Best Practice: Select right name product category for the competitive advantage that allows for growth & stands out from the competition.
Today’s Article: Nine Product Name Categories
Product names can be divided into nine key primary categories: Literal, Attribute, Legacy, Initials/Numbers, Combined Word, Invented, Related, Alliteration/Rhyme and Inquiring.
Note: One product name can be in more than one category. Example: Bahama Breeze (alliteration/rhyme: Bahama Breeze and legacy, connected to a geographic location Bahamas)
1. Literal product names comprise a word or a few keywords to help people quickly understand what your product is or does. Examples: Corn Flakes, Corn Pops, Pizza Rolls, Rice Krispies, Shake ‘n Bake or Snack Pack.
Pros: Makes it easy to understand what your product is or does.
Cons: May be difficult to find a trademark free matching domain.
2. Attribute product names provide a feature or strategic advantage to help people understand what your product is or does. Examples: build around ease: Easy Spirit, Easy-Bake, Easy-Off, EasyShare, or Nice N Easy.
Other Examples: Angel Soft, Blow Pop, Bubble Wrap, Bubble Yum, Bud Light, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Clear Eyes, Coke Zero, Coppertone, Crunch ‘n Munch, Doublemint, DustBuster, Fiber One, Fiber Plus, Freshlook, Fresh Steps, Golden Grahams, Good & Plenty, Good Humor, Good Start, Healthy Choice, Hot Wheels, Huggies, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter,Icee, Krazy Glue, Lady Speed Stick, Lean Cuisine, Lucky Charms, Lucky Lager, Magic Chef, Magic Eraser, Magic Marker, Miracle-Gro, Mop & Glo, Nature Valley, Nature’s Path, Nature’s Way, One-A-Day, Original Ranch, Science Diet, Scrubbing Bubbles, Silly Putty, Slim-Fast, Smart Ones, Smart Start, Smarties, Soft ‘n Gentle, Soft Batch, Soft Scrub, Softsoap, Speed Stick, Speedo, Spray ‘n Wash, Sweet’n Low, Ultra Brite, Ultra Plush, Whitestrips, Winterfresh, or Wonderbra
Pros: Allows the name to be associated with a main feature or strategic advantage.
Cons: May be difficult to find a trademark free matching domain name.
3. Legacy product names are often are tied to a founder or geographic area. Example: Land O’Lakes Butter (Minnesota’s state nickname is “Land of 10,000 Lakes”)
Examples: Bahama Breeze, Ben & Jerry’s, Klondike, L.A. Gear, Milky Way, Old El Paso, Old Milwaukee, Old Navy, Orville Redenbacher’s, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Quaker Oats, Sam Adams or Swedish Fish
Pros: Can make a strong connection with the founder or geographic area.
Cons: Name is tied to the reputation of the person. If the person’s reputation becomes a problem, the product has a problem. If the founders name does not take on its own independent identity, unlike Orville Redenbacher’s, which has a very strong association with popcorn, one may have a harder time selling the business in the future. Geographic product name can limit it to a specific area or because many names may be tied to the same area it can hinder standing out.
4. Initials/numbers product names are composed of letters and or numbers.
Examples: 100 Grand, 365 Every Day Value, 3 Musketeers, 5-Hour Energy, 501 (Levi’s), 7Up, 9 Lives, A1 Steak Sauce, iPad, iPhone, iPod , iTunes, M&M’s, Q-tips, V05, V8, WD-40 or X-Factor
Pros: Can be easy to easy to say, spell, or remember.
Cons: Customers may not know what the product is or does. A great tagline would help with this.
5. Combined word product names create a new word not found in the dictionary by combining existing words or parts of existing words.
Examples: Alka-Seltzer, Aqua Net, Aquafina, Aquafresh, Baconator , Band-Aid, Beano, Blistex, Bowflex, Boxster, Bubblicious, Butterball, Carebear, Butterfinger, ChapStick, Cheerios, Cheetos, Cheez Whiz, Cheez-It, Chip’s Ahoy, Cinnabon, Cisco, Clearasil, Clinique, Cool Whip, Coolpix , Cottonelle, Crisco, Crispix, DayQuil, Drano, Duracell, Duraflame, Egg Beaters, Energizer, Evenflo, Eveready, Everlast, Excedrin, ForceFlex, Fresca, Friskies, Febreze, Jell-O, Jelly Belly, Kibbles ‘n Bits, Kool-Aid, Liqui-Gel , Lunchables, Munchkin, Nescafe, Nestea, Nu Skin, NutraSweet, Nutri-Grain, Ovaltine, Oxiclean, Play-Doh, Playboy, PlaySkool, PlayStation, Pop-Tarts, PowerBar, Raisinets, SpaghettiOs, Theraflu, Thermacare, Thighmaster, ThinkPad, VapoRub, or Vaseline
Pros: With a combined product name it may be easier to find a trademark free matching domain name. Plus, people may already be familiar with the word or part of a word and with its positive associations.
Cons: Customers may not exactly know what the product is. A great tagline would help with this. Depending on the name, may not be as easy to say, spell, and remember.
6. Invented product names create a new word not found in the dictionary.
Examples: Altoids, Benadryl, Charmin, Clorox, Kleenex, Maalox, Noxzema, Oreo, Splenda or Velcro.
Pros: With an invented name one has a clean slate to work with and is easier to find a trademark free matching domain name.
Cons: May take more money and time for potential customers to connect with it. A great tagline would help with this. Depending on the name, may not be as easy to say, spell, and remember.
7. Related product names take the existing meaning of a word or qualities and connect it to the product.
Examples: Almond Joy, Apple Jacks, Arm & Hammer, Aunt Jemima, Axe, Baby Ruth, Banana Boat, Banana Republic, Bazooka, Cabbage Patch Kids, Cap’n Crunch, Captain Morgan, Chef Boyardee, Clif Bar, Cover Girl, Crown Royal, Dr Pepper, Dr. Scholl’s, Famous Amos, Fruit of the Loom, Fruit Harvest, Goldfish, Hidden Valley, Hungry-Man, Hush Puppies, Ice Breakers, Igloo, Irish Spring, Ivory, Jolly Rancher, Land O’Lakes, Liquid-Plumr, Mountain Dew, Mr. Bubble, Mr. Clean, Mr. Pibb, Mr. Potato Head, Mr. Sub, Ocean Spray, Rainbow Brite, RockStar Energy Drink, Starburst, Sun Chips, Tidy Cats, Turtle Wax or Uncle Ben’s.
Pros: People have a built in association with the product name. Product can connect with these positive associations, because they are already in the mind. Makes it easier to have a logo.
Cons: May be difficult to find a trademark free matching domain name.
8. Alliteration and rhyme product names: Occurs when two or more words in a row start with the same sounds or syllables of a word group either with the same consonant sound or sound group. Names that are fun to say and stick in the mind.
Examples: Banana Boat, Bahama Breeze, Beanie Babies, Bob the Builder, Bonne Bell, Burt’s Bees, Bush’s Beans, Cat Chow, Clearly Canadian, Country Crock, Hamburger Helper, Eggo, Green Giant, Grey Goose, Hula-Hoop, Juicy Fruit, Juicy Juice, Kit Kat, La-Z-Boy, Maker’s Mark, Mello Yello, Minute Maid, Oil of Olay, Peter Pan, Pizza Pizza, Planters Peanuts, Pound Puppies, Rice-A-Roni, Stain Stick or Velveeta.
Pros: Product name stands out and flows. Easy to remember and say.
Cons: Cons: May be more difficult to find a trademark free matching domain name.
9. Inquiring product names arouse interest or curiosity. They intrigue people. They cause people to stop and think “what is this product”? Example: Victoria’s Secret (What is her secret?)
Other Examples: Bounty, Brawny, Carefree, Caress, Excellence, Inspiration, Intuition, Kiss My Face, Kisses, Krackel, Liquid Paper, Life Savers, Off!, Pampers, PayDay, Pop Rocks, Promise, Propel, Raid, Secret, Sunny Delight, Victoria’s Secret
Pros: Company product name stands out and does arouse interest or curiosity.
Cons: For some product names may take more money and time for potential customers to connect with it. A great tagline would help with this.
Brand Product Name Filter
The brand product name filter below will help you objectively evaluate how available and good a name is.
Product Name Filter: Take each name by category and score it.
Number System: 0-poor, 1-fair, 2-good, 3-excellent.
___ Easy to Say
___ Easy to Remember
___ Easy to Pronounce
___ Easy to Spell
___ Name is Web-Ready: Exact Match Domain Name with no hyphen (Domain Search)
___ Trademark is Available (Trademark Search)
___ Available in Your State (Online check with your State Department of Incorporation)
___ Social Media Identity Availability (Example Facebook (B2C), LinkedIn (B2B), etc.)
___ Stands out from the Competition in a Favorable Way
___ Has no Negative Meanings (Example: when translated to a foreign market’s language)
___ Name Allows You to Add New Services or Products in the Future
___ Number of Points
Action Step: Write down a product name in each category listed above and use the brand name filter above to evaluate it.
Note: If you are having trouble coming up with a product name that you like and is rated high by the brand filter, it may be time to look for an outside source to help you i.e. Ask the Expert
Your brand is your handle. The handle that opens the door to your business, its products and services. Brand Door is always open to you. “Easy access to expert branding”