naming a product

The Nine Steps to Great Naming: Part I

Congratulations, you have a new product or service. You’ve poured years of effort and experience into it, and it’s just what the market needs. But, your baby has no name. So, how do you pick a memorable, distinctive and meaningful name–without making yourself crazy in the process? Here are the first four of my nine steps to coming up with a great name.

Step 1: Name Drop

Start by researching the names that your competitors have chosen. This will clue you into what names have been taken. It can also reveal the themes and areas for naming that have not been taken.

Step 2: Be Strategic

Split all the things you want the name to communicate into categories or “buckets.” For example, there could be a “cutting edge” bucket, a “historical roots” bucket, and a “we care” bucket.

Step 3: Go for bulk.

Ready, set, now go fill those buckets up. Start with a big list, and weed it down later. Take the time to thoroughly explore a wide range of directions. Let your creativity flow. But know when it’s time to stop.

Step 4: Set a deadline, then set it aside.

It’s important to have an end in sight. And it’s even more important to be in the right frame of mind when you edit your list of names. So put it away for an hour or a day or a week–whatever you can afford. Then come back to it and edit when you have a fresh perspective.

That’s it for this  edition. Look for steps 5-9 in my next installment when I’ll explain how to “kill your darlings” (as they say in writing) and get to a winning name.

Until then.