Choosing the name of your product is not only a strangely exciting accomplishment, it’s also a vital point in the process, and because it comes so early in the process, it can be a bit of a challenge. (We’re happy to say we finally have a name for our program that teaches skinny guys like me how to gain 20 pounds of muscle in 10 weeks. Yes!)
The reason it can be so tough to choose a product name is that to effectively name a product, you basically have to predict the future. This is the proverbial basket you’re going to put all your eggs in. Changing your product name midstream isn’t very easy. Down the road it isn’t terribly hard to change your offer, your featured benefits, your
pricing, even your packaging, but your product name is often your brand and changing a brand is like changing your face and name and expecting all your friends and family to recognize you still – it’s pretty hard to do.
So choosing a good product name the first time is important.
To better ensure a hit, we’ve isolated a few things we have found contribute to a more commercially effective product name. Here they are:
1. Make it Compelling
A name isn’t much good if it doesn’t incite interest. Boring names? No good. Predictable names? Foh-get about it. It has to be interesting. A product’s name is essentially it’s pick-up line. It’s the window dressing. It’s generally what customers first notice, so it better be good.
And keep in mind, this doesn’t need to be compelling to everyone — just to your target audience. We want to target younger males who have struggled to put on muscle, and are looking for a way to change that. Finding a name that provokes interest for this group is our goal. We don’t care if it’s not compelling to already bulky guys, or women, or small kids — we just want to target the skinny guys out there.
2. Make it Memorable
Remembering a product name is a good thing too. And that comes in two ways: being ABLE to remember, and wanting to remember it. For example, “The PVX899F28 Muscular Tissue Enhancement and Modular Constructive Instructional Regiment” is probably not going to be very easy for consumers to remember (other than a computer, that would be hard for anyone to remember). It’s also not very interesting, so who would even want to memorize it? We wanted a name that our target customer not only remembers but actually has a hard time forgetting.
3. Make it Illustrative
A product name ideally will describe or explain to some degree what the product is. Our brains aren’t much different than a computer’s in that we want to put things into logical categories to help in understanding and recall. Giving some indication of what the product does can go a long way to getting people to engage with your product.
For our target audience, we determined results and speed (quick muscle growth) would be the most important things to focus on, so that’s what we worked on incorporating into our product name.
4. Keep it Simple & Short
As with the example above, no one is going to remember an overly long or complex name. It works this way in just about anything in commerce, from product names to movie titles to campaign slogans. Do you remember the name of that movie a few years ago starring Brad Pitt about the death of the outlaw Jesse James? Neither do I, because it was just too blasted long (in case you’re curious, I looked it up — the title was actually “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”. Thanks, IMDB.com) If there’s too much going on, that lazy part of people will kick in and essentially kick out your chances of making a sale. KISS is the rule here – Keep It Simple,
5. Use Alliteration or Rhyme
This one isn’t essential, but it’s a great little trick to make you name that much more memorable and compelling.
If you’re not a word junkie like me and you don’t remember from 11th grade English class what alliteration is, alliteration is essentially creating a phrase with each word (or close to it) starting with the same sound. For example, Wreck-it Ralph (love that show) is an alliterative movie title. “World of Warcraft” also uses alliteration (which I have no doubt has led in part to it’s huge success). Coca-Cola, Palm Pilot, Red Bull Rampage, Pound Puppies, Samsung, Cirque du Soleil, Caesar salad and many other products benefit greatly from alliteration.
Rhyming can also be effective, but this one is tricky. Overdo it and your product can sound gimmicky or silly. Take caution when using rhyme. Unless you’re writing a children’s book, you don’t want it to sound too much like a nursery rhyme. So before you fall for what seems like a catchy name, give it time and be sure to step back emotionally and really scrutinize whether it’s appropriate. If it is, do it to it.
6. Needs to Have a Corresponding Web Domain Available
Finally, you want it easy to find on the internet.
This is an additional consideration that really has only been relevant for the last 15 years or so. Before then, this didn’t matter a bit, but now, it’s crucial. Sure, the average consumer can type your product name into a search engine and hopefully track it down (assuming you successfully do a bunch of other things in terms of optimizing your online search results, which we’ll be addressing soon enough with this project) but the last thing you want is for someone to either give up trying to find you or worse yet, buy a competing product with a similar name because that’s what the search produced. Instead, you want someone to be able to simply remember (this goes back to “memorable”) the product name and just type in TheName.com and get your product site immediately. People tend to be a little lazy, so the easier you can make it to get to your product, them more people will buy it.
As we workshopped names for our product, we found several of our first choices were already taken, so we rejected them and kept trying. We weren’t surprised — the fitness space is highly competitive and subsequently very crowded. But after some head scratching, domain checking, exploring and then scratching out possibilities, changing approaches, and finally deciding upon a short list of suitable candidates, we chose our name.
We will be calling our muscle building program, 20 in 10, and accordingly have reserved the corresponding domain 20in10.com. (we talk about the process of reserving the domain here.)
20in10 is definitely short, it’s simple, it’s easy to remember, it’s compelling in its slightly paradoxical nature (20 doesn’t fit in 10, so the brain wants to analyze it for a solution), it’s alliterative and the domain was available (which shocked us – that’s one for the win column!). It’s a great name for a program that teaches skinny guys how to gain 20 pounds in 10 weeks.
We’re pretty stoked to finally have a name for our program — one step closer to what hopefully will be a successful product and online marketing campaign.