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You know, we humans have a peculiar habit: we like to name things. They give us a sense of order in a chaotic world. Look at the title of this post…it brings an image to mind. A smell. A memory. A Golden Girl. A connection.

It’s the same with naming products. Companies have spent millions to come up with names for their products that we can connect with. I am working with a client that is trying to name their next big thing. Like many small business owners, he chose a name that resonates with him. At the kickoff meeting, I told him that we would have to change the name…to what, I wasn’t sure, but the name that he chose would be a barrier to sales.

So I have come up with a guideline for deriving product names. A product name needs to give the user at least a vague idea of what the product does, stands for or the benefit it provides. When introducing a new concept to the buying public, it helps to give them a reference point to connect with so that the next object of which they need to make sense, the logo, either reinforces their assumption or leads them logically to the mental space that your brand would like them to be.

So small business owners and those marketing companies that love them, ditch your first dog’s name unless you’re selling a new dog food. People need to connect with the products that they buy and the name is the first chance you have to make that happen.

It would still smell as sweet, but a rose-scented loaf of bread would only cause confusion.