When it comes to naming a new product, our colleagues in the pharmaceutical industry have it fairly easy, brand name drugs typically hint at the condition it is intended to treat and generics follow an accepted nomenclature.
However, when it comes to B2B technology products, and especially marketing launches for new SaaS products, it can sometimes feel like the wild west. You see product names across the board, from provocative and intriguing to underwhelming and generic.
If you’re ready to talk all things B2B product naming, reach out. In the meantime, here are some best practices to consider before embarking on your next product naming journey.
7 attributes of a great B2B technology product name
Let’s start with what makes a great product name. Here are seven characteristics our team strives for in every naming project.
B2B product names should be:
Memorable. This is what VCs and start-up bros are getting right—sometimes, a crazy name out of left field can help your product stand out in a crowded market (as long as it meets the rest of the criteria below).
Easy to pronounce. When your target audience looks at your product name, is it obvious how to pronounce it? A product name that rolls off the tongue with ease is another way of making it memorable.
Emotive. Functional names may be sufficient in communicating what your product does, but names that inspire feelings or strong emotions will stick with your buyers when your product isn’t in front of them.
On-brand (or not). Your flagship product’s name should be on-brand, meaning it should reflect your brand personality. However, as your organization grows and evolves, you may launch a product intended to demonstrate you’re capable of keeping up with the times, in which case your conservative “safe” brand may seek a name that offers a way for your customers to see you in a new, more innovative light.
In line with your product architecture. Don’t have a defined product architecture? If you have more than one product and are planning to add more, stop what you are doing and figure out if your organization is a house of brands or a branded house. This will ensure brand cohesion as your company grows.
Available. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many marketers don’t check if a preferred product name is already in use. Check the trademark status and URL availability before committing to a name. A preliminary online search will prevent heartbreak when your legal department starts filing the appropriate paperwork and you’re forced to go back to the drawing board.
Without negative connotations. Another thing to look for is identifying if a potential name has a different meaning in other contexts. While a name or acronym might make sense within your niche industry, if it’s a comic book character or the name of a controversial political action committee (PAC), it’s best to avoid it due to potential confusion and negative associations.
Marketing has a name; now what?
After a couple of weeks of brainstorming, your marketing team has landed on a product name everyone loves—now what?
The next step is to get your legal team to confirm the name’s availability and start the trademark process. To speed up the process, you should involve them when your team has identified its shortlist to avoid the heartbreak mentioned above.
Some naming considerations to keep in mind:
If the name is in use in your industry, especially if it’s with a well-established brand, the name is a no-go.
If the name is in use in a completely different industry, such as food and beverage, don’t completely discount it—this is where you should have an open discussion with legal.
Once legal has given the name the thumbs up, it’s time for marketing to step into high gear:
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Author Melanie Hilliard
Melanie is an Account Director and Content Lead at Clarity Quest. Nothing makes her heart sing more than fantastic marketing. To learn more about Melanie's experiences and qualifications, visit our leadership team page.