“What’s in a name?” A famous question that is as relevant today as the day it was penned. There are a few things that are completely in your control when you think about starting a business or kicking off a new project, and the name that you select is one of them. It never ceases to amaze me how few people give the name selection process the attention it deserves when they are commencing.
There once was a time when you could take a product almost all the way to the finish line and come up with your name then. The companies who really understood marketing and brand management would spend considerably more time on this exercise, but some of them are the worst offenders when it comes to coming up with names. More often than not, what they would bring to market is a line extension, utilizing some portion of an existing brand (i.e. Coke Zero, Miller Lite). They successfully bi-furcated the target market, and end up losing cumulative share.
The Internet changed the importance of a name in a few ways that may not be immediately obvious when you are thinking through a name, but are exceedingly obvious when you hear them said out loud. The discovery process that consumers go through today for information about your product or company will most likely (I really want to say “absolutely will”) begin with a search engine. Thus the question, “what’s in a name?” Perhaps a more contemporary version (much to the horror of Shakespeare lovers around the world) is “how Google-able is your product?”