Naming a Product: Before You Begin


Naming a Product

Naming a product is indisputably one of the most imperative steps of the entire task of product-making and launching. However, it isn’t as simple as it sounds. You not only have to pick a name for your product but also have to do it effectively, making sure that the name goes with both the product as well as the company. Why so? It’s because your product name will reflect to some extent what the product is all about which in turn will have an impact on the overall image of your business. You definitely don’t want to risk it all away just be being careless while naming a product.

Just like you need strategies for product designing, creating, delivering and marketing, the same way strategies are also required while naming a product. You can’t just create a product and name it as the first word that strikes into your mind. You never know if that can bring an actual disaster for your business, being completely irrelevant or inappropriate for both the product as well as your company. This is why it’s crucial to know about the strategies before you begin on naming a product.

Brandbucket has come to you with the knowledge of strategies that you need to know about before you begin naming a product: strategies such as Masterbrand and Sub-brand.

The first thing to remember is that you don’t need to follow one single strategy that you find the gigantic popular companies adopting. One size doesn’t fit all in the case for product naming. The good news is that you can choose from and utilize a variety of strategic routes when naming your product. Get rid of the fallacy that many people have in their minds regarding every single product requiring individual brands and trademarks. Just because well known international brands such as Apple or Unilever uses this strategy doesn’t mean you have to adopt it too or that it fits your product or company.

So how do you when it’s right for you to adopt unique product trademarks or when it’s not? Brandbucket makes it easier for you to choose by making a clear distinction between the two routes of naming a product.

  1. Masterbrand

This naming strategy involves a Masterbrand brand design aimed to generate a single high-level corporate trademark that covers all the products in the portfolio. All the product names in this approach tend to be descriptive in nature instead of being individual trademarks. This is a less expensive strategy of naming a product than its alternative. This method is very popular in the telecommunications sector where the companies use descriptive names such as “pay as you go” and “family plan” to describe the services. Another well known example is the corporation Virgin which uses descriptive names for its offers such as Virgin Air, Virgin Radio and Virgin Mobile.

  1. Sub-brand

This naming approach involves a Sub-brand brand design which positions the range of products of a company under a corporate brand name, however with individually trademarked product names instead of descriptive ones. This strategy helps to create product names that communicate with the different kinds of customers and their various needs, as well as being effectively integrated with the corporate brand. Well-known companies that use this approach are Apple and Ford with their range of sub-brands such as iPad, iPhone 3gs, iPhone 5 and Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and Ford Escape respectively.

So when do you use Masterbrands and when do you use Sub-brands? Brandbucket advises you to consider the following things in mind when choosing between the two:

  1. When to opt for Masterbrands or descriptive product names:
  • You can only trademark the high-level corporate name but not trademark descriptive names because of them being explanatory.
  • Having a Masterbrand reduces legal risks as the number of individual trademarks is minimized.
  • It is easier to go for acquisitions and mergers when using Masterbrand strategy because of the existence of only a single brand to integrate with.
  • Using descriptive names helps to communicate efficiently with customers particularly if the products require instant description to remove ambiguities from customers’ minds.
  • You can include important internet keywords in descriptive names to make them search engine optimized and have improved search engine ranking.
  • This strategy tends to maximize brand awareness due to the focus of marketing being on one brand image and strategy.


  1. When to go for Sub-brands or unique trademarks:
  • This approach can help your company to expand its market share particularly when you are launching a new product to an untapped market.
  • Sub-brands tend to divide the customers’ concentration between the corporate brand and sub-brand which is appropriate only for companies with big product portfolios.
  • This strategy requires increased number of trademarks which increases the legal risks as well and requires a good amount of legal resources.
  • It is quite costly to develop and maintain a number of trademarks that require resources.

If you still have confusions about these two strategies or want to add some more important points to the ones mentioned already. We recommend visiting the links as well for more info on these strategies.

Image by: Paul Townsend