Frankly, a lot.
I’ve been in the midst of naming a new product my company is debuting moderately soon. It occurs to me during this process how difficult it is to actually come up with a moniker that encapsulates the product benefits, has a certain cache and is generally agreeable by all the people who have to finalize it.
Naming things might be the most important part of a product. Lately, I’ve been reading the Branding Strategy Blog. Today Jack Trout had a good post on the importance of names. This is one of the sexy aspects of marketing as well. I believe that the majority of people begin their paths toward professional marketing to do the sexy stuff. The advertising, commercials, naming products and services…etc. All those things sound like a lot of fun. And they can be. But they aren’t quite as fun when it’s no longer practice, but millions of dollars hinge on the decision. All of a sudden what seems fun is actually pretty tough.
So why is it so difficult to name things? Beyond the fact that there is a lot at stake, a lot of the good names have been taken. As pointed out in Trout’s post, there are millions upon millions of copyrights now. We have to take care in naming anything now; no one wants to be sued.
Just like naming a child, naming a product is a monumental decision. Unlike naming a child, you can later alter or completely re-brand a product or service (OK you could rename a child, but work with me here). A name holds connotations for all of the feelings someone can feel about that product. It shouldn’t be something that the quality of the offering has to overcome. Roses wouldn’t be renowned as they are if they were called stenchblossoms. And don’t name your child something that they’ll have to overcome either. I won’t name names because I’m bound to offend someone.
So what makes a good name? What makes a bad one? That’s a good question; certainly something that I’ll need to address soon.