Monkey Monday - January 4th, 2021

How to name your stuff.

Communication | Branding | Marketing | Workshops |

Happy new year Monkey Stars. We hope you’ve all had a fab xmas break. In today’s Monkey Monday, the first of 2021, Matt and Chris are sharing their tips for naming your product.

Naming stuff is notoriously difficult, but we have a few exercises to try that should make the process much easier.

What are your fave product names?

Here’s the breakdown

00:00 - Song

00:54 - Intro

01:42 - Decision-makers

02:14 - Golden rules

04:04 - Audiences

04:14 - Consistency

05:15 - Visualisations

06:01 - Exercise 1: Start obvious

06:24 - Exercise 2: Product aesthetics

07:10 - Exercise 3: Product functions

07:42 - Exercise 4: Who does it help?

08:27 - Exercise 5: How does it help?

08:48 - Matt and Chris lose the plot

10:35 - Exercise 7(?): Word associations

11:07 - Exercise 8: Get creative

11:43 - Exercise 9: Get clever

12:07 - Scoring

13:21 - Context

13:48 - Audience hats

Need to name something?

Transcript Show / Hide

Matthew Burton, branding expert, 2021 .
I was going to sing you one back, but we'll do that in the next intro, why not.
Yeah.
Thank you very much. That's very kind.
You could use that as your new ringtone.
Okay. I want you to put a little soundbed under that, uh, so it sounds even better.
Can it sound better than that?
Probably couldn't, it was perfect. Hi, I'm Matt.
I'm Chris.
It's a Monkey Monday and it's 2021. Who'd have thought it, it's like the future.
Yeah, suddenly we're old.
I know. I remember it being 1985 and writing that down in my, uh, my homework.
Writing what down? 2021?
  1. Yeah.
Okay, good. What are we talking about today?
I don't know, but it's a killer start, isn't it? We thought we would talk about naming a thing. Okay. Yes. It's probably one of the hardest things out there. People think maybe it's really easy and we're kind of going down into not naming your business as such, but maybe naming a product. Cause it's kind of, you know, naming your business is a different conversation. So we thought we'd, we thought we'd share, um, just a simple workshop that you can do yourself. You don't need to come to us or anyone else, you can just do this internally and see how you go.
Yeah. And this is based on a workshop we did with a client of ours and, uh, the different ways in which we found we could, uh, find different names for a product.
Yeah. And it's often, uh, can be really, really challenging. And so the first thing to think about really is, is to make sure you do your homework, I guess, make sure the simple stuff, make sure the decision makers are in on it. Because you don't want to do all this work and then it goes up the chain and then somebody goes, I don't like that. So, um, make sure you build a little team and everyone's involved, who are kind of making the decisions are in that team.
Yeah. We can't stress that enough. You get so many projects that are derailed right at the end, and it's with naming, it's with anything else, that you need to get those key decision-makers in right at the very beginning.
Yeah. So let's just smash into it. Like we're doing some sort of new year's exercises.
Oh yes, go!
Go! Right. Uh, golden rules. Make it short, make it memorable, make it unique.
Yes. Uh, like, uh, can you think of any amazing names of products? Go!
[Deafening silence]
I could cut this bit out, so it feels it it's, uh, like you hadn't had any thinking time at all.
[Deafening silence]
Can't think of any? Most names are dreadful as it comes. And that is the point--
Bing!
Bing? That's a TV character for kids. Most names, most people spend a lot of time on names and it doesn't actually matter that much.
Yeah. I think that's, that's the really important part, isn't it really? Um, I think going back to those rules: making it short. The reason you make it short is so that it's easy to write out. It's easy to find. Uh, it helps achieve number two, which is memorable. Can you regurgitate it to somebody? Um, and making it unique is obviously important because you don't wanna get done. You don't wanna get sued for, um, bringing out a new t-shirt company called Bing.
And not selling little rabbit things. Anyway. Yeah. So I would say, uh, yeah, think of the names, uh, outside that you like, and they're all sort of, I'm thinking of things like Ring, doorbell, uh, Coke. That's very memorable. And they even shortened it down from Coca Cola.
Yeah. And Nest.
Nest. Yes. All those things are, everyone's trying to simplify it as much as they possibly can.
Uh, some long names can work, but, uh, it's a rule of thumb. Follow that, and you're probably not going to go too far wrong, especially when you're thinking of your product. Okay. Uh, let's, let's fly into, uh, what, what we should be looking at to begin with. So, um, do your homework, look at your audiences. So who is it for? Because you're going to need that in the workshop. So describe your audiences, um, do your due diligence with your own products, because maybe you're releasing a product here and you've got a load of other products over here. So if all of your other products are called the BJ1000--
Interesting name. You should maybe call your next product the BJ2000.
Potentially. That could be the next product. And what is the association of that new product to your old one? You maybe wouldn't call it something really off the wall, like Matilda, because it wouldn't sit well next to BJ1000.
Yeah, exactly. It's MAYA, as in a previous vlog, it's got to be most advanced yet acceptable.
Yeah. Yes. Now again, we like to throw in a bit of a creative destruction grenade here. You might find once you open the world up to the new names and new ideas for the new product, perhaps it's time to bring everything else into that new family. So it's an interesting thing, you, but you need to know what those are called at the moment. Um, You could start as well with some visualizations - we recommend doing that. Get a mood board, look at stuff you like, competitors, things like that. Create a bit of a mood board. You could do that in your workshop. Um, we've been using Jamboard to do this stuff we, we vlogged about that the other day. Um, it's pretty good because you can just create that mood board together and you can talk over lots of different pieces and it gets your creative mind going.
Yeah, exactly. And, uh, in one of the sessions we did for a client, um, it helped us come up with about a thousand names.
Yeah. So, um, what we did then, and what you can do is we break this down into nine exercises. So we start with the simple stuff, really. So exercise number one. Are you gonna put graphics up?
Uh, yes, I'll put some graphics up.
Exercise number one - start with the obvious. And maybe look at your existing products. So again, let's go back to BJ1000. So the obvious thing would be something similar to that, following that nomenclature. Um, so look at what you have, come up with ideas around that. And that should be a fairly easy process.
Yeah. Why stray too far off the path when you might have a solution already there?
Exercise two - uh, product aesthetics. Get a picture of your product, if you've got one, hopefully you have. If it's a service, it might be slightly more difficult. But, um, describe it because it could be as simple as that. If it's a grey box, write down 'Grey Box', because maybe that's all you need to call it.
Yeah. Maybe that would be remarkable, as one of your competitors, they wouldn't be calling their products, 'That Grey Box', but your, the people who are going into your shop or asking for your products may just be going, I just want that Grey Box.
Yeah. Or maybe there's something on the actual product itself that's interesting or unique. Maybe something, you know, rotates or flips or hovers or disappears. I'm not sure how creative your product is.
Wow. All right. Next?
Exercise three. What does it do? Functions. Old school marketing here, really. So what are the functions of it? Um, could be something in that. So if it's, I don't know, if it's a gun.
Yes.
And it shoots bullets.
The Shoot Bullet 3000.
Exactly.
What does your BJ1000 do?
Eh, well, I'll send you a product link later. Exercise four. It's a good one this week.
Yeah, it is...
Exercise four - who does it help? So you could list all of the different types of people that might use your product. So I don't know, maybe engineers use it.
Oh yeah.
The Engineery Helper 2000.
We're really good at naming things. Don't. Don't take this as that.
So perhaps, I don't know, maybe, uh, maybe it helps walkers for instance, or ramblers. So maybe it's the RambleMaster.
Oh yes. You're on a roll now.
I know.
He's our lead creator. He's our creative director.
Well the thing is, uh, you spend a day doing this. You don't do it in uh, you don't do it in two seconds.
No.
You're not allowed to steal any of these names, either. If I see you've released the RambleMaster 2000, I want a cut. Exercise, uh, five. How does it help them? What benefits does it give the end user? You can do an example, Chris. One off the top of your head. Go.
Okay. Go like, um, the, something around a teasmade. Cause I like drinking tea. And maybe you would call that the Refresh 5000.
Mm. What about if it was a toilet paper company?
Um, the CleanBum 250?
You see how easy this is.
Yeah. Yeah.
Okay. [Hysteria]
We might have to cut until we're not laughing anymore. We're going to be serious. We're going to, we're going to be serious, right? Seriously.
It's going to go in the blooper reel. It's fine. [Indecipherable hysteria]
What exercise are we on now?
Exercise seven. [Hysterical wheezing]
This is going to make my editing really tricky.
Yeah. [Continued hysteria]
I'm going to have to fast forward through all this.
It's the CleanBum 250, it's killed me.
Well, there's probably 250 sheets in a roll.
That's good.
Clean bum.
[A bit of pee may have come out]
You did ask me.
[Total collapse]
I'm a creative chap. You know, I came up with toilet roll that you'll definitely buy. CleanBum 250. Okay. No edit here. Next up, Matt.
Exercise seven. [Sobering pause] Exercise seven. Word or [No, he's gone again] [Quack?] [Slight recovery] Exercise seven - word or named association. So we can go back to tea.
Yes.
Tea's a good one.
Yes.
So, um, if you think about tea...
I can feel a game coming on.
It is a game. If you think about tea, you can think about biscuits. If you think about biscuits, you might think about other stuff. So I don't know if any of you are old enough to remember Mallet's Mallets... Do some word association, bounce that around. No idea is a bad idea. You can end up in a really interesting place when you do that kind of process. Um, exercise eight is where you can go bonkers, deviant, fanciful, abstract words. By this time your creative juices should be flowing. You might need a roll of CleanBum250.
Yes.
And, uh, you could just put down anything here, so anything that's abstract or fanciful, you can make up words or you might find something that just feels really great and fits and is short and fits all of your scoring goals. And lastly, you could then take all of them boards, all of those ideas you've got and start creating, in exercise nine, compound words, or synonyms. So you stick a couple of words together, maybe from different boards. See how they feel. Um, you're looking maybe in this part of the process to create something that's just really unique and really stands out, and you've never heard of before, because naming stuff is hard and it's hard because everything is gone.
Well. And it's also hard because, um, you can come up with a thousand names quite easily that would satisfy the brief, but you've got different, um, people inside your business who have very subjective thoughts on that name. And at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter, but you've got to try and get it past all these people. And you don't want to end up with the blandest thing in the world.
A really good trick to make sure you don't fall into that trap is to choose how you're going to score and how you're going to measure the success of it. So, um, it could just be five main things and you sort of score them out of 10. When we look at the score sheets that we've done in the past for companies, we try and we try and make sure that these scores are blocked. So that could be one up here that's scored really, really, really, really well, but it doesn't necessarily make it the best name. So you could say, look, anything over 20 out of 40 is probably fair game, is probably quite good. So really you're looking, you're looking to get rid of the rubbish in that process, in that scoring process, you want to kind of go look after this certain score, all of this should go, and these are the nests that we should choose from. And then don't present them in a vacuum. It's the most important thing. If you just present the name out there, not in any context, it won't mean anything to anybody. So create a little poster, write a slogan for it. Um, put some imagery and literature around that name and see how it fits and reads and say it out loud, and present that to the people who are going to be making the final decisions, because that's the real key thing.
Yes. And those people making the final decisions, they need to be thinking like a customer of yours rather than - the name shouldn't be trying to please them. It should be trying to please people who are buying from you.
Yes. And wear your audience hats. You did it at the start. You did your audience homework. Put your audience hat on. Once you look at that literature and see how you would feel.
Yes. So I hope that's been useful and I've managed to edit round the laughter.
[Smirk]
You're not going to laugh again, are you?
No, I'm fine.
Okay, good.
And don't forget, if you need a clean bum... It's CleanBum 250.

Let's talk

How can we help?

Subscribe to our newsletter for unique content, marketing insights and good times.

Upgrade your inbox