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Sound Secrets to Naming Products That Stick

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A STEM Education Product Marketer’s Guide to Memorable Brand Names

Coke or Pepsi? Hardee’s or Carl’s, Jr? Nats or Astros? Personally, I’m a Coca-Cola brand loyalist. I’m the type of fan that marketers strive to cultivate for their brand.

In the science and STEM education market, our brands aren’t as large as Coke or the Nationals, but we are powerful. We in K-12 education are serving the next generation of inventors and scientists. In college and university, we are training a workforce in skills that have yet to be determined. With that responsibility, we must depend on data-driven skills for branding.

Let’s start with naming.

 “How do we develop that Coca-Cola kind of loyalty in the EdTech market for a new business or a new product?”

Naming is tough. We sit around a room with a hundred sticky notes on the wall, each with their own pros and cons and imagined catchy jingle. It’s not enough to simply settle on the moniker we’ve been using in the development process as the one that our customers will learn to love. Shakespeare asked, “What’s in a name?” As it turns out, quite a bit, which is probably why he named the play Romeo and Juliet and not The Perfidy and Romance of the Veronese.

Shakespeare was no fool, and neither are we. Everything from the length of a name to the placement of the syllables to the sounds those syllables make can affect how well that name will be remembered, interpreted, liked, and understood in relation to the product.Not only can these aspects be understood, they can be purposefully utilized to instill in our customers certain feelings and preconceptions of our brand before they even know what it is.

Your marketers likely tell you this. We will provide you with data to support our claim and help you give your product the name people will remember.

Here are three quick tips, and, for those of you who require depth, we will tell you about the plosives in the word Pepsi in our white paper. Does the intern on your team insist on naming your newest product with an acronym? We have the evidence for your next meeting.


Top Three Tips for Brand Names
1. Keep it short.
2. Avoid acronyms.
3. Begin with a hard sound.

Here are my three quick tips for naming a product, service, or company:

  1. Keep It Short. The fewer syllables, the better. One syllable names are the best. If you go over three syllables, your customers will automatically give your brand a nickname to reduce the number of syllables.
  2. Avoid Acronyms. It’s an easy trap to fall into; however, research shows that names with meaning score higher in awareness and are more memorable than acronyms.
  3. Start with a Hard Sound. Brand names that start with p, k, g, t, d, or b have an advantage over their competition before the product is even experienced.

Okay, before you download Catapult’s white paper, All About That Sound, try humming this: “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, I’d like to buy the world a Pepsi . . .”

So how about it? Coke or Pepsi?