What is your Product Naming Strategy?

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What is your Product Naming Strategy? Image Credit: entrepreneur.com

Yesterday, Google rolled out its new subscription based product – YouTube Red. It’s just your regular YouTube site but with an option of watching videos without 

an advert popping up. The announcement came with a lot of mixed feelings from the online community. The issue was not about the product itself, but mostly on the name Google chose to call it. A lot of the reactions were centred on the word ‘RED’ and its similarity to another site. One of such reactions was by Eric Ravenscraft in his article Google Sucks at Naming Stuff. According to him, “...every single time Google announces the name of a new product, it’s ... a generic English word with “Google” slapped on the front,...”


Now check it, Google Maps, Google play, Google drive, Google search, Google glass etc each of these products comes with a simple ‘generic’ English word that sometimes are self explanatory and easy to learn. Whether their product names ‘suck or not,’ one thing is clear; in choosing a name, Google seems to be more interested in picking what will always pop up during search on the internet than what sounds great to the ears. Being a search engine company, it makes a lot of sense to build their naming strategy using their core service – search engine.


Picking a name for a product or service is one of the most challenging activities in business because once selected, it becomes difficult to change especially when customers are emotionally attached to it. John Stuart, former Chairman of Quaker Oats Ltd said this, "If the business were split up, I would take the brands, trademarks, and goodwill, and you could have all the bricks and mortar—and I would fare better than you" to highlight how important a name and identity is to a business.

For an entrepreneur, the way nursing an idea and raising capital is important to a business, so is the selection of name for a product or service. The name of your product or service symbolises so much, it lays the foundation for building a brand image that the company hopes its customers will perceive positively. Doing this requires a strategy that will align with company’s strategic objectives as well as the target audience. Google wants you to see their products’ name whenever you search for a common word on the internet that is their objective. It may not work for others who of course have other objectives when naming their products. Take for instance, Dangote is a household name in Nigeria, mention it anywhere in the street, and people will identify with it. Its main target audience are not online community, so its naming strategy can not follow that of Google because those who use it often are not regular internet users.

You may not like the names Google gives to its product, but you can’t take away the fact that they achieve their aims of making it searchable as well as easy to locate. It is easier to make a known word a brand as long as there are no negatives attached to it than to build an unknown word that customers will have to learn how to recall.

Read 893 times Last modified on Thursday, 29 October 2015 07:34
Ofunre Iriobe

Ofunre Iriobe is a researcher, and facilitator at the Redeemer's University Entrepreneurship Development Centre. He is also a private consultant to young aspiring entrepreneurs.

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