepreneurs who were seeking institutional funding. While the product ideas definitely had merit by fulfilling a defined customer need, the names did nothing to tell consumers what the product benefit was or why they should buy it. So here are a few thoughts to consider when you name your product.
Consider what problem it solves or what benefit the customer will receive and dub your product with a creative name that conveys this. Endust furniture polish helps you end dust. The Ove Glove is a potholder with finger slots like a glove. Oven -> Ove -> Glove = Ove Glove. A local dance studio here in Dayton is called FunkLab. Any idea what type of dance they do? This also works for online businesses. What do you think ShoeDazzle.com sells? I think you see the point.
Consider this idea too, if you plan to be a consultant. For example, Brock and Associates, or Brock Consulting Firm means nothing because it tells the consumer nothing about what the company does. Old school thinking says you should use these terms because you appear to be more than just you. Well, these days, it IS ok to be just you. You just need to have a solid team of experts in areas where you are not the expert. Collaboration is the key and if you’re really going to be a consultant, you should have a solid base of these peers before launch.
If you really do need to have Brock and Associates, or for some reason, your product name can’t adequately describe what you’re offering, consider using a tagline: Miller Lite – Tastes Great, Less Filling …or… BMW – The Ultimate Driving Machine. My personal favorite was an ad for Porsche that borrowed the tagline for Raid: Porsche – Kills Bugs Fast.
How about sensational spelling? You can also put a creative spin on a word. Again, the name tells something about the product that is relevant and meaningful.
Fantastik does a fantastic job cleaning kitchen counters. Trix are for kids and so are tricks. Mortal Kombat is a video game about…well… And finally, my name is Suzanne and I’m a doctor of marketing so I am Dr. Seuzz (like Dr. Seuss) and yes this is a shameless self-plug (insert snarky grin and wink)
Finally, if you’re going to market your product in countries that speak a different language, then do your research. Pepsi’s tagline, “come alive with Pepsi” didn’t exactly hit the mark in China, where some took it to mean “bring your ancestors back from the grave.” HMMMM, zombie apocalypse? Ford had a tough time marketing their Pinto wagon in Brazil since the term Pinto is a slang term for male genitalia in their language. Another way to look at this, Iranian Paxam Company produced a laundry soap called “Barf”, which means “snow” in Farsi. If you speak English, would you wash your clothes in a product labeled barf?
In closing, think of your product name like you would if you were naming your child or your pet. Choose something meaningful, unique, and indicative of what the essence of your product is. Use a tagline, if needed, to enhance or clarify your product offering. Your product name, and tagline if necessary, need to convey to your customers what they will be receiving from it, whether it be the tangible benefits, the experience, or the status of what you are providing.
Do you have any favorite hits or misses when it comes to product names or tag lines?