Friday, June 18, 2010

Naming New Software Programs

Coming up with names for new software products has become a never ending challenge. We've recently introduced several new applications including Bolt PDF printer, Doxillion document converter, CardWorks business card designer and, most recently, Reflect CRM Software. And there are three more programs in development that are still waiting to be christened.

The name of a product is only one piece of the branding puzzle, but deciding on a name is an important step that influences the box design, webpage, and sometimes even the product's interface. So choosing a solid name for a new product is both an exciting and sometimes daunting project, and with so many exciting new products coming through lately, we are slowly turning this naming process into an art form.

After the specs for a new software product have been outlined, the developers give the marketing team a run down on what the new program will do and its key features. I use this information to paint as clear a picture as I can of "Audio Joe," or "Entrepreneur Jack," who is chomping at the bit waiting to buy the new software. Describing not only the target market, but getting a firm grasp on who the customer is and the solution that the software will provide them, is an important step to helping decide what the personality of a product should be.

This is where brainstorming begins. We always at least consider names with 'Express' and 'Pad' in the name, since that is a recurring theme in many of our product names, and sometimes those suggestions spawn lots of laughter as we come across all of the silly and strange words that you can append 'Pad' to. But I think that the laughter is a helpful step that helps get the creative juices flowing and makes a smooth transition to searching the thesaurus for synonyms of key words and feelings that sparking more ideas.

Prism Video Converter Software BoxSometimes we get the opportunity to come up with new words, or combine two ideas as in Disketch CD labeling software. Sometimes the name we decide on is single word that fits the idea or emotion of the software. For example, Prism video converter can split a video into a wide spectrum of different file formats and compressions. The word prism opens up a lot of options; the way a prism opens up white light is a very nice association for how Prism the video converter opens up video files and possibilities.

Our goal throughout is to find a name that leaves an impression with the potential user. With Reflect, we wanted the name to convey that the software gives the user an accurate impression of their clients, an idea we then try to carry to the artwork, text and broader branding for the software. When we've done the job well we usually find that by the time the product is released it is hard to think or it having any other name.

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