Product & Service Naming

Product naming encompasses much more than products. It’s about services, concepts, ingredients, product lines and families, platforms, and solution suites across industries. We ensure a name not only expresses the essence of the product or service, but also fits in any existing product family. Marcia, Jan, and … Esmeralda? Not so much.

A savvy naming partner understands that every product is unique, every market distinct, and every naming objective different. At Catchword, we take the time to understand your product or service, your marketplace, and your naming goals.

Are you hoping to define a new category or simply distinguish your offering from competitors’? Is it important to tie the new name to your portfolio, or does it need to stand apart? Should the new name communicate a key brand message or create brand intrigue with an abstract concept? Whatever your objectives, we’ll ensure we’re on the same page and deliver product and service names that address your goals. Check out our Full Portfolio of Product & Service Names for examples of our work.


How to Create Great Product & Service Names

Latest Name Review

We’re all familiar with the non-English words used as brand names, like Kijiji, Bodega, Prego, or Uber. We’re probably more familiar with intentionally misspelled words used as brand names, like Tumblr or Lyft.

Non-English names (especially European and specifically French-derived) can signal elegance, and are often used in fashion. Misspelling can be a cue that the company is techy, or an upstart.

With Phlur, you get both.

From www.Phlur.com

A misspelling of fleur, the French word for flower, Phlur is hoping you will be willing to skip the trip to the department store and buy cologne online. Specifically, Phlur’ll sell you some samples on the cheap, and then give you a discount on full bottles once you find the scent you like.

We usually stick to reviewing newborn names. Phlur has been around for over a year, but saw renewed press recently due to a round of fundraising. Since the name was a bold choice, here we are.

Both non-English names and misspelled names are meant to be surprising; they ask the consumer to go on a little journey with the brand. They are meant to make you take a second look. When well executed, consumers like that. But the heart of the matter is this: can English-speaking consumers handle a non-English name that is ALSO misspelled?

Zappos is one pseudo-precedent. The name comes from zapato, the Spanish word for shoes. But Zappos has many of the hallmarks of a good name in its own right: it has a double letter, a memorable Z to kick it off, and it’s fun to say.

Phlur doesn’t have that. Phlur is awkward to read, and the pronunciation takes work to decipher. We just aren’t used to that letter combination; the only word I can think of that starts with “phl” is “phlegm.” (A quick jaunt through Webster’s also cues me in to phlebitis, which believe me, you don’t want to contract.)

The scent names they’ve created are all elegant, and the copy is cheeky but informative. The scent Hanami, for example, is descibed as “Effervescent and ethereal; a butterfly ice skating.” That’s all great, but the name Phlur just isn’t quite elegant enough, and doesn’t read as playful and cheeky enough to be the face of the otherwise well-branded brand.

Finding an available trademark and domain name is always difficult, and doing so with a misspelled non-English name would be, in theory, much easier than with most other naming directions. (The options are less limited because the territory is relatively uncharted.) Perhaps that was a motivator for the company’s choice of Phlur. Exploring this territory for a company name could be a good call but only if you can develop one that works well on all levels, including pronunciation by English speakers.

I’ll tell you one thing. Phlur definitely got its domain name for free.

Both non-English names and misspelled names are meant to be surprising; they ask the consumer to go on a little journey with the brand. They are meant to make you take a second look. When well executed, consumers like that. But the heart of the matter is this: can English-speaking consumers handle a non-English name that is ALSO misspelled?

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