There’s an established and long-standing process to developing and choosing names for new products. In fact, this is a business in and of itself, and it’s not unheard of for companies to pay tens of thousands of dollars to come up with the name for a new product.
Based on what my colleagues and I recently uncovered, I’d like to make the case for this money being spent on coming up with truly unique product names. Why do I believe this? It has to do with something that I’ve just named "The Spinbix Effect."
We’ve been working on a large and complex search engine optimization (SEO) project for a client that manufactures and markets lots of consumer widgets. For the purposes of this article, let’s pretend the client is "Acme." Each of Acme’s widgets has its own brand name. Some of the names are more generic and use words found in the dictionary, such as Acme Mosaic and Acme Hunter. Other brand names are completely unique words not found in the dictionary, such as Acme Spinbix and Acme Bunfob.
As part of our SEO project, we’ve been looking at inbound traffic to Acme’s Website from search engines. More particularly, we’ve been analyzing the keywords and phrases that are generating traffic for Acme. One of the most interesting patterns we observed was that products that have unique names (e.g., Acme Spinbix) generate higher search traffic (Website visitors) than products with generic names (e.g., Acme Mosaic).
This makes a lot of sense when you think about it. A consumer who hears about a product called "Acme Mosaic" (through traditional marketing channels) and then goes and types "mosaic" into a search engine is going to get all sorts of search results that have nothing to do with Acme and its products. From the get go, when it uses a generic name for a product, Acme is facing an uphill battle in terms of generating search traffic.
Now contrast this with a consumer hearing about, and then searching for, a product with a unique name, such as "Acme Spinbix." When they type "Spinbix" into a search engine, not only are there going to be far fewer search results to sift through, but by default most of them are going to be related to Acme and its products. (Right now, for instance, a search on Google for "spinbix" turns up only 1 page!) When Acme uses unique names for its products, it greatly increases its odds of generating valuable search traffic. In a perfect world, Acme should use unique names for all of its products.
There are lots of good reasons for a company to try to come up with unique names for its products, especially if those products will be advertised in traditional channels. The Spinbix Effect should be added to that list of reasons.