It’s pretty much a no-brainer that naming your products/services is an important part of your marketing plan. And how to name your product can be a complicated process. Just ask Todd Edelman, Marketing Consultant at Todd Edelman Marketing,
Coming up with a name for your product may be as hard as creating the product itself. But choosing a name that connects with your target audience is extremely important. In today’s day of social interaction online, the catchier and more precise the name, the better it spreads. Remember, exposure is everything, and when you only have 160 characters to get your point across, you better do it well.
In this 21st century world our attention spans are pretty much nonexistent so we’re used to judging anything, from a menu item at a restaurant to a college course, in a matter of milliseconds. When we see a name or an image we identify with or think is funny, witty, smart or interesting, we tend to gravitate towards that product over others. Which is why naming your products can be crucial in gaining clients in general and grabbing users away from your competition.
But what’s in a name? How do you know what name suits your product, your mission statement and will get people interested in what you have to offer? In this post we’re dishing up some tips to help in naming your products. I mean, no one wants to be like the folks over at penisland.net, do you? Which is of course “Pen Island” and not what you were thinking (don’t try to deny it).
How to name your product: Why is product naming important?
The name of your product or products, including the name of your company, defines who you are and what you’re all about. For some companies, like tech companies for instance, names that are witty or are just misspelled and fun sounding tend to be a great way to showcase the personality and tone of the company. Think Tumblr or Reddit. If you’re a philanthropic organization, a camp, or an event organizer, however, you might steer clear of witty and clever names when naming products and in your marketing. While that’s a bit vague, the takeaway is this: what you name your products just like who you hire, represents who you are out in the marketplace. Names represent your mission, what you stand for and what you’re trying to accomplish with your products.
What you name your product is the gateway to both interest in your product and explaining what your product is all about. If one of your programs is a 2 week trip to the Galapagos Islands to study bird migration, you should probably not name your product “Fun in the Sun”! What sun? Where are we going? What are we doing? Isn’t fun in the sun all about relaxing and sunbathing, not learning about birds on an island?
If an applicant isn’t sure which product to order, the name of your products go a long way in generating interest and excitement but also understanding of what you’re offering and can help guide an applicant to choosing the product that suits them best.
Check out some tips below to help guide you in choosing a great name for your products.
Tip #1. What is your company’s “message”?
Are you fun, serious, professional, business oriented? Product names should match your mission. If you do fun educational tours, products should have fun names. If you’re running a conference marketed to business professionals (and perhaps a 30+ crowd) then stick to a conservative, more professional name. The names of your products are part and parcel of your image and your brand. For example, a conference at NYU this June is titled “International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference”. For a university attempting to both be professional and attract a professional crowd in an industry that is all about professionalism and customer service, this name is perfect. It is easy to understand what audience is being targeted (hospitality industry), what the nature and focus of the conference is (an annual gathering of industry professionals) and who can attend (the title says international so it’s clear it’s open to anyone not just US hospitality professionals). This might also add some excitement for domestic professionals since the international aspect of the conference adds to the diversity of the participants and the potential networking opportunities.
Tip #2. Your product names should sum up the main message and intent of your product.
Even if you’re having fun with naming, you should still aim to have a product name that is representative of what the product is about. For a tour of England, don’t have a name like “Find your Prince Charming” — men won’t relate to this, it isn’t specific to England and gives no indication of what the product offers you. Unless of course you’re marketing this product to only women, in their late teens to early 20’s and you plan on touring all countries with eligible princes roaming the streets.
Tip #3. Include practical information in the title to help guide applicants in which product to choose.
Say you offer similar programs but one program is geared towards a certain age group and another is geared toward a certain nationality. Include that in your title! There is nothing wrong with a long title if all the information is pertinent. So if you offer a “2 Week Historical Tour of England” for high school students and one for post college students, you should have a product “2 Week Historical Tour of England; Grades 9 -12” and “2 Week Historical Tour of England; Ages 21+”. Help guide your applicants in choosing which product is right for them without the hassle of reading the in-depth product descriptions in order to figure out which is suitable for them or even which products they are eligible for.
Tip #4. Speaking of product descriptions, this is a critical aspect of helping applicants both connect to your product and choose the best one for them.
Product descriptions should be informative but concise. Especially if an applicant is shopping around, you don’t want to bore them and weigh them down with lengthy product descriptions. Remember earlier when we mentioned our lack of attention spans! A few sentences describing the highlights of the product and what an applicant can expect by participating is all you need. Once they are interested they will read on to get more specific information but a clear and concise introduction is essential and will help applicants engage with you! If we take a look at our NYU example from tip #1 you can see how to write a great and short description! The two sentence description includes great adjectives highlighting the conference workshops, the dates and who is planning it.
Tip #5. Language!
Keep your target audience in mind when naming products and even when writing product descriptions, forms and brochures. If you have an international audience, don’t use phrases or terms that only native speakers or locals would understand. Don’t be witty when your audience is looking for a more professional and clean cut experience. Don’t make jokes or use puns that might offend people even if you and your co-workers find them funny.
Tip #6. Check out your competition.
There is no shame in “borrowing” ideas from other companies that offer similar products. What do you like about their names? Dislike? In the end you should stay true to yourself and your company but it doesn’t hurt to check out what others are doing and either go with that flow or come up with something even more awesome so you stand out. You want your product name to be memorable so you don’t want something that is the same or can be confused with another product. So if you’re not going for the whole “dare to be different” at least make sure your names aren’t the same as the others out there.
Tip #7. Keep it simple!
In general long, complicated and hard to remember names don’t fly with most consumers. If you have potential applicants browsing your website and your list of products, you want the names to reach out and grab their attention not make them skim for a few minutes and forget all about you before they even close the window. This tip goes hand in hand with Tip #2, having a product name that sums up the intent of the product and your company’s overall message. Not all product names can be or should be only 2-4 words, but a product name shouldn’t need 2+ lines on a page to get your point across.
For example, anything for teens or 20 somethings with the words “discovery”, “experience”, “cultural” or “taste of” tend to work well in gaining interest and excitement about your product. These words invoke great images and feelings which will hopefully mirror the actual experience they will have with your product. This age group is probably looking at your organization to have a unique and fun experience. They want to learn, explore, travel, try new things and get out of their comfort zone. Give them a product name that assures them they will have these desires met and gets them excited about your company!
Bonus Fancy Pants Tip!
Do some a/b testing! If you have the time and resources you should look into testing your name choices before releasing your product. At the end of the day, you can pat yourself on the back and say you came up with a great name that you love but it doesn’t mean others will love it too. Get a second opinion. The easiest and most unbiased way of doing this (yes your mom’s opinion is priceless but isn’t always the best source of advice) is investing time in a/b testing.
With the awesomeness of technology today, you don’t even need to get focus groups together. Those are a thing of the past. Now your users can become your focus group! Using an online registration software allows you the flexibility and control to test out names, ideas or whatever you want with your target audience aka your users! Use the stats generated from your users activity to understand what’s working and what isn’t. Go ahead and change the name of a specific product or all your products, as many times as you want, and see which names get more hits, more activity or more of a following!
We can’t help you with naming your product, but we can show you around ours!