Great new ideas are born everyday. Some are better than others, and some great ideas never catch the public’s interest. Ask yourself, “What’s in a name?” It’s an important question that if you want to be successful, you need to deal with up front. Here are a few keys that I’ve learned (sometimes after the fact) that should ease your marketing journey. We’ll even make believe we invented a new medicated foot powder and name it using all of the steps (although you don’t have to use them all).
1. Pick a name that explains what your product does.
We’ve got a foot powder. We’re very excited because it’s going to revolutionize the foot powder industry. Before even trying to get people excited about foot powder, we need to explain what the product does. Obvious choice is “foot powder,” but since it is superior perhaps we should try to distinguish our product. What about “foot soother” since that’s what you look for in a medicated foot powder anyway?
To prove the above point, the “Nearly” Universal OH, what is that? It’s a cup holder that I designed and patented, but you wouldn’t know that from the name. I mention this not to be self serving, but because I made a HUGE mistake here, and unfortunately it was after spending a great deal of money on branding and marketing. What I was trying to accomplish was creating a name I could copyright, but instead I lost sales by not representing what my product was or how it worked.
2. Create a name that will catch people off guard.
This is where you’ll add a word (or words) to grab a potential client’s attention. This can be a positive or negative, but some examples can be “World’s Second Best”, “Great Smelling, Bad Tasting”, “Best _____ You’re Not Using”, etc. Anything that teases someone to learn more is what we’re aiming for.
Back to our example, not only does our foot powder work better, but it smells pleasant also. Since most other products in the same category tend to smell old and stale, we’re onto something. What about “Sweet Smelling”? It’s something unexpected that creates mystery, but it also is a challenge of sorts, that a consumer will want to see for themselves.
3. Associate trust with your product.
This step is extremely hard to do if you’ve got something new, and relatively unknown. Stop and think first about who uses your product. Market research might skew towards one particular demographic. Find adjectives that pertain especially to those groups, as knowing the lingo is a good step towards credibility. However, if there is a broad range of consumers that will be interested in your product, try to use words that are associated with trust, or create an inviting feeling when read.
We’re going to kill two birds with one stone here. We’ve done our homework and it shows a large number of foot powder customers tend to be older. Let’s pick something that both associates with our larger market and also lends itself to a trusting feeling. “Grandma Fran’s” should work well.
4. Use a term that initiates a call to buy.
Getting someone to buy your product in the short time they scan the shelves or your marketing is going to be the biggest challenge. I can’t even guarantee this step will be enough, but if you’re using key words in your name (or in a slogan which is easier), you’ll drastically improve your odds. This tip goes very much in hand with the first one, but explaining what it does might not be enough. We need to create a feeling that people similar to our consumers are using this product, or that our product is the only option to truly satisfy their need. Two of our words already accomplish this. Can you guess what they are? “Soother” works as it’s what our market desires, and “Grandma Fran” gives older consumers an imaginary figure to associate with.
5. Give people a reason to buy.
People act quickly when it’s explained how to do so. Being human, consumers often need to know what’s in it for them. Customer testimonials are good tools, or telling a story about how your product benefited a client works also. Using existing clients that new consumers can associate with proves results, but this is hard to accomplish using one or two words in a name.
Although I said “hard” it’s not impossible, so let’s give it a try. We agree people want soothing in a medicated foot powder, but what else? They’re probably in some discomfort, so quick relief is probably second, with a close third being eliminating the problem. Using “Fast Healing” solves both issues.
What’re we left with?
“Grandma Fran’s Sweet Smelling, Fast Healing Foot Soother” is an effective, although long name. I’ve utilized each tip as an example, and probably would never create a name that long. (Honestly neither should you.) What I would recommend is find key words that help strengthen your product and work them into a name AND a slogan. Names should often be kept short, using one or two tips, and the rest can be used in a one sentence slogan. I’ll leave you with one last example for our awesome new foot powder.
Grandma Fran’s Foot Soother – With such a sweet smell, the quick relief will make you sad the problem’s gone for good.
Article on Ezine.