Naming your product’s brand may be one of the toughest things you ever do. It will certainly be complex and if there are more than a few people involved it will be challenging! But a great name can pay huge dividends for years to come.

The printing and publishing industries have been challenged for some time and the proliferation of brand names is high. This means as never before choosing the correct name for a product is essential. Just putting a model number after a company’s initials, although easy, may not be an effective way to introduce your new product.

How your customers and key prospects see and interact with your brand often starts with its name. It’s the one ingredient that will remain constant throughout its life cycle.

So where do you start?

Here are five suggestions of how to approach brand naming.

Step #1: Your name should reflect true market realities   
Of all the steps, this first one is probably the most critical because if you start in the wrong direction you will never get there! A brand new product with little or no competition in its market needs a name that immediately takes leadership whereas a crowded market demands an innovative name. iPod is a good example of a new name for a new market. Can you imagine Apple introducing the iPod as their new “MP3 Music Player?” Good grief! Rather, they needed a name that would define a new brand category so selecting a name that was completely unique was a terrific solution.

Step #2: Choose a name that reflects what the brand offers
This is often the fun part: coming up with a large number of names that may or may not be used, but allow you to express all of the thoughts you’ve had about naming your product. Because there are millions of commercially used names, and since many are legally protected, you need a long list to choose from that meets your specific strategic criteria.
   Hint: The more unique your product and/or service the easier it is to name. 

Step #3: Be unique
Although tempting, it is rarely advisable to use “borrowed interest” when naming your brand. Making associations with famous people or leading brand names often promote those people or concepts but not your brand. And if you’re not careful you may end up in court trying to defend your use of someone else’s name! Instead, create names according to what makes the brand unique.
   Hint: The more unique your product’s brand name the easier it is to keep it differentiated.

Step #4: Make sure it’s available
This next step may seem obvious but it is often overlooked. Why register your name? The biggest reason is to protect what may become a very successful enterprise from worry that its ownership will end up as some other company’s property that registered the name before you did!  Unfortunately, this happens more than you may think and the legal process of litigation is never enjoyable and always expensive.

Step #5: Create a Review Board
The last step, The Review Board, can take many forms. The most often is to conduct qualitative research using a series of small groups controlled by a researcher, where the name and image impressions are sought and discussed. This evaluation provides an objective means of review.

Whether you are looking for a name that is challenging, logical, inspiring or industry-specific, the name game can produce positive results for your company if done correctly.