The 7 Deadly Sins of Brand & Product Naming

product namingNaming: It’s a huge part of what we do as a branding agency and, in all honesty, it plays a bigger role in sales, profits and overall performance than many business owners realize.

Think of it this way … a name is a first impression. It tells a potential customer what a business is about, what it stands for and, more or less, what to expect. If that business then doesn’t live up to those expectations, well, it’s a sure-fire road to disaster.

The same goes for product names. You might think giving your latest release a unique, never-before-heard name might be the best way to get attention, but in reality, you’ll end up just confusing people – especially in the aviation industry where there’s already too much jargon and lingo flying around!

Though there’s no hard and fast rule for naming a brand or product, there are some general guidelines as to what to do and, more importantly, what NOT to do. Before you go branding your next product release, take a look through these, and make sure you don’t commit any of these 7 deadly naming sins:

  1. Getting too creative – Yes, you want your name to be catchy and memorable, but don’t go crazy, mashing together words or making up terms altogether. The name still needs to speak to either a) what your brand offers or stands for or b) what your product does. Let’s take a unique product from our client Genesys Aerosystems for example. Their major product, the HeliSAS, is named perfectly. It rolls off the tongue, it stands out and, best of all, it describes what the product is succinctly and definitively: It’s an SAS (stability augmentation system) for helicopters. Plain, simple and effective. That’s what you want in a name.
  2. Forgetting your competitors. You don’t want to copy your competitors’ names word for word, but they should be a consideration when naming anything at your company. For one, you want your products to be comparable – for customers to understand that they’re parallel products providing the same thing (just with more value!). You also may get serious inspiration from your competition too. Check out their names, brainstorm how to improve them and build on them, and you’ll be surprised what you can come up with.
  3. Being too general (or too succinct) – Generalities are a real sales killer. A name needs to be descriptive, at the very least – telling people what a product is, what your brand offers and what value it provides. Sure, a shorter name might be easier to type into Google or remember offhand, but in the end, if you need more words (more adjectives specifically) to do your product or brand justice, do it. It will make you more effective in the end.
  4. Forgetting strategy – Naming isn’t all about creativity. Sure, you want your name to be different and stand out, but throwing ideas at a wall and seeing what sticks isn’t the way to do that. There needs to be strategy involved. Research your market and determine what names and ideas resonate with your target audience. Use their needs, wants and desires to drive your naming, and never forget that the name you choose is just another marketing tool in your arsenal.
  5. Naming after the fact – To be truly effective, you need to know the name from the very beginning. The name should play a role in how the product or brand is built, how it’s developed and, definitely, how it’s marketed. The earlier you nail down a name – as well as your overall goals for the brand or product – and the more effective all your efforts around that item will be in the long run.
  6. Failing to research trademark issues – Across the globe, there are more than 28 million trademarks and, on top of that, there are a whopping 200 million URLs already registered. You’re doing yourself a true disservice if you don’t make existing trademark research a part of your naming process. What if you settle on a winner – a name you think is perfect in every way – only to find out a year down the road that the website has already been reserved and a company in China is already making a product with the exact same name? It’ll be back to the drawing board. Prevent these costly and time-consuming mishaps by prescreening any potential names for trademark issues long before you settle on one.
  7. Naming everything – In general, you want to limit your naming efforts. Coming up with too many names, too many products and too many ideas can dilute your brand, and it can make you less effective. Steer clear of naming and marketing new acquisitions, new technologies or just innovative strategies you come up with in-house. Keep your public names to a minimum, and allow the few great ones to do all the work.

Branding and naming are fine arts, and in a tech-heavy industry like aviation space, you’ll need to hone them as you release new products, new systems and new aircraft into the marketplace. Need help naming your next big idea? Want more branding guidance? Contact Haley Aerospace today.

 

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