This post is meant to demonstrate the importance of having a “memorable product name”. This goes for services as well as devices. Here I’ve taken “Zero” as an example. The rest of the post after the video explains why I’m ranting on about names.
- Nokia like to use numbers. Simply put – 0.
- The symbol for zero could even be the actual picture of the phone.
- You can rearrange “NOKIA” to make “ZERO”
- N can rotate into a Z (branding/icon simplicity)
- Zero just has two syllables.
- The symbol for zero (essentially a circle) has no beginning or an end – something quite omnipotent about that.
- er…um…Zero degrees is cool? haha
I’m sure you’ll have some even better suggestions for names
[Note – I know there are other things Nokia needs to do. That’s why this ‘name-thing’ was just a small part of a huge rant discovered in my WP drafts folders]
What’s in a name?
For a product – it is its identity, a metaphorical soul if you’ll entertain this notion [see point 4].
It shouldn’t just be an afterthought, “Ok we’ve finished this one, let’s call it N920-1TB-12MP or Melissa.”
Therefore it helps to have a memorable name, especially if they are high end and undoubtedly if it’s your flagship.
However, Nokia keeps making handsets with designations as friendly to remember as the periodic table.
As such, only a select few being able to decipher the handset behind the anonymous digits.
As a tech manufacturer you want everyone to know about your product. Not just your geek fans or people in the industry. When you’ve penetrated society such that the very non-tech minded has heard about your product, you’re onto a good thing. And one of the key factors to that is the right name.
Here are four points to consider:
1. Name needs to be iconic, simple to remember
The name is essential as a “storage” for that product’s reputation….
Person 1: “Oh, wow, that’s a brilliant phone, what’s it called?”
You: “This is the N920-1TB-12MP”
Person 1: “The what?!”
…as well as making it easier for purchasing…
Customer: “Hi, hello, I’d like to buy the um…I think it’s called the N9 something…Nokia N920”
Sales Team: “There’s no N920. Do you mean the N90, N91, N92, N93, N95, N96, N97, N79? 9700?…”
Customer: “Erm…*hangs up*”
…and setting it apart to compete with other manufacturers.
2. Helps if there’s an actual reasoning behind the name, e.g. a theme
e.g. Droid – Android powered – Robotic/Powerful/Technological etc [vs Milestone – wtf]
Names (vs numbers) and names with meaning evoke memories and emotional responses better towards your product.
3. Syllable count matters
Although they may only be 3/4 characters long, e.g. N97, N900, 6303, consider the syllable count
N97: EN – Nine – Ty – Se-ven 
N900 – EN – Nine – Hun – Dred 
6303 – Six – ty – three – oh – three 
I can understand having these practical numerical designations for lower end handsets, but not mid, and quite inexcusable for the high end.
More syllables means more margin for error and confusion.
[Note also that now Nokia are going to focus on less quantity/more quality handsets, it’s now much more feasible to use names and not codes numbers!]
4. Try and keep that name across future handsets
Once you’ve built a good reputation with that handset, you’re gonna want to take advantage of that for its successor.
Over time the handset’s name will be an indicator of its pedigree.
As the success of the previous model is already etched in people’s minds, having that same name makes the transtition to the successor much easier. Better for brand loyalty (as people know what they’ll be getting) and better to entice other consumers (as the each new handset in line contributes to that renowned heritage)
Keep the name, and you accumulate each new strength of the successor. The name becomes a phrase that’s part of society and every day living.
Lose the name and you lose the history.
Because apple have kept the same moniker despite there being 3 different models across several memory/colour variants, iPhone steadily but surely solidified its reputation as a world class gadget. With each new model it simply just added onto the known success and hype whilst gradually ironing out flaws.