NamingPitfallsDid you know that product and company naming is something I do… scratch that, Love to do? Such projects are a linguistic and entrepreneurial match made in heaven. {Or in my lexicon.} So I tend to pay attention to what people are naming things and here are a few red flags that fly high when I see them.

1) Misspelling
If the name you love is already taken, avoid the temptation to drop a letter and go forward because every time you tell someone your name and they go to search for it… they will find your competition. Plus it implies that you can’t spell which never looks good.

2) Overly Euphemistic
Clever almost always works, but innuendo… not always. One of my favorite advertising men, David Ogilvy, talks about when that kind of implication sells and when it doesn’t. In general, if you’re selling something that works to make people feel those feelings, particularly in fashion or beauty, then it works. If you’re not, it’s distracting.

3) Too Generic
This is especially true for product or service names. Don’t choose the most common name to describe what you’re selling. Get a little creative and clever. Try to get the value proposition at least hinted at in the name. Upon hearing your name you want people to think “Oh yeah. I totally need that” not “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of that.”

4) Too Abstract
I’ve seen many requests for “made up names like Amazon or Google…” but even they, while not pragmatically descriptive of their brand, had reasons for why they chose those names. And neither was made up. Don’t choose abstractness for the sake of abstractness.

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