Want to create a product name that scores with branding professionals? Then make it short, simple, and direct; ignore conventional spelling rules; and make it a real word if you can.
Those are among the conclusions of a naming survey released last month by New York branding agency TippingSprung, which asked 1,331 senior marketing and branding professionals to choose their favorite new brand names in ten categories. (The press release doesn't fully reveal the survey's methodology; it appears that respondents chose from a pre-selected list of names.) Among the marketing mavens' preferences:
- Go! - best new discount airline name. Respondents liked the Hawaiian carrier's "brevity, clarity, and direct call to action."
- Spykes - best new cocktail or spirits name (and an example of the "doctored-spelling" preference). A good name wasn't enough to save this misbegotten Anheuser-Busch malt-beverage: Shortly after the product's launch earlier this year, the company yielded to consumer pressure and issued a recall. Parent groups in particular had objected that the 99-cent bottles--which came in flavors like mango and hot chocolate--were clearly targeted at underage drinkers.
- Enjuvia - most consumer-friendly new drug name. Enjuvia, prescribed for relief of menopause symptoms, was the top pick of 25% of survey respondents; Reconcile, an anti-anxiety drug for dogs (yes, dogs), was a close second with 21.9%.
Only one "worst" showed up in the survey results: Ultraviolet Man Summer Pop, a fragrance from Paco Rabanne enhanced with some of the ripest marketing copy around: "Vitamin-filled colors, matte white, silvery metal… Summer Pop unveils a limited edition of Ultraviolet Man inspired by the energy and colors of the Pop Art movement. Absinthe, deep red, white… a festival of masculine hues."
More interesting than the multiple-choice answers are the marketers' open-ended responses to some timely naming questions:
What would you have called the Apple iPhone? Only 20 percent of respondents thought iPhone was the best solution. The others got creative with suggestions like MacBerry, AppleSeed, Cameo, and (my own favorite) Pi. Apple Pi: yum!
What name would you give the world's first truly green car? How about Jade, Leaf, or Verde? G-Machine, Footprint, or EarthShip? Or Muir, named to honor naturalist and Sierra Club founder John Muir?
Notably absent from the survey: Web 2.0 company names--or indeed any non-consumer brands.