Who Is Naming Your Product?

I just read an article on the My Private Brand blog about Food Lion’s contest to have customers name flavors of their private label sodas. While I applaud the idea of engaging customers with a contest, I worry that they can sometimes minimize the important role consumer insights play in evaluating the name nominees.

Crowd sourcing is an exciting jumping off point for idea generation – and a wonderful way to use social media to engage a brand’s community of fans. However, whether it’s the brand name, a sub-line, or an individual item, names can and do mean a lot to consumers. Key questions that consumer insights bring to consideration are name likes and dislikes, purchase intent, uniqueness, memorability, and brand fit. But perhaps most important is learning about the emotional and imagery connections a name generates. It’s through these subliminal discoveries that companies can create meaningful, lasting connections between their brands and the consumers.

With so many products on the shelf these days, names, if not done well, are easily forgettable. As market research professionals, it’s our job to remind clients that naming shouldn't be taken lightly. Someone once said, “Words have meaning, and names have power.” That’s a lot of power – and faith – riding on the wisdom of the crowd.