Tips for Naming Your App

It is often easier to describe something than to give it a name. The name of your application may involve just one or two words. Those few words, however, can have a major impact on your application’s success. Here we examine the process of naming your application in three parts – defining your objectives, generating names and choosing a final name.

App Naming Objectives

You have a lot to accomplish in a name with just one or two words:

  1. Appeals to your target audience.
  2. Legally available and can be legally protected.
  3. Memorable and distinctive.
  4. Easy to say and read.
  5. Consistent with your brand marketing.

The key factor is naming your product is achieving a product name that resonates with your market. These are real dangers for freelancers and small companies who may not have a dedicated marketing team or experience.

Techniques for Generating App Names

The process of generating a name is easy. It is the final selection that is hardest. There are two basic phases involved in generating a name – defining a keyword cloud and wordplay. You can run this as a naming contest in your company or your web page, too. Typically the more people who you can involve, the better.

Your Keyword Cloud – quite simply is a list of everything and anything that you can come up with that is related to your application. Who will use it? What does it do? How does it help them? Who created it? Where was it created? Use specific terms and list everything that comes to mind. Try to include others in this process.

Wordplay – Once you have a keyword cloud you can start on some word play. You have many wordplay methods at your disposal. Here are just some wordplay techniques:

Personification: Create or use the name of a central character.
Mimetrics: Use different spellings to replicate different sounds, (i.e. EZ).
Omission: Remove a letter from a word to make it distinctive, (i.e. Xtra).

Your research may turn up other types of wordplay, too. These two steps should provide a good, long list.

Choosing a Final Name for your App

Choosing a final name for your product is the last and hardest step in the process. This stage typically involves a process of elimination to reach something like a top 10 list of prospective names. A good name should fit your goals and avoid the following pitfalls:

  • Avoid names confusingly similar to other legally protected names.
  • Do your best to arrive at a name that you can legally protect.
  • If you intend to reach multiple geographical markets, review whether your name has any negative connotations or different meanings in their local languages.
  • Avoid hyphenations if you intend to have a web site based upon the name of your product.

Refrain from choosing a name simply because you like it or what you think your market will like. Once you have a short list of “safe” names, proceed to validate which ones resonate best. Consider a survey with the largest sample group you can get – online or offline. To be safe, measure twice, cut once. Validate final results for consistency across two different groups of people.

Just as a great name can help make your app a success, so also can a bad name send it to an early grave.  This article is far from comprehensive, but it will put you on the right track for doing more of your own research.

 

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Project Manager at the Opera Mobile Store providing Sales-Marketing support. Content development and research.

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