Naming a new product or a product design sounds easy enough, but it really difficult. There is a reason why multi-gazillion dollar companies spend a fortune on research and development of new products. Even though I jumped blindly into this whole business pretty much with both feet and just a paint brush in my right hand, I did do some research. Not having that (or any) budget when I started, I did the best I could, I went to stores, I got catalogs and I purchased magazines.
When I started designing my original Name Tiles (now I call them Wall Letters....but that is a whole other blog post) I also spent countless hours on the Internet looking at my competition. No, No, NO, it was not to rip them off and copy their designs (like a few wanna-be's I may or may not know) but to see what they named their designs. The arena was getting a bit crowded when I started in 2002 and I wanted to stand out. I also wanted to differentiate my designs from other more famous and well established artisans.
Product Names Mean Something
This is much easier said than done, I soon found out. There are only so many different ways to describe or name Train inspired Room Decor. Also, I had the hair-brained idea that my product names should be cutesy, clever and different from my competition. That is the only explanation I have for my ill-named Cotton Candy Name Tiles Wall letters. Or worse I used to put Lil' in front of all the Name Tile designs and Big in front of the Name Plaques. There were Lil' Bugs, Lil' Sluggers and of course Lil' Fairies. Our first web designer pointed out I was trying to sell Big Fairies did not sound so good....we dropped the Big soon after we discovered that.
Some designs could not be changed, like any of our Princess themed products. There is no way to change out Princess for something that describes it any better way than just calling it what it is and what most girls want to be .....a Princess. To this day Princess designs are always best selling, always pink and always the one design that will always have to be apart of my line of products.
But, other products were not so easy to name. When I was researching what to call my Western inspired Name Tiles Wall Letters for Warm Biscuit Bedding I did the research, but I did not get it right. I toyed with words like Western, Cowboy, Buckaroo, The Wild West, Ranchers, Silverado, Sheriff. Again at the time I wanted to stand out from the crowd, so I went with Buckaroo....and then I had to get all creative (read baby talk) and call them Lil' Buckaroo Name Tiles Wall Letters.
What Customers Are Looking For
Fast forward to last year when I had our website re-designed and we had to look at what I was calling all of our products. Instead of calling my products something cutesy and clever, I wanted to call them something a parent would go searching for on the internet. More importantly, I was looking to better understand the voice of the customer. As I have stated before, my husband is in the Web Search ( or Paid search industry) so he was able to help me with this project. Google has some fantastic tools you can use to help you to understand what your are looking for.
We did have to look at my competition also and make sure I did not call it the same thing - but for a different reason than before. I already get some other company's orders from time to time, and I knew if we had the same name (Go do a search on Cupcake Plates and your head will explode) it would be an even bigger problem. I am, uh not a big fan of copying anything - whether it is a design a name, or even a product description.....I am just sayin'.
Pay Close Attention to Your Elders
Lastly, this also explained to me why when websites that would carry my products would change my product names, like from Blossoms to Butterflies. In the beginning it made me crazy and frustrated. I did not realize they better understood their customer than I did - the very green, very inexperienced entrepreneur.
Had one of them just let me in on this secret, I would have probably understood and then quickly changed my product names. Instead it took me about eight years to know why the themed names had been changed, and changed for good reason. I have sadly found out that not everyone views the world like I do, sharing sometimes way too much and hopefully helping out others in the industry.