Welcome to the second edition of our espresso series - fresh, concise articles discussing significant business design and marketing themes.

What’s in a Name?
In this edition of espresso we’re looking at the importance of brand and product naming and specifically the 'Seven Deadly Sins'. If you want a strong name that adds value to your brand make sure it doesn’t suffer from any of these weaknesses:


1. Spelling

If you have to spell your name out loud, it looks like a typo and voice control assistants like Siri or Cortana misinterpret it, it’s a mistake.

2. Copycat
Hijacking another company's original idea isn’t good for your business reputation or for building trust with customers. Copycat names are lazy, lack originality and blatantly ride on a competitor’s coat tails. Trademark infringement can be costly too! Here’s some copycat trends to avoid. _iAnything /_ eAnything/ _uAnything / _The Double-O /_any fruit/ _Cloud / random colour and a noun.

3. Restrictive
Don’t get locked into a name that you may outgrow down the road. Plan ahead, and choose a name that will be a wide enough umbrella to cover your future product and service offerings and don’t use the same name for your company and your product. If you’re launching/refreshing a product and company simultaneously it’s best to name the product first. You can expect your customers to remember only one name so make sure it’s the one that they are buying.

4. Annoying
Avoid customer irritation by making sure your name does not appear forced, random or grammatically incorrect. If you invent a new word for your name be careful it doesn’t sound unnatural. Mashing two words together or mixing up a selection of letters to form a new word rarely works. Another way to irritate is to choose a name that is completely random and meaningless. And remember - initials don’t make good names.

5. Tame
If you want your brand or product name to stand out in a sea of sameness and get noticed (without a massive advertising budget) then you can’t afford to be shy. Descriptive names are dull because they require little imagination. They don’t challenge, excite or mentally stimulate us and because they’re so predictable, chances are these names are already taken. While descriptive names say exactly what your product or company is they reveal nothing about your personality or your brand. Descriptive names do make sense and can be very helpful when your customers are trying to find information quickly and you are offering multiple choices such as FedEX Priority Overnight, FedEX International and FedEX Ground.

6. Curse of knowledge
No one is more of an expert on the company or product that you are naming than you. But when you are communicating with potential customers who are unfamiliar with your world, insider knowledge can be a curse. We can’t unlearn what we know so we find it difficult to think like a new customer. We talk in acronyms, internal shorthand, code words and industry jargon. Don’t alienate potential customers.

7. Hard to pronounce
Do not spell or design your name just with capital letters because people will be confused by the pronunciation. Example, SAP (software) can be pronounced “sap” as in “sad and pathetic”. Employees of SAP’s competitor Oracle love using the “sap” pronunciation, dripping it with sarcasm!

If you’d like to add some extra spark to fuel your search for the perfect name contact us at [email protected] or give us a call on 01256 370 910.

Author: Spencer Ide

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