Who “blew” it? How ironic. The widely reported prediction today, that Microsoft’s linchpin product is “in danger of collapsing,” comes on the heels of criticism for the corporate giant naming a beta product the “Blews.” Not a sunny Vista (sorry I couldn’t help myself) but a double whammy to give Microsoft the blues, again. The next irony? Blews is billed as the next step beyond “typical news-aggregation sites” to help readers of political blogs, “see the view from the other side.”
Are you about to name your new group, product, program, company, cause, or service? Worse yet, is a committee involved in crafting the name? If you are changing a well-known name, why? Refurbished image? Re-naming after a merger? From some adept naming pros, here’s some tips that may save you some public embarrassment or financial grief.
Success story: This spring, “a 16-year-old company that sells air to ground telecommunications equipment to airlines, will launch a broadband wireless service for twitchy airplane passengers who need their Internet fix at 40,000 feet.” Gleeful Igor, created for their client, Aircell, an apt name on the new service: Gogo.
Per Igor, a great name can:
• achieve separation from your competitors, reinforced, if possible, by a secondary meaning
• demonstrate to the world that you are different and unforgettable
• reinforce a unique positioning platform
• create positive and lasting engagement with your audience
• propel itself through the world on its own, becoming a no-cost, self-sustaining PR vehicle
• provide a deep well of marketing and advertising images
• be the genesis of a brand that rises above the goods and services you provide
• completely dominate a category
To set the right context for your brainstorming on a name, here's some criteria and ten questions to answer, from WriteExpress:
1. Who are my consumers?
2. What am I naming?
3. What type of a name do I want?
4. How long should the name be?
5. Do the sounds in the name have the right appeal?
6. What associations should the name evoke?
7. What are the foreign language implications of the name? Some clearly are.
8. How should I test the name?
9. How will the name appear in directories?
10. Can I trademark the name?
In each of ten categories of company names, brainstorm by your self and with others for several names in each area, provided by The Name Inspector, Christopher Johnson. Note the pros and cons in each category. Even if you aren’t seeking a name for your firm, these categories will help prime your creative “naming” pump.
9. People’s names (real or fictitious)
Examples: Ning, Bix, KikoKiko
Though witty to some, the Slate + Ben & Jerry’s “Yes, Pecan” campaign is another reminder: know ALL parts of your "market". Yet it did generate a heap of publicity.
13. Use the right letter(s)
Examples: Want to sound high-tech? Go for lots of Z's and X's, such as Xanax, Xalatan, Zyban and Zostrix.
Want to sound poetic? Try Lyrica, Truvada and Femara. That’s what Indianapolis Star reporter, John Russell learned. Yet Guy Kawasaki (and I) adamantly disagree.
Is the name:
• memorable and distinctively different?
• easily spelled and pronounced?
• suggest the products and services you offer?
• distinguish you from the competition?
• have the potential to be appropriate for new products and services you may offer later on?
Now what's some of your favorite names for firms, products, non-profits, causes, services, or...?