Although it might sound like a small step, naming a product can often be a very tough task in a brand-building process. By creating the product name you’re also consciously or unconsciously creating the product’s image, price, target audience, associations in customers’ minds and their expectations.
Therefore, using some product naming tips can help you build a brand, position your store on top of the Google search and increase sales.
Disclaimer: Although deep branding studies indicate differences between naming a product and a business, this guide is written in a way to combine mutual characteristics, thus it can be used for both – naming a product and a dropshipping store.
What makes a good product name?
There are many theories about what a good name should look like, and most of them are partly right and partly wrong if we take them as an exact formula. That’s because creating a good name takes not only a recipe but creativity, courage, risk, and luck.
Still, marketing and brand experts agree on some common characteristics that should be considered when creating a name. In the following text, we’ll primarily focus on things important for dropshipping brands, taking into account lower budgets and high competition. Having all that in mind, a product name should be:
1. Unique above all
So once you’ve found a winning product, you’ve created a great ad, you’ve targeted the right audience, all that’s left is getting your customers to see the ad and buy it. Unluckily, the first thing almost everyone does after seeing an interesting product is, not really purchasing it, but trying to find the same thing at a cheaper price.
Since no one sane wants to spend his/her money on advertising the products that will be bought from someone else then, being the one who appears on top of the Google search results is a crucial reason for the dropshipping success.
By choosing a unique name, you’ll get the advantage of having fewer businesses to compete with for ranking on Google search, which will save you money and attract customers.
After the customer sees your add and googles the product, you’ll be the only one appearing for that search. That will give them the sense of a strong, reliable brand and assumption that your store is the only place where they can buy it.
By choosing a unique name, you’ll get the advantage of having fewer businesses to compete with.
Although descriptive product names are more likely to appear when someone types in a keyword for your product, descriptive names don’t promise the top 5 places in the search listing. Rather they ensure an expensive and exhausting battle with the rest of the stores.
Therefore, save the keywords for headers, descriptions and tag lines, and choose something unique to reduce competition and expenses.
A name itself should trigger the right emotions and send the right messages to your customers, depending on the type of product you sell and the target group you’re aiming for. Ask yourself – does the name say who is it for? What are its benefits? How should it make you feel?
Ask yourself – does the name say who is it for? What are its benefits? How should it make you feel?
Let’s take the example of Nike. Nike is the name of the Greek goddess of victory, thus Nike communicates the message of winning, achievement, and success. Following the same principle, Hyundai wanted to send a message of a futuristic company that strives to provide progress for humanity, so they took a name that in the Korean language stands for “modernity”.
A lot of the good names are playful in a way, so they keep customers’ attention and make them solve a little puzzle when they hear it. Playful names are more catchy, amusing and easier to remember. Still, a too complicated name can have a totally opposite effect, causing confusion and making it too difficult to recall.
An example of a thought-provoking name is Wiktionary, a compound noun made of two words: Wikipedia and dictionary. The name origin is pretty obvious to everyone still more catchy and amusing than simply calling it Wikipedia dictionary.
A name should indicate the purpose of the product. By creating a metaphor in customers’ minds, it becomes easier to remember the name and connect it with the product. A suggestive name can point out not only the purpose but also the product’s characteristics or benefits.
Examples of good suggestive names are Todoist, Evernote or Post-it.
By creating a metaphor in customers’ minds, it becomes easier to remember the name and connect it with the product.
Except you have a really huge budget set aside for brand building, try avoiding meaningless words.
They certainly were good choices for some companies like Kodak or IKEA, because totally made-up words with no meaning give the brand a privilege to start with a blank page, with no connotations connected with the name, and therefore to create a brand as they want it to look like.
It’s also a plus for trademarking, but for dropshipping products, we suggest you stick to the relevant names because it will cost you less and give faster results.
Of course, following all of these characteristics is not a straightforward formula for success, and while following all of them at once is not so easy thing to do, make sure you strive to implement as many as you can, in order to increase your ranking and sales eventually.
8 Tactics to create a product name
Let’s now take a look at some of the techniques to come up with a great name. We’ve chosen to present to you the ones that are suitable for dropshipping businesses – techniques that help you create a unique but still meaningful name. You can use just one or combine more of them, it’s totally up to you – it’s brainstorming time!
1. Blended names
Blended names are developed by combining two words. You can create a blended name by making a list of words that can be used to describe your product or that are connected somehow with the product and its functions. Use emotions, benefits, associations, features, and more. Then try to make up a new term by combining two different words.
Create a blended name by combining emotions, benefits, associations, and feature that describe your product.
Some of the companies that used blanded words for their names are Microsoft – as the company devoted to microcomputer software, or Pinterest – combining the words “pin” and “interest”. They could have called their company “pin your interest” as well, but blended names are commonly used because they are more catchy, original, interesting and easier to remember.
2. Metaphorical names
Metaphorical names use real words that serve as a metaphor for their brand or product. This method is interesting because metaphorical names already have their meaning in language.
“Dove” cosmetics chose this word for their brand because it represents something white, pure and innocent and symbolizes love and peace. Jeff Bezos named his company “Amazon” after the world’s most voluminous river, indicating the potential for a larger volume of sales in an online bookstore.
Still, have in mind that using metaphorical words isn’t cheap and it’s often challenging to rank organically on Google, which you should take into consideration when using this naming technique. However, they can be used in combination with some of the other techniques or in combination with your company name.
Metaphorical names are expencive and challenging for ranking on Google.
3. Misspelling or twisted names
Get creative and spice it up a bit by using a normal word that represents your product or brand but with twisted writing. It’s interesting, original, can sound better than the word of origin, and useful for Google ranking.
That’s how Lyft got its name as well as Reddit, Fiverr, and Vimeo.
4. Translated names
Look for the name inspiration in other languages as well. In the Latin language, “Volvo” means “I roll”, while the “Lego” name was formed as a combination of the Danish words “leg godt”, which means “play well”.
However, it is also important to do a cross-cultural analysis before launching a product. It may happen that the name you’ve chosen also has a meaning in some other language, which may have a negative connotation and can potentially harm the image of your brand.
Make sure the name doesn’t have a negative connotation in some other language.
Even the big players made this mistake, thus Honda named their new model Honda Fitta with a slogan “Small on the outside, big on the inside”. Unfortunately, too late they discovered that “fitta” is the name for female private parts in Sweeden, Norway, and Denmark which cost them thousands of dollars for rebranding.
5. Names with added prefix or suffix
One more naming technique consists of adding a prefix or a suffix to a word that represents the product. Just like Shopify or Spotify. Apple also used this technique for naming its products iPhone, iPad, and iPod.
Prefixes and suffixes can be added arbitrarily or because of the specific meaning or connotations they have. For example, the suffix -ex usually signifies “expert” or “excellency”, thus we have Rolex, Kleenex, and Windex. Suffixes -elle or -ella are usually used for feminine and gentle products like P&G’s Naturella.
To get inspired, take a look at the top trends of the moment. These days, popular names often end with -ly, -io, -able, -ify…
6. Names from cut words
Opposite to the previous technique, a product name can be formed by removing a part of the longer word that describes it. It can be either a beginning or a word ending. That’s how Excel (from “excellent”) and Acura (from “accurate”) got their names.
7. Rhyming names
Just like 7-Eleven, FireWire, and StubHub sound appealing, using a rhymed name can enhance your success cause human brains easily remember rhymes. Moreover, these names are recognized as funny and unusual, which increases its possibilities to be remembered by customers.
8. Names made of verbs
Running out of nouns that describe your product? Try using a verb instead. It’s different, it’s innovative and can be very suggestive at the same time. In this manner, Apple named its product “iPod Shuffle” while Asics named its product line “Gel-Excite”.
4 bonus tips
Sure, creating a good product name is easier said than done, so for the end of this post, we give you 4 bonus tips to help you in the brainstorming and decision-making processes in order to come up with a suitable name for your product.
1. Brainstorm like a master
Take a block of sticky-notes, a pen, and a stopwatch, and try to write as many words as you can in 15 minutes that can be related to your product. Without evaluating, without judging, write down anything that comes to your mind, because there are no stupid ideas in brainstorming!
One of the useful techniques to generate ideas is Mind mapping. After the time is up, try to create potential product names by using the words you wrote and the naming techniques written in this post.
2. Write an advertising headline
If the brainstorming from no starting point doesn’t work for you, try writing a headline or a short text that describes your product. Then use the words you mentioned in the text and make a product name by following the techniques written above.
3. Helpful tools
Your best friends in this product-naming process are probably going to be Thesaurus.com and Oxford dictionary, which will help you find the synonyms and uncommon words that you can use.
Moreover, there are hundreds of different name generators available online. Even if it might happen that you don’t like any of the names they suggested, you can still use their “way of thinking” and generate some ideas and synonyms to create your own product name.
4. Go outside the building!
After the brainstorming and generating the top 3 names that you can apply, use the wisdom of the crowd and interview as many people as you can about your name ideas. Approach your family members, friends and if possible real customers of your product and you’ll see which name fits your product most.
Besides asking a question “Which one do you like more?” ask them about associations the name gives them, how they imagine the product called like that, how much it costs, for whom it is meant, whether it is easy to pronounce and remember, and you’ll see if you’re on the right track.
Let’s get the party started
With all of this being said, it’s time for some hands-on knowledge. You have all the tips and shortcuts that you need and instead of saying “I’m not creative enough”, think of the product-naming as one more skill that you can gain by experimenting and practicing.
Give a name to one product and then to one more, and you’ll see that each of the following will be easier than previous. For all the questions and feedback on the created names, you know where to find us 😉