Product Management

Product naming

April Dunford had a good post last week about Product Naming. She summed it up quite well with the three kinds of product names. Back in the day (circa 2000), on of my products was the focus of a corporate rebranding, and we spent a whack of money on a new company name, a product name, and a brand architecture. It was a real education for me personally, as I got to work with Interbrand, which is one of those companies who, like April described, just gets the naming and brand-image thing.

We ended up with two new names: Sitraka (company), and PerformaSure (my product), along with some nice graphics, logos, corporate colors, and a “voice” for the company. It was really slick, but also very expensive. There are some very creative people and small firms out there who can do this kind of work for a lot less, but with Interbrand, we knew we were going to get a great result.

Eventually it paid off, when the company was acquired. I know that the branding and the vision we were painting made us look much bigger than we really were, and attracted a great stable of acquirers. Or maybe it was just the great product we built!

I’d be interested in hearing from you (in the comments below) about some:

  • great, but inexpensive, branding you’ve done. Shout out to the companies you admire for the great job they do on a budget.
  • mistakes, flops, or bad names that you’ve seen or developed.

I’ll start the ball rolling: When I was at Fortiva, Evoke re-made our web presence. They did a fantastic job in a short time period, and again, really helped the company project an updated and large image. Here we are in their gallery.

And in the mistakes category, everyone has heard of how the Chevy Nova played in Latin America, or perhaps how “Roots” came across in the Sydney Olympics. But here’s one in Chinatown that made me laugh:

Unison Academy of Music

Curiously, the store appears to be out of business. Perhaps with such a concrete name, they couldn’t adapt to the market, which is focused on polyphonic harmony, going forward.