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10 Top Tips For Branding Your Invention

It's time to get out your invention notebooks, and set up a list of possible names for your invention.

The branding stage should take a good long time because you are an inventor, and you will keep coming up with more brand names to challenge prior names. Also, as you move your invention through prototype, production testing, and marketing design, you will see your product through different perspectives that may affect its name.

Here are my top 10 tips for branding your invention:

1. Think ahead.

If you will be developing a product line from your invention, will you need a "line name," as well as a "product name." How will the product names relate to each other? In the case of Nukkles, its cousins Nuzzles® and Snukkles®, have an auditory, oral, and functional similarity. But the seeds of this trio did not sprout until I discovered that different materials could be used in the Nukkles mold that would enable different massage effects... different strokes for different folks and kids and animals! From another line I created, HoundsAcrossAmerica®, came HoundBag® and HoundToy. Of course, look no further than Apple®'s "I"- "you're the apple of my eye"- products. IMac®, IPod®, IPhone®... now there was some planning for the future!

2. Know your market before you choose a name.

Will the product be sold on television, the internet, or in high- end retail? The more mass market your product, generally, the more your product name should say what it does. Names like Urine Gone! or Nicer Dicer, may not work well for Neiman Marcus, but will do super among infomercial junkies. (Admit it! You are one too!)

3. It's a new product. Give it a new name!

The name should not remind prospective customers of any product that is already on the market, especially ones similar to your product. Please don't say you've invented another ab machine; they are confusing enough as it is to identify. Ab Wheel, Ab Trainer, Ab Sculptor, Ab Roller, Ab Straps, Ab Incline, Ab Crunch, Ab Board, Ab Slider, Ab Toner, Ab Shaper... most of these names are not trademarkable because they are descriptive words in common use. Mr. John Abdo was able to trademark his abdominal machine, the AbDoer®, because the brand comes from his own name and not the words "ab" and "do." Now wasn't that lucky! (More about the intricacies of trademarking in next week's blog.)

4. Pick a short memorable name.

The majority of top brand names are two syllables; some three syllable names get in there, and four syllables will work if your name is Coca-Cola®. I was not a fan of the brand This Can't Be Yogurt® which is now called TCBY®. I can never remember that acronym. And what About I Can't Believe It's Not Butter®? Who ever gets that right? Will it soon become ICBINB?

Comments
Feb 21, 2007
by Michelle
Michelle's picture

Hi Myra: I think branding a

Hi Myra:

I think branding a product is one of the critical factors to success and should be thought through.  We picked the website name AmericanInventorSpot.com and its a pretty awful name.  Tongue out  If we had the chance to do it all over again, we would never have picked something so clunky and so tied to something we have grown beyond.  

So the tip I would give is think about potential down the road, and don't tie youself too tightly to one use or application.

Michelle
AmericanInventorSpot.com Team

Feb 21, 2007
by Myra Per-Lee

AmericanInventorSpot

Michelle...

I actually Like the name AmericanInventorSpot.I think that an informational web site has different branding criteria from a product.  It's a long name to type, but once your readers arrive on the stie, they want to bookmark it!  If you are concerned about drawing international traffic to the site, I see your point.

Myra Per-Lee
Featured Blogger
www.AmericanInventorSpot.com

Feb 21, 2007
by Michelle
Michelle's picture

Thanks Myra: But our name is

Thanks Myra:

But our name is very limiting and I personally don't like it. 

We started as just a fan site for American Inventor for the inventors to hang out in.  Now, we want to cover all the stuff of interest to inventors.  Is a show like Everyday Edison going to want to support a site and advertise on a site named after a competing show? Probably not.

I have concerns that the American Inventor show may takes us for granted and other invention shows won't think of us as a good place for them....in part because of our poor choice of name. 

Also, American Inventor first season was disappointing on some levels.  We had ssues with the way the inventor was portrayed.  But with our site name, it's hard to separate us from the show as a whole in people's minds (both the good and the bad). 

Now, we have to deal with the consequences of having a name that I personally feel  is more a burden than a help.  Other members of the Spot  team don't agree  with me so but this is just my personal opinion.

So I think people should learn from us as an example. 

One decision that could forever impact your opportunities dramatically is the choice of a name. So be careful and think it through carefully before you commit. 

Michelle
AmericanInventorSpot.com Team

Feb 23, 2007
by Bill (not verified)

AmericanInventorSpot

I don't think its a bad name either, even if its not perfect.  Despite its length, its pretty easy to remember.  Also, the domain name was available.  In this day and age, despite the length, americaninventorspot.com is actually a pretty decent .com domain name.  On that note there's one more factor that should play into branding strategy in today's market - available domain names.  Of course, the domain name does not have to reflect the name of a product or product line.  I would argue that the domain name should reflect the company name, but the bottom line is, it simply has to work.0

The other reason why I like the name American Inventor Spot is because its in line with the first point Myra makes in her blog - it sets the site/company up well for future expansion.  If the focus is on 'Inventor Spot,' all you need to do is change the 'American' and you've got the name of a new, related inventor community.  For example, French Inventor Spot, etc.  All thats needed is a central "Inventor Spot" page/community that links to all of the "Inventor Spots" and perhaps highlights blogs from each one of them (this of course would also help limit the association with the 'American Inventor' tv show).

Mar 1, 2007
by Bobby (not verified)

names that fit my products

Myra,

 

 My comments come from personal experience on several names I’ve developed for my products. One thing you must take into account, you may need to drop the name if your licensee decides to use something else .You have to be open minded when it comes to stuff like this unless you’re an expert in that field of marketing and branding.

 

#2 know your market. I know the market I’m going for before I come up with the name. I tend to stay with the action of the product like you mentioned in the article. My mass-market names have been: EYE-D for glasses, SKIDS a brake for skates that can leave skid marks, and Tonerbelt for toning those muscles up by putting on the belt.

 

#3 Give it a new name is important too. Getting back to having an open mind when it came to my Tonerbelt. I had originally called it Strider because I used it when I rollerbladed and found my heart and arms really got the work out. . After finding a licensee we decided to change it to the benefits you get from the product.  I do own the trademark! What I have seen since the show aired are products that use my name to bring attention to their sites and products. Ab tonerbelt , Slendertone muscle tonerbelt, Abgymic muscles tonerbelt. I must have a great product and name if they are using my trademark especially the company who tried to slander my integrity and now uses my name to draw people to his over priced products.

 

 

#5 the brand should tell what the product does.  Keeping it simple is the rule of thumb for me. Remember to much analyses can causes paralysis. Great article.

 

Bobby Amore

American inventor top 12 finalist

www.tonerbelt.org

Mar 2, 2007
by Myra Per-Lee

Great branding pointers!

Thanks Bobby! Great tips! You picked excellent names for your products. They say what the product does and that's perfect for mass market consumers. Thank you for contributing your valuable experience for our readers.

Any other readers want to share their product branding experiences?? Please do.

Myra Per-Lee Featured Blogger www.AmericanInventorSpot.com