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