Five years ago, I started a laundry business. I named it Mirror Lake. I’ve learned a lot since then. For starters, Mirror Lake sounds more like a Chinese restaurant than anything else. I’ve also learned a few other things about product naming that I wanted to share with you.
The most important aspect about a product is the product itself. Not its branding. Not its price point. Not even its name. The most important thing is that you build the right thing, and that you build it right. Early on in the development of a project, things like branding and naming are distractions. We’re drawn to them because they are our product’s shiny coating. Unfortunately, that comes at the expense of focusing on the product and the customer it serves.
For the past two years, I’ve been developing a tray table called One Base. Like many of you working on your own projects, I rushed to name it. At first, I called it Taobla. It was a fusion of “table” and “tawla” (Table in Arabic). I thought it was genius … unitl my firends took a jab at it. “Taboola..??” Yup. The name was confused with a popular salad. I decided that I’d eventually change the name, but that I should focus on the product itself. Later in its development, I switched the name to “Tre”. It was a phonetic play on the word “tray”. It made sense since the table came with its own tray … until my friends took a jab at it. “Tree..??” Yup, the name was mispronounced yet again. A month ago, I decided to rename it once again to One Base.
A product’s name isn’t the most important thing, but it’s important. It’s one of the first opportunities you get to present your product to potential customers. It’s an opportunity to communicate the product’s value proposition. A poor name can intimidate customers (Taobla, Tre), or even confuse them (Mirror Lake). Those are two things you definitely want to avoid when naming your product.
One Base is a tray table for everyday living. One Base makes sense to me for many reasons. Most importantly, the main intention of this table is for it to be your companion for however you lounge around in your apartment. It comes with its own tray that can be used for when you kickback, put your feet up on your coffee table, and write an email like this one. (Or for breakfast in bed). Ultimately, the tray will find its way back on the table. One Base: a tray table for everyday living.