December 05, 2011
Product Development Technique #14

japanese_invention.jpg

Conventional wisdom has it that the best time to name a new product is after you create it. Unconventional wisdom has it the other way around: first you give your product a name, then you create it.

With this approach, the name -- instead of being the description of your creation -- becomes the catalyst for its existence.

The key is to come up with a compelling name -- one that intrigues, delights, and has embedded within it the kind of multiple meanings that stimulate you enough to decode them.

Let's use the topic of my book -- creativity -- as an example. If I was looking to invent new products to hawk in the back of the book, but had no clue what they were, I might start by generating some creativity-themed names -- and then work backwards.

CreativiTeas: Exotic teas that boost brainpower.

CreativiTees: T-shirts featuring photos of creative geniuses on the front and their inspiring quotes on the back.

CreativiTease: A strip poker card game in which players match famous quotes on creativity with the people who said them.

Invent some products that are sparked by these names:

Shower Power?
Chakra Chip Cookies?
Cheeses of Nazareth?
Sing Kong?

USING THE TOOL:

1. Make up a compelling name for something -- even if you don't know what that "something" is. HINT: Humor, double entendre, and spelling variations are good catalysts.

2. Now that you have a compelling name for an imaginary product, brainstorm what this something might be.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at December 5, 2011 09:51 PM

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