If you’re looking to name a new company or product, it can be tricky to know how to go about it.

Arielle Jackson of First Round Capital shared a great process for coming up with a name on Lenny’s Podcast.

1. Figure Out Your Positioning

For (target customer) Who (statement of need or opportunity), (Product name) is a (product category) That (statement of key benefit). Unlike (competing alternative) (Product name)(statement of primary differentiation).”

2. Write a Naming Brief

General aims:

  • What are you naming?
  • What do you want the name to communicate?
  • What do you want to avoid?
  • What are the names of competitors and related products?
  • What are the other considerations (e.g. needs to work for Chinese speakers)

Criteria for evaluation (for example):

  • Would it violate any trademarks?
  • Would it be possible to trademark?
  • Is a suitable domain available?
  • Is it distinctive enough?
  • Is it timeless?
  • Is the name reflective or your key messaging or does it suggest an emotion or feeling that you’re trying to convey?
  • Is it fun and easy to say and easy to spell?
  • Appearance – does it lend itself well to visual design?
  • Length – two syllables is a good sweet spot

3. Run a Brainstorming Session

Get 5-7 people together in a room, including founders plus some other interested but disinterested people (at least one or two people with a passion for language are good!)

Spend 1 hour.

Aim is to come up with hundreds of bad ideas and a few good ones.

Part 1 – Riff on words from positioning statement

Take meaningful words from positioning statement.

Generate synonyms, antonyms, free associations, other languages, etc.

Part 2 – Thematic

Pick 7-10 themes related to what the company/product does.

For example, if the product is an app to help with strawberry farming, some good themes might be:

  • Last names of famous farmers
  • The history of strawberry farming
  • Botany 101

4. Do Some Internet / Library Research

Browse through articles / Wikipedia / books related to the subject. Jot down words that might be interesting.

5. Whittle Down to 3-5

You hopefully now have 10-25 concepts.

Now, using the criteria from your naming brief, whittle these down to 3-5 top contenders (not just 1 because you might not get it!)

Categories: Marketing


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