10 Tips: How to Name Your App
01 Feb 2018
Apps. Hundreds are introduced every day. In all imaginable formats, for consumer and B2B services, unique independent propositions, or extensions of a brand. The name of the app is the most strategic branding tool in an online environment, essential for differentiation, and navigation. But, how to find the right one? No problem, with so many years of naming experience, we got you covered today!
Here are 10 tips that can help you find your way:
- If the app is part of a larger service, system or company it is in most cases advised to link it to that existing brand name. This creates leverage, and clarity to customers. Effectiveness should be leading in your choice. Apple Music, UberEats, Google Analytics etc.
- Start in time with your quest for the right name. At least three months before introduction. It is not always easy to find a suitable solution given the many conditions you have to take into account.
- Use an absurd project name that can never become the final brand. This prevents the creation of an internal brand with emotional value that may lead you to believe it will work externally just as well. They are often too straight forward, creating strategic and legal issues. The emotional attachment can blur your rational judgment of new candidates. Too often we see teams clinging to project names against all odds.
- Be crystal clear about the nature of your proposition. What will it solve, for who, and in what way? Only when you can communicate this with certainty, you do have a good briefing for your naming.
- Generate a sufficient number of name-candidates. Distinctive names, not too long, max 10-12 characters. Depending on your positioning you can choose to name your apps descriptive (Match.com), positioning (Tinder, Happn) or abstract (Bumble), in line with the category convention (Hinge) or disruptive (Coffee meets Bagel). Each choice will have different consequences from a communicative, strategic, linguistic and legal perspective.
- Check to the general conditions to naming: Communicative: can the target group understand, pronounce and remember the name? Is it attractive and not confusing? Strategic: does the name fit the strategy? Conventional or more distinctive? Does it support the long term development of the proposition? A name candidate should in no way limit the optimal development of the app. Especially as these tend to evolve over time. Hotels.com is clearly limited where Trivago can pivot in any direction.
- Check during the selection phase if the names already exist as URL and in the different app stores and conduct a first Google check. A free URL is not always essential and depends on your proposition. Putting too much focus on this aspect will limit your creative freedom.
- Test the name candidates if you feel the need but be careful to just ask around. Naming is emotion, the more people the more opinions you will receive. Most of them will favor the obvious choice, which is not necessarily the best one. In some cases, it may be helpful to use quick check sites such as PickFu or FiveSecondTest.com to get a direction.
- Conduct legal research. That is if your objective is to create a long term platform that creates value. This can be costly and frustrating due to the many existing trademarks. Regard it as an insurance that prevents undesired and often expensive conflicts and helps you protect the created value. Depending on the names it can be very relevant to also conduct a linguistic research for International propositions.
- Support the definitive app name with short and relevant key words relating to the unique features of the app: Hotels.com – Hotel bookings and last minute hotel deals. This will improve the listing and search results. Do not use too many characters to describe your proposition. The first 25 are the most important.
Many more tops and nuances can be added, but these should get you a long way.
So start in time, create freely, choose diligently, and accelerate!
Joachim ter Haar
Birger Jarlsgatan 57 B
P.O. Box 6107
SE-102 32 Stockholm
+46 (0)7 33 17 42 85
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Generaal Vetterstraat 75
1059 BT Amsterdam
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Joachim ter Haar
New business request