Choosing the PERFECT product name

Silhouette of man thinking in front of setting sun

Today is the day. You have created a new, innovative product. You want the product to be seen by the mass market and sell millions of units. But you don’t have a name for the product yet, so you just decide to add a basic name as you think, just like many other online-sellers out there, “It’s just a name”. STOP.

You’re about to encounter one of the most common e-Commerce pitfalls on the web today.

Why are product names important?

Market research has found that product names have significant influence on a potential buyer’s impressions of a product itself.

There is a famous story about Arnold Schwarzenegger when he first moved to live in Los Angeles, California. He started his own bricklaying company with his friend, fellow body-builder, Franco Columbu. Their clientèle were wealthy property owners in the high-end sections of LA. They had come up with an idea to undercut the price of their competition, but despite this, were unable to generate enough business.

Bricks as part of a brick wall

Arnold then turned to his friend, who was a businessmen, to get some advice and ideas of how to change this. His friend stated “Your wealthy clientele can’t see the value in hiring a budget-priced crew which may have difficulty with the language.”

The businessman went on to suggest that Arnold and Franco raise (yes, raise!) their prices above the rest of the competition and market themselves as “Specialist European Bricklayers”. That simple change to their business did the trick and they had more business than they could handle.

The pair had found that their clients, who were not willing to pay for cheap foreign labour, would be more than willing to pay for pricey specialist labour.

So, how do you pick the perfect product name?

1. Use information about your target market

Target market diagram. Place, product, price, physical environment, process, people, promotion are things to considerAsk questions such as who is my market? What appeals to them? What is important to them? Why would they want my product? You can ask many
other questions, these are just a few examples.

The more you ask, the more you’ll understand the people that you are actually selling to. You can then target your product and marketing towards the people most likely to buy from you.

So lets say you’re selling a dog toy:

  • Who is your target market? Dog owners.
  • What appeals to them? Dog toys that are fun and safe for dogs, without causing waste or mess.
  • What is important to them? Their dog’s happiness and well-being.

Now you have this information, you could target your dog toy’s name to this information e.g.  Happy Doggy “No Mess” Chew-Toy.

sleeping dog on a wooden floor next to their chew toy.

2. Make sure the product name has meaning

When you’re deciding on your product name, be sure that is has meaning and represents the product itself. When somebody says your product’s name, it is always an advantage if they can build a mental image of your product before they’ve even seen it.

So using the previous example of dog toys, calling the product something like “Doggy fun” would give the customer no idea of what you’re offering. It could be a ball, a toy, a treat or any number of dog related products. Something like the name above, Happy Doggy Chew-Toy, will instantly give the customer an image of a happy dog playing with a chew toy.

Don’t underestimate how a customer’s mental image of a product affects their purchase.

3. How do you make your product name memorable?

Think of the biggest brands in the world today and look at their product names, such as Coca-cola, Red Bull, iPhone or Playstation. Even reading the names is enough to put an image of that product into your mind. This is because they are product names that are unique and recognisable. The key to any name is grabbing attention. Four useful types of words that can be used for products are:

  • Alliteration – repetition of initial consonant sounds in neighbouring words, like PayPal, Krispy Kreme, American Airlines or Weight Watchers.
  • Onomatopoeic – imitating the sound the word represents, like Pop-tarts, Coco Pops, Flikr or Twitter.
  • Rhyming – The similarity between syllable sounds at the end of two or more words, like Nutter Butter, Smart Start, Tech Deck or True Blue.
  • Morphemes – The smallest meaningful unit in the grammar of a language, like FedEx, Blistex or Celebrex.


A product’s name is often the key to its success!

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