Naming your baby

Simple advice when naming and positioning your product

The big day is fast approaching. Your palms are starting to sweat, and the nerves are intensifying. You’ve not felt like this since the birth of your business.

It’s now time to launch your first service offering. The pure reseller days, when “name that product” was someone else’s responsibility are officially over.

The big question is: what do you call your new service?

Your first port of call is the trusted Thesaurus where you’re hoping to be inspired.  Or maybe, you go for a walk, or get high – anything to ignite that creative spark.

You convince yourself that the name isn’t that important and that it’s all about feeling the quality.  Instead, you’re left thinking: who am I trying to kid!

A strong, memorable name will help position your product or service. It provides you with the platform to inform your audience what it can do for them and what it stands for. Most importantly, it helps to differentiate you from the competition. It’s the first step, but only a step, in building a brand.

A recent baptism

When looking for a name for its new data availability service, the team at UK-based Predatar partner Silverstring, asked for my advice.  Establishing a foothold in an already crowded market was going to be no mean feat so we needed to think outside the box.  We focused on what was important to the clients which was centred around not just protecting their data, but helping them to get more value from the data. Cost reduction was also high on the list of requirements so all in all, a challenging brief. After much discussion with the creative juices well and truly flowing, we agreed on the name Alchemis Protect™, the concept of turning legacy data assets into liquid gold, whilst ensuring clients can sleep easy knowing their data is protected.

Here are my top 6 tips when naming your product or service:

  1. Do you put your house name on the product?

That depends on whether you called your son “Junior” or “the third”. If you didn’t, we recommend originality unless your company does just one thing – then it’s ok.  It’s also important not to confuse company with product. People buy products and services first. If they like the product then they fall in love with the company, not the other way around.

  1. Avoid similarity with existing products in your space.

Imitation is great if you want to be a “me 2” kind of brand and I’m sure your competition will be flattered.  This kind of approach only serves to reinforce the fact that someone else got their first so try not to ‘copy’.  Be different – don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and go with something completely unique.

  1. Avoid Abbreviations.

Unless you’re IBM, FBI or JFK. IBM could do it because they were already well known. JFK was not called JFK until after he became president. If your product is new, people need to know what it is. An abbreviated name won’t help.

  1. Sound and length.

In the search to be descriptive, we first explore the written word so it’s easy to overlook how it will sound. Don’t worry, your salespeople will soon tell you if it sounds terrible. Names with too many syllables are also a no-no. Guess what happens next? It gets abbreviated.

  1. Naming a service vs. naming a product.

People think about what a product is and does. For a service, try to focus on what it can do for your prospect. This requires you to think like a customer and ignore the oh-so-amazing patent you filed.  The focus needs to be on benefits.

  1. Think Global.

Naming your service “Chicago Cloud Backup” is great if you want to dominate in that city but it won’t do anything for your sales effort in Europe.

Finally, your words must match reality. Don’t over promise with a name your operation can’t deliver on.

Good luck with the launch of your new service.

Happy name hunting!