INDUSTRIAL NAMING BEST PRACTICES (PART 1)

Updated: May 26

The art of naming products, services and organizations has come a long way over the past century. But industrial brands sometimes struggle to assign effective names to their offerings. This is for a number of reasons, ranging from the technical nature of what they sell to the intense crowding within the buyer space. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of industrial naming projects. This piece is the first of two articles, so tap into more naming tips after the fact.

Remember that names are about buyers.

A good name will resonate with the people who really count—buyers of your goods and services. So while you can name your company, product or service something you think is cool, or after the CEO’s dog, or whatever you want, naming it in a way that will mean something to buyers will bring the most value.

Names are also about the business/product strategy.

A good industrial name needs a well-defined strategy. Otherwise, how do you know which option will give you an advantage? Feelings? Guessing? Aesthetics? Strongcrete is a passable name for a durable concrete product built around longevity, but it would be a terrible name if the main attribute were ease of breaking down when building temporary structures.

Explore a range of name types.

Most industrial names are descriptive names. It’s just easier for all parties, and hence the norm. But there are also evocative names that play on how the product or service makes you feel, names which call upon heritage, names that emphasize an attribute, etc. Don’t limit your initial brainstorm to one type of name.

PNATHNMA

Please, in the Name of All That’s Holy, No More Acronyms. In the industrial world, there is no shortage of products sporting either letters that stand for something clever or that seem to simply be a mash-up of random letters and numbers. Name things whatever you want, but names like these don’t give new buyers a clue as to what you’re selling and how it’s different from alternatives.

Pass on the funky spellings

We know naming that high-tech corrosion control pipeline coating Korrosion Kontrol is quick and easy, and the whole name thing will be sorted, after a fashion, and you can move onto something else. But someone is going to have to spell that out on every single purchase order, etc until the end of time. Plus, names like these seem untrustworthy unless they have an established legacy.



QUICK FACTS

11% More Investment

In a study on behalf of the Society of Personal and Social Psychology, Inc., researchers tracked 700 stocks between 1990 and 2004. They actually found that stocks with more simple names earned 11 percent more than their counterparts.


Long Form

Much ado goes into naming tech start-ups (though sometimes you wouldn’t know it). One recent startup designed to find people places to stay while renting their homes is named Can I Stay With You While I Rent My Place on Airbnb.


Seat’s Taken

The branding world is running out of trademark-able words. A recent NY Times piece declared that “almost every naturally occurring word has been claimed, which is why namers so often arrive at portmanteaus (Accenture derives from ‘accent’ and ‘future’) or drop vowels (Flickr and Tumblr) or change letters (Lyft).”

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