How to Name a Product – 10 Tips for Product Naming Success

It’s not easy to name a product. Just as you learned in my previous post about how to name a brand (follow the link to read it if you missed it), you need to do your research, planning, and brainstorming first. My next post will cover all of the research aspects of brand and product naming. First, I’m going to share a variety of tips that brand and product naming experts use to help jumpstart creative thinking.


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creativity roomWhen you need to name a product, not just any name will do. Your product name needs to fit within your broader brand name umbrella while telling its own unique story to consumers. It needs to be memorable, findable (particularly on search engines), unique, understandable, and relevant.

Follow the 10 tips below to make your efforts to name a product more efficient, effective, and creative. Keep in mind, these tips also apply to naming a brand.

1. Be Descriptive

The first place most people start when they have to name a product is to simply create a name that describes what the product does. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer product is a perfect example of a descriptive name. Consumers use it to explore the Internet. It can’t get more descriptive than that!

2. Use Real Words with a Twist

Words don’t have to be used literally in product. They can be suggestive like Ford’s Mustang (it’s fast and sleek) or Ford’s Expedition (it’s built for adventure).

3. Add a Prefix or Suffix

You can turn a common word into a product name simply by adding a prefix or suffix to it. Apple uses this product naming technique all the time with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod offering perfect examples.

stickups4. Create a Compound Word

Since so many brand and product names are already trademarked and the associated domain names have already been registered, it’s very common these days for product names to be compound words made by putting two words together to form an entirely new brand or product name. PhotoShop, TurboTax, and Stickups are great examples.

5. Make up a Word

One way to ensure your product name is unique is to make up a word. Gatorade, Fritos, Doritos, and Tostitos are popular examples.

6. Change Spellings

Products like Trix, Kix, Fantastik, and Liquid-Plumr use real words that are misspelled. It’s creative and helps when the name you want is already trademarked or the related domain names are already taken.

pictionary7. Tweak and Blend Words

When a single word or a compound word won’t do, you can tweak and blend words to create a brand or product name. For example, Nyquil is a tweak and blend of night and tranquil.  Pictionary is a tweak and blend of picture and dictionary.

8. Use a Place or Person’s Name

The Clark Bar was named after its creator, David L. Clark. The George Foreman Grill was named after its celebrity endorser. However, use caution when including a place or person’s name in your product name. A day may come when you want to expand out of that geographic area or the person whose name you used in the product name might leave to work for a competitor or in another industry. Make sure your product name can withstand these types of changes.

9. Create an Acronym or Use Initials or Numbers

Acronyms and initials are short, but they don’t say much on their own. Therefore, you need to exercise caution when you use an acronym or initials in your product name. It typically takes longer to develop brand recognition and comprehension with a name filled with numbers and letters that is difficult to remember. However, many companies have achieved great success in launching products with names that use numbers and letters. Honda’s CRV, Toyota’s Rav4, and even Formula 409 are examples of how this naming technique can work.

10. Use a Verb

You can use a verb as your product name (like Bounce dryer sheets or Apple’s iPod Shuffle) or you can turn a word used in your product name into a verb. For example, the Skype application name has turned into a verb over the years. Today, it’s common to say, “Skype me later and we’ll talk.” The Swiffer product name is also used as a verb sometimes. It’s not uncommon for a Swiffer user to say, “Look at that dust! I have to Swiffer that.”

As you can see, it’s okay to get creative when you name a product. As long as consumers are willing to accept the message and promise that your product name communicates, then you’re on the path to success. That’s why it’s so important that you follow the 10 steps to name a brand (or product) that I provided in my previous post here on the AYTM blog. When you combine those steps with the 10 tips above, you can confidently name a product or brand. For more timeless brand and product naming tips, read 33 Tips and Tactics for Generating Names from Devon Thomas Treadwell on Branding Strategy Insider.

Stay tuned for my upcoming post that will dive into more detail about the research that goes into identifying, testing, and monitoring a brand or product name.


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Images: srioj, Air Wick, Milton Bradley

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of WomenOnBusiness.com, an award-winning blog for business women.

47 Responses to How to Name a Product – 10 Tips for Product Naming Success

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think having your brand name become a verb is a great indicator of real
    success. If your product name can make its way into day-to-day
    language, you know you’ve truly made an impact on your target market. On
    a similar note, if your brand name can become the all-purpose term,
    even for competitor’s or off-brand versions of your product – like
    Kleenex.

  2. Grady Jessup says:

    I’m curious how long names like George Forman and Michael Jordan will be synonymous with the products that bare their names. Through how many more generations will these carry resonance? No doubt these associations helped sell a number of products, but what does the future hold for them?

  3. cscullin says:

    What are your thoughts on naming an Improved formulation of a current product? Is it best to stick with the branded name and just highlight improvements on the label?

  4. Shailesh Singh says:

    minral water product name

  5. Rocky says:

    suggest me name for pregenency test kit

  6. Ritesh Thawait says:

    suggest me for iron syp name

  7. ravi says:

    suggest me a name for my new retail software. pls its urjent

  8. Pugs says:

    I see your saying number one be very descriptive ,but when it comes to naming your product and getting a trademark on it I’m being told you can’t be descriptive from my lawyer why is this ??

  9. ELMIRA says:

    would you please tell me what does “for” in product’s name mean? ”
    such as EAST FOR APPLE”

  10. ajay says:

    pls suggest me a name for my builders hardware product

  11. fag says:

    hey man yall sell laptops?

  12. Shanker Sharma says:

    LAIRIS

    • Syed Abdul Rahim says:

      La-Iris seems to be a good name, which might mean La = No, Iris = Related to eye / sight, i.e., not just for seeing

  13. Hasnain Zabihullah says:

    hi all here,
    I am developing a Hospital Management Software and want you to suggest a name for it.
    Thanks.

  14. Naren Singh says:

    dear, i start electrical product manufacturing , please suggest good brand name that start with P letter

  15. Alpmitshah4545 @gmail.com says:

    Please suggested my creat handwash procdect name

  16. alpha ulm says:

    I have a patent on a dry eye relief mask that treats dry eyes…However, I can’t come up with a unique name. Can someone help me? It will be on the market soon. Send answer to Thealphaeye@charter.net

  17. Amy Deng says:

    We would like to name our new dry herb vaporizer ,do you guys have good idea ?

  18. Rolling Names says:

    Great article! A name should be unique, catchy, simple and powerful.

  19. Mahmudul Hassan says:

    Hair Extension

  20. Mahmudul Hassan says:

    Hair Extension product name

  21. Tammy says:

    Article was great. I don’t know if this is the place to ask, but I’d like help in the naming of 6 products. Where can I find this sort of help?

  22. tarun says:

    i want to launch a umbrella product ,what would u like to suggest a name for my brand

    kindly ,waiting for your reply
    thanks.

  23. Ayub Sherasiya says:

    I want to launch edible oil product. So, please guys suggest me name for that.

  24. SANIL says:

    HI I AM LOOKING FOR A STATIONERY BRAND NAME – OFFICE / SCHOOL & HOME

  25. Chakry says:

    Hi I’m looking for a trendy name for my Reporting & Visualizing tool ..Kindly give suggestions

  26. Bella Swan says:

    The article was great! I’d like help in naming a product. Actually we have a project in which we have to select a product and do marketing. I have chosen nail polish so i need some names which i can promote them with. It should not be similar to what is already taken like Dior,Chanel etc

  27. Psyllakis says:

    Thanks!

  28. bur says:

    This was awesome!!!
    😀
    😛

  29. Shakil Akhtar says:

    Hi
    i am interested for hardware manufacturing & marketing like pad lock door lock and different types lock, so i want unique 4 alphabet name only of my product plz help me…

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