What's In a Name? (Part 1)

This post from Marketing Playbook via NW Venture Voice gives an overview of naming from a marketing perspective. (For a summary of naming from a legal perspective click here.)

"Some naming realities :

*Names are for people outside your company
*Names are things you want an audience (i.e. people) to remember
*Names are things you brand and even trademark, they are things you invest in, if you don't they are just words
*Names communicate and simplify

Some people realities:

*People are easily confused - complexity does not work well in names
*People have a limited cache - they can't digest too many names at once
*People forget - they need to be reminded over and over again of the same one or very few names

What is 'naming convention'? A basic framework that...

*allows you to know WHAT you are actually naming and not naming,
*helps keep these names consistent and compelling, and
*makes it faster and easier to name each time.

Keeping things straight.

Generally the things you name are as follows (make sure you really know the difference between them and how they relate to each other):

*the company - this is the longest lasting name you have to have. You pour your values, personality, mission, vision etc into this brand (e.g. Microsoft)
*the product line - a family of mulitple products that are related to each other (e.g. Office)
*individual products - the products within a family, either different variations or component products of the core family (e.g. OfficePro)
*product versions - as the specific individual products evolve, this is the means of keeping track (e.g. OfficePro 95)
*ingredient names - the green crystals or Secret Sauce. These should be lasting technologies or concepts that cut across more than one product (e.g. Intellisense, Retsin)
*feature names - usually version specific functionality"