Naming projects tend to be singular affairs. They come to the fore when the need to find a name for an umbrella brand or a new product/service comes across the relevant executives’ desks. But it is crucial not to view them in isolation because, in the absence of an overall strategy, confusion can reign.
Consider Microsoft where, in the past, names have originated at the individual product group level rather than centrally. All its online services now fall under the name Live, but that is a group name also used for their Windows products for small enterprises – and on top of this there is the whole range of MSN services.
There are many ways to avoid this. Google keeps things simple and uses a “Google plus product name” construction – for everything. BMW chooses to use numbers as names and by doing so emphasises the technical nature of the product and eliminates any international complications.
IKEA bathroom items are named after Scandinavian lakes, rivers or bays while all their chairs and desks have male names. The reason – the founder of the company is dyslexic and allegedly believes that proper names and words are easier to remember than product codes.
That may be eclectic but like all the other examples it maintains the key naming elements of distinctiveness and consistency. Without this, you run the risk of confusing both existing and potential customers and your own staff.