The Feldwick Factor: best practice in product naming

This article investigates best practice for naming a product and what works best in advertising it. He argues that, while almost any name can come to mean almost anything over time, the most important function of a brand name is to differentiate that brand from its competitors and, if possible, to do so in a way that helps build a rich network of attractive and distinctive associations around the brand.

The Feldwick Factor

Paul Feldwick

What is best practice for naming a product and what works best in advertising?

I have often wondered whether there can ever be a ‘best practice’ in choosing names. I fear that any principle I suggest can easily be confuted by frequent examples of the opposite approach working just as well.

For instance, I could float a theory based on a list like the following: Apple – Microsoft; Virgin – British Airways; Red Bull – Lucozade NRG; O2 – Vodafone. In each case, the second name is relatively descriptive or predictable, while the first is...

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