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A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Product Names Your Customers Will Love

A laptop computer sitting on top of a table and a hand with a credit card next to the text A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Product Names Your Customers Will Love

Creating product names your customers end up falling in love with … seem impossible?

Here’s the thing …

When something has a name, it has value and an identity.

A baby becomes ‘Jonathan,’ a cat becomes ‘Fluffy’… Friday night with the kids at grandma’s becomes ‘date night.’

With a name, the generic becomes specific. Filled with meaning.

Marketing companies know the power of creating the right product names, which is why millions of dollars are poured into branding.

Get the name and image right and your product is on the tip of everyone’s tongue and they slip into your everyday life. Your wife doesn’t ask you to get tissues from the store, she asks for Kleenex, your son doesn’t ask for acetaminophen, he wants Tylenol.

And sometimes a name skyrockets the price.

In the UK, common painkillers such as acetaminophen cost around 16 pence from the supermarket.

Choose a ‘famous’ product with the same ingredients (and effects) and you can be paying 1000% more.

How creating product names can increase value (ethically)

I want to make it clear that taking time to create a name for your products or services isn’t about ‘selling the sizzle’ when there’s no steak. It’s not about dressing up a mediocre product to look like it’s something better (what we British refer to as “all fur coat and no knickers…”)

It’s for your customer’s benefit as well.

Related: Minimum Viable Product Examples: Build the Core of Your Online Business This Month

Product names help your customer choose what’s right for them

A great product name acts as a shortcut.

When you’re browsing for a film on Netflix, knowing if the film is an action, drama, or thriller helps you choose something you will enjoy for your preferences.

Weight Watchers name their different meal plans to help people choose which one they’re most likely to enjoy for example: Filling and Healthy, Lower Carb, or Mediterranean.

A descriptive, vivid name helps your customer understand quickly just what it is you have to offer.

The right product name builds confidence in your brand

Let’s say you want to improve the energy efficiency of your home so you’re looking into insulation and other energy-saving methods. You approach two different companies.

Company One tells you on the phone:

“One of our guys will come round and see what you need doing and we’ll send you a quote.”

Company Two takes a different approach:

“A technician will visit and do a full Home Energy Audit. It’s completely free and it assesses where you may be losing money based on a 25-point checklist.”

Which one builds more trust?

I want to reiterate, this isn’t just about giving fancy names to something. It’s not like changing your resumé from “Shopping-Cart Pusher” to “Logistical Shopping Receptacle Technician”

People will see through that in an instant.

In the above example Company One and Two may even have the same process, but Company Two communicate it better:

  • It’s specific (an audit)
  • It contains a benefit (identifying ways to stop losing money)
  • It’s thorough (25 points in the checklist)

Product naming exercises that create product names that sell

Creating a product name is, well, a creative process! And as with any type of creativity, there are many different ways to get to the end results.

You might find the perfect product name comes to you in the shower, or while walking in the country.

There are no definitive rules for creating a product name, but I can give you a product naming framework to make it easier to come up with names that are not only creative, but importantly, communicate the value of what you offer.

The following is a simple product naming exercise that lets you pull those creative, product name ideas out of your head and onto the paper. I love to turn the writing process into something practical and easy to apply.

Step 1: Start with a simple table

Create a table like the one below:

How to create product names: table 1

To illustrate the process, let’s walk through a simple example. Say you’re a business providing IT and network services to businesses. You make sure that your client’s computers and networks are all running as they should, that they’re secure and that there are no bugs in the system.

Step 2: Fill in the first column 

We start by filling in the simple details of the first column.

How to create product names: table 2

In this first column, try to be as matter-of-fact as possible.

Don’t be tempted to ‘marketing-ize’ your language. Use straight-forward terms and imagine that you’re not trying to sell anything at this stage, you’re just trying to describe it in its most simple terms.

Step 3: Fill in the second column

Now we move onto the next column and this is where you can start to be less literal and more creative, while still working closely to what you do.

A useful tool to use here is Think of a word and then go hunting for synonyms.

Populate this box with as many different words you can think of and highlight any that stand out to you.

How to create product names: table 3

Step 4: Fill in the third column

Next we take a move a little further away from the literal and more into the creative sphere by looking for parallels.

I mentioned before that your product name can act as a powerful hook if you use something your customer is already familiar with.

So for column 3 I want you to ask yourself

What else is [insert words from column 2]?

This is where you want to start thinking outside that proverbial box.

For example, let’s look at the top row,

What else is SECURE?

A padlock? A vault? Barbed wire? A bodyguard?

At this stage, don’t throw anything out.

Don’t assume anything is too outlandish. It’s much better to have lots of ideas to whittle down than not enough to play with.

In this example we might already start putting names together for our service:

Your Business Bodyguard: Complete IT and Network Support

Safety Lock Systems: Protecting All your IT and Network Needs

How to create product names: table 4

Step 5: Borrow from other industries or environments

The final column is to expand our creativity even more with some guided focus.

I want you to go think of even more imagery around the words expand in column 2, but instead of just free-thinking, think about other industries and environments.

There are many different ones you can think about, but here are a handful for this exercise:

  1. Entertainment and leisure
  2. The animal kingdom
  3. The environment and landscapes
  4. The military

The fitness industry has long used the military term ‘bootcamp’ and no longer is the word ‘blueprint’ owned only by architects and engineers.

So step into another world and think about any other imagery or characters that spring to mind. For example:

How to create product names: table 5

Now as I mentioned, this grid isn’t meant to give you a definitive title for your product, but it will give you a guided process for creating a rich variety of terms that are:

  • Specific
  • Vivid
  • Evocative
  • Communication shortcuts
  • Familiar to your customer

Which gives you a strong starting point to think about naming your product or service.

At-a-glance product name ideas 

So what might we have in this instance?

Stronghold Systems: Secure Protection for Your Business IT

Lion Tech Support: The Power and Speed Behind Your Business IT Network

Combat Quicksand: Replacing Sluggish and Problem-Prone IT Systems

Tech Concierge: Your 24 Hour Business IT Support

We could have easily used words and ideas from columns 2 and 3 as well. The idea is to help you see at-a-glance creative titles and labels to help you communicate the value of your product … and make it irresistible to your prospects and customers.

Related: How to Choose a Business Name You’ll Love Today, Tomorrow, and 5 Years from Now

Related: Branding 101: 7 Business Name Traps to Avoid

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on February 24, 2016 and has been updated to reflect today’s best practices for creating product names.

Amy Harrison

Amy Harrison is a copywriter based in Brighton in the UK. She trained as a screenwriter and then took those skills into business storytelling and marketing. At, she offers copywriting, consultancy and training.
Pamela Wilson coaches people in midlife to build profitable online businesses
I’m Pamela Wilson

In 2010, at the age of 45, I started this site and grew it into a business that offers freedom, flexibility — and consistent revenue.


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