2013
04.11

So how do technology companies come up with product names that are cool and cutting edge? Where do product name ideas originate and how can you emulate their success.

Strangely enough the appearance of the product often dictates what the name will be. The iPod which has given birth to whole series of Apple products was named by a freelance copywriter named Vinne Chieco. Chieco thought the product located like a pod from a science fiction so he called it a pod. He then added the “I” to emphasize the connection to Apple’s hugely popular iMac computer.

The case of the iPod shows how human creativity is superior to a business name generator even in Silicon Valley. No computer program could have thought up anything as creative, as original or as effective as the term iPod. Another product named for its appearance is the Blackberry which was named because its buttons reminded a copywriter of blackberries.

Sometimes Names won’t work out

Business name ideas and product name ideas don’t always work out. Take the case of the popular free web browser Mozilla Firefox. It was originally called Mozilla Firebird but the name had to be changed because a competing piece of software was also cared Firebird. Mozilla executives changed the name Firefox which is a name for a red panda a small animal found in China.

The name Android for Google’s widely used operating system for wireless devices comes from a start up the giant browser company acquired in 2005. Some media reports indicate that Google wanted to keep its product secret so it used the name Android to cover up what it was doing. Whatever happened the name Android stuck and is still used even though everybody knows what it is.

Being Different Helps

When you are naming a product being different from everybody else helps. Google was successful partially because it didn’t adopt a name like Webcrawler. Instead it stuck with something rather unusual and original.

Microsoft has distinguished many of its products with original names including Azure for its cloud based solutions. Apple’s use of cat names for its operating systems such as Snow Leopard helps set it apart from the pack and its other products.

A new and different name can show potential customers that the product itself is new and different. That was certainly the case with the iPod which was like no other music player on the market when it first appeared in 2001.

Being very original or unusual can give you a name that you can copyright. It can also make it easier to write an effective slogan for a product. Another advantage is that such a name can keep customers from confusing your product with somebody else’s offering.

What to a Avoid in a Tech Name

Many technology product names are deliberately designed not to sound technical or geeky. The name Google was deliberately picked because it didn’t sound like an engineering phrase or something computer related. Blackberry sounded simple and fun.

Taking the time to find an original and creative name for a product can distinguish your offering from the rest.

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