My manifesto on product naming

You may have seen my tweet from yesterday:


Honestly, if it hadn’t been such a public forum I’d have hit my head on the desk several times… I can’t say what the product name was as the discussion was under NDA and I don’t break those.

However, it made me think about what makes a good product name – you know, one that means something to users and customers (examples: Notes, Domino, DB2, Quickr, Facebook, Twitter, Cortina, Corvette, etc. etc.).

Here’s my manifesto for future IBM product naming:
1.        Must be less than two words, excluding IBM.
2.        Must not include a description of what the product does in plain language (examples: Lotus Instant Messaging, Tivoli Intelligent Metering Network Management)
3.        Must not contain current industry buzz words that will be out of fashion in less than 18 months (example: IBM Service Manager for Smart Business, anything containing ‘Cloud’, ‘Social Business’)
4.        Must be 95% likely to return the first result when googled (examples of failures in this area: i – the latest name for AS400, access manager, application server)
5.        Must engender some form of bonding from those it is aimed at (or at least not complete antipathy!)

Any more requirements that you would add?

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!