You’ve put in countless hours developing your digital product. Your team has been working around the clock to perfect it in time for the launch date. You’re almost ready. The one thing still holding you up? The name of your product.
Talk to any career marketer, and they will tell you unequivocally that the name matters. Bad names are a pariah across industries (I remember a local restaurant from my hometown called Thai Tanic), but in the tech industry, when customers have endless choices and limited attention spans, a poor name choice can spell disaster. A bad name can create confusion amongst potential users, insult certain demographics, and cause a branding nightmare that slows down adoption rates considerably.
We’ll be kind and refrain from calling out the names that were truly abysmal – just google “worst tech company names” if you are in the mood for some cringe-worthy content. To help you navigate the minefield that is selecting the perfect name for your product, we’ve curated a number of questions to ask when you’re considering your name options:
- How will this name look if it is shortened? Acronyms and nicknames are inevitable, so double check that the product’s initials don’t result in a faux pas and that abbreviated version of the product name is acceptable.
- How will this name be received in 5 years? Think ahead a bit, and consult members of the younger generation, to make sure you aren’t accidentally co-oping the newest slang. If you want your product to last, the name should be able to as well.
- How was this name used 5 years ago? Similarly, consider the historical context for the name that you choose. Many words’ and phrases’ meanings shifted over time.
- Is the URL available? You’ll want people to be able to find you easily, so make sure the domain name is free for the taking. If you’re product name is multiple words, make sure they are readable (and not unintentionally offensive) when strung together.
- Is it difficult to say and/or spell? To avoid confusion, we recommend you keep the name simple – creativity is great, but people need to be able to pronounce and spell out your product name with relative ease.
- How will it look as a logo? Involve your design team early on in the brainstorm so that you don’t select a name that will lead to an ugly logo.
- What if you add another product? Will the name make sense if it becomes part of a family of products? Focus on both your short-term and long-term business strategy when you develop the branding.
- Is the product going to be used internationally? A term that may be acceptable in one country could be wildly offensive in another, so keep in mind the countries in which you plan to do business.
Once you have answered these key questions, focus on a name that reflects these two qualities:
- Aligns with your company’s culture and values
- Embodies a valuable selling point
By focusing on these two elements, your users will be able to easily connect your name to the product’s value, and will build awareness for all of the right reasons – not because you’ve made the “worst company names of the year” list. Remember that the product name is just one component of your overall branding strategy and doesn’t need to encompass the entirety of your company’s vision. Tag lines, product descriptions, marketing materials, and the array of content you’ll develop to market the product will do the heavy lifting.
As Director of Marketing, Rikki is responsible for sharing 10Pearls’ story with the world. She approaches every marketing campaign with the same philosophy: clear language is smart language, and compelling narratives are the basis of every successful business and brand.
Prior to 10Pearls, Rikki worked for a B2B marketing and PR agency and a number of DC-based technology start-ups.
She earned her graduate degree in creative writing from University of Utah and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia. Her writing has appeared in Business Insider, Forbes, Mashable, Inc., Newsweek, and Fast Company.