How To Represent Your Brand: Naming Your Products

There are so many moving parts when it comes to launching a business, it’s difficult to know where to start! One of the considerations you will have to face is the naming of your products. Whether you choose elaborate or simple terms, naming your product line gives you great creative influence over how your customer perceives what you have to offer. Representing your product properly is imperative!

There are a few different ways that you could go about naming your products, which we will discuss in this article. Of course, it is very important to do a detailed search for your product name first to be sure that another company does not already have it trademarked, thus avoiding potential financial hardship down the road.

So, join us and dive into the creative and exciting world of product names!

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Methods of Naming Your Precious Products 

Themed Names 

Does your company have a location based name, or a creative name based on an experience? Your product names are a great way to emphasize that. For example, if your company name is the “Saratoga Soap Co.”, some interesting product names might be “Thoroughbred”, “Track Season”, or “Congress Park”. These kinds of names will help customers make and keep the connection between your company and your product. Maybe you’ve named your company “Carnival Cosmetics”; be creative with names like “Show Pony”, “Funnel Cake” or “Carousel”. These are stand out names that are fun, light hearted and make a great connection between your product and company all while bringing to mind something positive and fun.

Descriptive Names 

If you are looking for simplicity, a descriptive name is the route for you! Descriptive product names tell the buyer exactly what they have in their hand. For example; you are selling a rose-scented lotion. You might name it, “Rose Lotion” or “Rose Garden”. A simple, descriptive name is a great way to market your product; just be sure to prominently display your company name on the packaging so that your customer makes the connection between your product and your business.

Creating Words 

Creating words is a lot of fun, especially if you’re looking for a descriptive name with a pop! For example, you could create a word like “SheaRiffic” to describe a product with shea in it. Creating a standout word will make a quick product to business connection for your buyer, but beware; creating a difficult to say or spell word may backfire if a customer attempts to search for your product by name instead of by your company’s name.

Modern and Minimalist Names 

Modern and minimal; two very trendy things right now. Naming your product something like “Formula 3” or “No. 9” is simple to remember and easy to associate with a specific company, since it is a very unique way of naming a product.

Now that we’ve touched on a few ideas for naming your product, let’s go over some helpful ground rules.

Building Your Product Name

There are a few things that go into making a memorable and positive product name. Literary tools like alliteration (the repetition of the initial consonant sounds in neighboring words, like “Super Soap Scent”), rhyming, and visualization are all ways to boost the likability of your product through clever and creative branding; something your consumers will likely be judging you on.

Think about some products that you use or that you’ve seen. What stands out about the name productnamingof the product to you? What do you love about it, and what do you hate about it? Is it because they are memorable, or because they are clever (or both)? What does the name look like on the packaging; does it enhance the packaging, or does it take away from the product? If you can answer these questions, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for in your own product’s name.

Now, let’s talk a bit about how your consumer will search for your product. If you are selling at a craft fair or a farmer’s market, there’s a good chance that whoever buys your product initially will have met you and will have recognition through that experience. Let’s say that this customer then gives your product to a friend, or maybe they tell their friend about it; how will the product name affect your potential customer’s ability to search for it? Perhaps you have a soap named “Rose Garden”. It’s a beautiful name, but there is a very good chance that typing it into a search engine will yield many, many results. Consider naming it “Sally’s Rose Garden Soap” instead; this gives a more defined search term that will easily point consumers in your direction!

The Legal Side of Naming

Handcrafted soap and cosmetic businesses are popping up quite frequently now, and in this ever-growing market, it can be very difficult to find a unique product name. Although doing your legal due diligence is time consuming, it is always worthwhile; it is better to know in advance if there is a conflict, rather than having legal action taken against you down the road.

Searching for a trademark can be confusing, but the United States Patent and Trademark Office offers a valuable tool called the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) that allows you to search for registered trademarks, both active and inactive. It is also important to do a standard search engine search once you have a few product names picked out. As frustrating as it can be, if either one of your searches yields a result, use a different product name. It is better to change your name now rather than going through an extensive and expensive rebrand in the future! We have a great article on our blog, Cut to the Trace, about the trademark process; take a look at http://www.cuttothetrace.com/2016/11/protecting-your-business-all-about-trademarks/ to check it out!

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Final Thoughts 

Naming your products should be a fun experience that showcases your creativity as well as your product’s quality and purpose. It is in a customer’s nature to judge your product’s name, quality and price; but this feedback does not always have to be considered a complaint. If you come up with a name that seems amazing, consider testing it out on a small focus group before releasing it to the public. Consult your friends, family, even current customers; there is no better feedback than real-world feedback, so if their comments seem constructive and genuine, switch things up a bit.

We want to hear about your creative product names! Leave us a comment here, or on our Facebook page on the post for this article; let’s see your creativity in action!

Business Etiquette: The Holiday Edition

Saying that the “holiday season is upon us” might be music to consumer’s ears (think sales, discounts and BOGO galore), but to small businesses and large businesses alike, it can be a bit ominous. Now more than ever, consumers are driven to merchants who they perceive as sharing the same beliefs and values as they do, which can translate into something of a PR nightmare for businesses. Chief among the questions is usually, “Can I say Merry Christmas?” or “Maybe I should just say Happy Holidays”. While it might be tempting to take the path of least resistance and throw a few snowflakes on your flyers and website in surrender, don’t-put down that “holiday tree” and keep reading!

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Some Statistics 

America is as diverse a place as they come; millions of Americans celebrate Christmas, while millions of Americans do not. In the month of December, there are three major religious holidays that take place:

December

Mawlid al-Nabi (Islamic): Begins on the evening of December 11th, and ends on the evening of December 12th.

Hanukkah (Jewish): December 25th, 2016 through January 1st, 2017 (begins at sundown on December 24th.)

Christmas (Christian): December 25th 

Along with the main Christian, Islamic and Jewish holidays, there is a large population of (but not limited to) Hindus, Buddhists, Agnostics and Atheists who do not necessarily celebrate a major holiday in December.

I know the question you’ve got; how do I keep my advertising diverse enough to cover every single holiday? You can’t. But you can appeal to each group through inclusive advertising that is both sincere and product relevant.

The Common Denominator 

Finding something that many people have in common, especially consumers, is a lifelong pursuit for today’s entrepreneur. Think about what the holiday season is about-no matter which religious holiday you celebrate if you even celebrate one, each holiday revolves around generosity, hope, mercy, and family.

Considerations based on both your target and desired audiences should be made as with any advertising situation. Also, think about the venues you’ll be showing at and compensate accordingly; for example, if you are attending a craft show in a church, you could easily tailor your holiday décor and advertising towards Christmas. Do research on your venue, the history of its attendees and the area in which it is located first to really maximize your holiday audience reach.

Being Inclusive Means Being Creative 

As a Handcrafter and entrepreneur, you are already in possession of a creative and resourceful nature; creating an inclusive holiday vibe for your business is a great way to exercise those skills! Tapping into themes of generosity and hope with a creative, humorous twist will help make your business relatable to your customers, no matter what holiday they celebrate. Because, after all, your business is not just open for the holidays; you are (likely) a year-round business that can greatly benefit from having a loyal, diverse customer base.

For example, consider donating some of the proceeds from your December sales to a local or national charity. Especially during the holiday season, many consumers are conscious of not just the need to give their loved ones gifts, but the needs of those who are less fortunate. Using generosity as a cohesive theme for your holiday sales and advertising instead of necessarily focusing on specific holidays will not only help you relate to a wider customer base, but also do some good for your community.

Final Thoughts 

When it comes to the holiday season, no matter what holiday a consumer celebrates, they are looking for quality products and incredible gifts and will come to you to find them. It can be tempting to be drawn into the debate about political correctness when it comes to the holidays, but you can take the guesswork out of holiday advertising by simply acknowledging the common message of hope and generosity associated with every celebration; these are causes we can all agree on!

Do you know what your consumers really need? Properly labeled soaps and cosmetics, of course! Make sure to take a peek at our How-To Library article, How to Correctly Label Cosmetics (https://www.soapguild.org/how-to/legal-compliance/cosmetic-labeling.php) for more info!

 

 

Legislation: Update on Advocacy Efforts

On April 20th, Senators Diane Feinstein (CA) and Susan Collins (ME) introduced S. 1014, The Personal Care Products Safety Act. The bill was drafted to update The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 and was intending to give the FDA more funding and oversight over the cosmetic industry.

As many of you know, the HSCG has been involved in legislative advocacy at the Federal level since 2008, when it first became known that Congress was interested in updating the current regulations that govern the cosmetic industry. Since 2010, our association has been under contract with a DC Advocate who acts on our behalf and with us to represent the interests of the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry. We frequently attend meetings with members of Congress to raise awareness about the HSCG, the industry and the businesses that make it up. At every meeting we try to share samples of handcrafted soap and cosmetics.

In the fall of 2014, we became aware that Senator Feinstein (D-CA) was interested in introducing a bill aimed at updating current cosmetic regulations. We subsequently had numerous in person and phone meetings with staff from both Senators Feinstein and Collins offices to go over the bill language and to provide information on the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry.

Chairman Vitter sends “Dear Colleague” letter

We have had numerous meetings with the Chair of the Senate Small Business Committee. Chairman Vitter felt so strongly about our issues that he wrote a “Dear Colleague” letter which was sent to the HELP Committee Chairmen, Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member, Patty Murray, as well as to the bill sponsors, Senator Feinstein and Senator Collins. The text of this letter is below (or you can view it here):

 

Dear Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray, Sen. Feinstein, and Sen. Collins:

While I applaud efforts to update The Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act of 1938 to protect consumers and streamline industry compliance, I am concerned that the Personal Care Products Safety Act (S. 1014) does not contain adequate small business protections and would redefine the definition of small businesses unfavorably. This would negatively affect a handmade cosmetic industry comprised largely of women-owned microbusinesses with 1-3 employees. As chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, I have the responsibility to ensure that we do not saddle small businesses with unnecessary regulations and requirements that could make an already-challenging regulatory environment even more burdensome.

My primary concern is that the legislation would require every business with more than $100,000 in gross annual sales to register their facility and report their ingredientsto the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The “facilities” specified in the bill are often in the owner’s personal residence. In addition, businesses with more than $500,000 in gross annual sales would be required to pay the FDA an annual user fee. Both of these requirements are overly burdensome to the approximately 250,000 small business enterprisesthat operate in this market space and employ more than 700,000 people, including 4,081 businesses in Louisiana and 24,593 businesses in California, for example. These small businesses rely on the ability to change and make custom formulationsto stay competitive. Given the great number of small handcrafted cosmetic manufacturers in the United States, this legislation would cause disproportionate harm to the class with less than one percent of the cosmetic market share. Finally, under Section 3 of the Small Business Act, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is tasked with using its expertise and the best available data to establish business size  standards that reflect the differing characteristics of various industries and to consider other factors deemed relevant by the Administrator. Under the most recent SBA size standard guidelines, manufacturers of soap and other detergents are defined as those businesses containing 1,000 or fewer employees. This bill would create ill advised, arbitrary definitions that would cause confusion and harm to small business owners.

For the above-referenced reasons, I oppose this legislation in its current form, and would need to see substantial modifications and improvements to the relevant provisions before agreeing to support it. Thank you for your consideration.

The handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry in the United States is made up of over 300,000 small and emerging businesses in all fifty states. A large portion of these businesses are women-owned and operated and they produce safe soap and cosmetics. The HSCG supports safe cosmetics and helps to educate the membership and the industry n the current regulations governing cosmetics. We feel strongly that any new legislation aimed at updating the current regulations must take into consideration these small and emerging businesses and provide adequate provisions for them to be able to continue to thrive and be assets to their communities and local economies.

Chairman Vitter’s letter and his support of our industry and small businesses is a great stride forward for our legislative advocacy. The HSCG, along with our DC Advocate, Debra Carnahan of Carnahan Global Consulting, will continue to meet with Members of Congress to make them aware of how this legislation, if passed, would adversely affect the small businesses of the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry.

We will continue to keep you updated on any news; in the meantime, you can visit our page, What We Are Doing, to learn more about the HSCG and advocacy efforts.