How To Name A Product Or Brand

Joe Nafziger // Aug 6 // Insights

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One of the best parts of starting a business or inventing a product is deciding what you're going to call it. Just like the pending arrival of a wee babe, or the adoption of a too-cute-for-words puppy, coming up with the right name is lots of fun mixed with lots of research.

In this post, I'll share an often-used technique for brainstorming and building a list of potential names for your products and/or brand.
What It Is And What It Does
Grab a Steno pad (or a cat with white fur), and draw two columns on it. At the top of one, write "Is." Atop the other, scribble "Does." Now, apply these two words to whatever it is you are trying to name. Do you sell a multi-handled dustpan? Great. Well, it IS plastic. It IS lightweight. It IS easy for two people to hold at once. List those out and keep going.

For the "Does" column, maybe you list out that the dust pan conveys dust and dirt. It cleans (by proxy). It can attach to a broom handle. It scoops, for the love of Pete! So on and so on. At first they will be easy to list. Write as many as you can think of, and then write a few more.

Not only can you use this list to spark headlines, body copy and maybe design ideas for your product or brand, but it helps to take this Is/Does list into the next step of creating your marketable name.
Process and Result
Remember Vince, that coked-up, informercial talking head trying to scream you into buying a particular kitchen gadget? Yeah you do. And you probably remember the products he shills: SlapChop, and ShamWow.

Both names are classic examples of products named by following the "process/result" structure. It's pretty simple. The first half of the name comes from what you do with it—"slap" it to engage the device, or "sham"-my/chamois your countertop to clean it, respectively. That's Process.

The second half of the names come from Result. After you slap, you've got "chop"-ped nuts. After you've used the shammy, everything is clean and dry and you're all, "Wow!" to no one in particular, because you're the only person who ever picks up anything around here.

See what they did there? Process and Result.

Process and Result has been used to name products since probably the Gold Rush. Here is an exhaustive list of other brands and products that follow Process/Result:

DirecTV
Netflix

[Note: sometimes it helps to switch out "process" with "method of delivery". For example, Netflix uses the Internet to splash movies onto your eyeballs.]

Have at it. Go name something. When you've got a list of names that you like, run it through the TESS trademark search engine to make sure you've got something original…or at least original for your industry. No one likes being sued.
Practice Naming At An Upcoming Workshop
Want to learn more about naming and copywriting? Join me for a free workshop, next week. RSVP now as there are just three spots left. Email me at joen@theideabrand.com.

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