Naming a product? Keep your hands on the wheel

An interesting article in the Globe and Mail yesterday about three new products that allow drivers to email and text handsfree, via voice commands.  But what about the names of these brands?

iLane

In that it perpetuates the Apple-inspired, ubiquitous trend of prefacing names with the letter i, this name wins no points for originality.  However, a factor more important to good brand names than originality is memorability, for which iLane scores high – partly because of its very lack of originality:  the i prefix is so common and thus easy for us recall.  This name’s brevity, at two syllables and just five letters, is at least equally vital to its memorability.

Good names also anchor in the mind by conveying important information about what makes the brand different.  On this score, the i is again a factor, in that it speaks to the product’s apparent focus on serving the whims of its owner.  Attaching the i to the word Lane extrapolates the customer-centricity of this product to the realm of driving – in whatever lane one likes, which connotes the very point of this handsfree technology.

Bottom line:  iLike.

 

VoiceItAll

Say the names “iLane” and “VoiceItAll” quickly to someone and I bet they hear the first one right away, and ask you to repeat the second.  This challenge with VoiceItAll arises from the placement of It and All together:  “I heard the word Voice in there, but what was that other part? IDall? IDoll? What does a doll have to do with a handsfree unit??”

Although the name is not the easiest to understand and thus recall, it does a good job of expressing what the product allows you to do.

Bottom line:  NotSoGreat

 

Got2b Voice

Long at four syllables, this name will get immediately shortened by users down to Got2b, which is exactly how the Globe columnist refers to it.  The problem is that Got2b as a name means absolutely nothing, a reminder for brands to keep their names short.  And if you can’t keep it short, at least anticipate how audiences will shorten your name and ensure that the shortened version still says something meaningful about your brand.

The longer your name, the less able you’ll be to predict how the masses will choose to shorten it.  Could anyone have anticipated that Guantanamo Bay would be shortened to Gitmo?

Bottom line:  Going2Forget It

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