Concept Design: Name the Baby!

When you create a product or service concept, you should give it a name. Sounds like a no-duh idea, but in the heat of the moment we forget to do this. Sometimes…

  • we give them numbers or letters. “You see the change in materiality here in concept 2…” or “Clearly Concept C is a total paradigm shift…” But this kinda sucks. It’s hard to remember how the concepts map to numbers or letters, and that makes it hard for people to reference the concept. “Um, you know, I think it was the second one, the one with the thingie…” And if people can’t reference it, they can’t talk about it, much less buy it.
  • we only have one concept, so we name it after ourselves.Our idea is to…” or “The Bixby Canyon Software System, from Bixby Canyon Inc., gives your plants just the right amount of water…” This feels good at first because you can publicize your company and concept name at the same time, and it avoids those messy, expensive naming exercises. But it falls apart when concepts grow up into products. Say when…
    1. you want to change the product or the product name, but people keep referring to it by your company name. You’re stuck, or you change it and risk lose brand recognition.
    2. you introduce a second product which means you now need three names, two product names and a company name, that need different identities. For a long time Symantec was synonymous with anti-virus software, and they had to work hard to be a company known for more than that.

An exception is when you (intentionally or not) have a naming system. Let’s say your company and your first product name is Super Fantastic. When the next product arrives, you name it Super Amazing, then Super Stupendous, and so on.

Just as you wouldn’t have a baby (or a company) without naming it, don’t birth a concept without naming it either.

1 comment

  1. How did terminology management become concept design? Having worked in many codename hells where the lawyers would catch the codename just before it went out the door, and the developers would respond with another codename, it would have been nice if the name was determined up front, but without a product manager, the name always comes later.

    If you looked at XML-based concept markup langauges, you would find that they are different from terminology marketup languages.

    Concept design is focused on embedding a concept in a conceptualization. The conceptualization might suggest a name.

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