Product naming is hard 😩
Gosh, I finally got the name for my new side project. It will be called: Juno.
Starting a blog post with such a title is of course way exaggerated but, daaaaamn it was not easy to come up with a name.
I started working on my new side project two months ago roughly (Nov. 13 2022) and as soon as I validated my proof of concept, I started thinking at potential brand or product names.
It took me a all month of brainstorming to finally opt for a name.
What a frustrating phase of development for the project. Not finding - and owning - a project name really felt like going no where with it.
That's why, needless to say, I feel now relieved. So, here are some super high level marketing hints and the story behind Juno's name.
Most of following points might be obvious to the one who's searching for a product name or have better knowledges in marketing than myself but, who knows. It might be useful to someone, some day 🤷♂️.
Knowing the exact goal and intent of a project is my starting point. From there, I can tackle other topics but, I first need to be clear on what I want to develop, offer or more important: what is the real problem I want to solve?
In my new project particular case, I aim to make the development of applications on web3 more accessible for all web2 developers of the world.
On one side, I believe such technology leads to better data's ownership and project governance, what per extension is beneficial for end users.
On the other, by being active on various channel to support beginners, I notice that starting in such a field can be still tough. It may even discourage some newcomers to not go further in their projects of decentralization and blockchain.
That's my goal. Juno is a game changer!
2. Target audience
It is important to know who are the final clients, prospects or users of a product to address them in the most suitable way.
e.g. if I would create an e-learning platform targeting 70+ years old persons, I would refer to my mum and dad for examples. I would adjust the way I communicate accordingly but, also integrate this in the equation to pick a product name.
Indeed, if I would launch a platform that uses a non-common top domain - such as .com or .ch - I know my parents would be lost and skeptical about it.
Likewise, if I would use an english word they do not know for naming purpose, I know they would need some explanation to understand it.
The more questions, the less conversions - i.e. the less chance to attract users.
In case of Juno, I am addressing developers which makes things a bit easier because, I am part of the target audience. Being said, it isn't always an asset to consider her/himself as such, because it can lead to shortcuts and misjudgement - like e.g. assuming all other developers develop like I do. However, in this particular case, I think it helps (🤞).
A competitor analysis - comprehensive or even bear minimal - is useful to get to know what strategy and target might work the best to maximize the conversions but, it also helps to get to know where the new product would fit in the market, particularly if already existing.
Likewise, it is useful to know what the competitors do in term of naming because it can be interesting to apply a similar or diametrically opposite strategy.
As I am developing a BaaS - a Blockchain-as-a-Service, I first looked at the actors of such industry.
There are few API platforms such as Moralis or QuickNode which are similar in a way that they try to make dapps development effortless too but, none so far are running integrally on chain nor seem to be open source.
That is why I mostly compared my idea with BaaS - Backend-as-a-Service - providers on web2. Their offering and target audience are, to some extent, the same as mine.
Among these, I can think of Firebase, Supabase, Hasura, Netlify, Appwrite, AWS Amplify, Vercel etc.
What I learned from that research is that they all use short names - "obviously" you might say - that most often do not contain explicit keywords such as "App" or "Dev".
They do so, I am guessing, also because developers will ultimately install and run their command line tools. The shorter the command, the more the easiest to remember.
I think Juno works well 😁.
A brand story is a summary of its history, mission, purpose, and values, with a narrative structure that brings it to life.
Using brand storytelling can create a series of plot points and a rising action that generate an emotional connection between the brand and its target audience (source).
e.g. this blog post is storytelling 😇.
The development of my projects includes various smart contracts. Notably one that will act as a main (1) platform, one per user dedicated to the administration (2) and hopefully multiple per user (3), as many as their projects.
What led me to the idea of using names related the universe of the "space" to identify these various smart contracts.
The main (1) one could become a "console", the user admin (2) could be a "mission control", each projects (3) could become "satellite" and maybe even later "rocket" or "space station".
With such a scope, I should be able to establish a comprehensive narrative. From the code, till the documentation to the presentation material.
Of course, I am not the first one that think about using such a topic as "space" to create a brand. That is probably why it took me so long to finally find what name to use.
But, I am glad I finally figured out a solution. There was the Apollo program, there is now the Juno program 😁.
Juno is an ancient Roman goddess. She was equated to Hera, goddess of the sky in Greek mythology.
I totally skipped that part but, as a diligent aspirant indie hacker, I should have thought about making some research on keywords - e.g. I should have try some combination of keywords in Google trends to validate the potential names, including Juno.
By finding a name that matches lots of research or which happens to be trending can lead to more potential conversions.
Fortunately, the name itself is not the only variable in this equation. All the static content - such as the documentation or blog posts - I will produce also matters for SEO purpose. I still got a change here 😜.
Nevertheless, next time I am looking for a product name, I should think about making such types of analysis.
Let's face it, nowadays it is almost impossible to come up with a (short) name that has never, ever, been used on the Internet. There will also always be at least one troll that will tell you that the name you have picked is not original and have already been used elsewhere, even if it happened in the 16h century.
I am no lawyer nor patent property expert, therefore when I search for a product name, I just try my best to pick one that at least does not match any in the exact same context.
e.g. when I decided to go for Juno, I was aware such a name was already used by a company that sells Microsoft related services but, I was actually not aware there was also a crypto bank related project. I also did not found other projects that use the term but, cannot rule it out.
That is one of the few reasons why I also opted for a top domain - .build - that has a explicit meaning. It will address developers that want to build projects - i.e. it strengthness the purpose of the name.
While it is probably common to know that in addition to finding a domain name that is not yet used, it is also worth checking for names' availability on social platform (Twitter etc.). However, it is maybe less known, particularly for non-tech people, that the same rules apply for code delivery channels.
Indeed, particularly if the project is open source, as you would do for social platforms, you have to find a name for a project or organization on the Internet hosting service where you gonna store your code and issues tracker. Commonly on GitHub.
As you could image and as on social platforms, most names are already taken. In addition, while GitHub used to released inactive names, they recently stopped in April 2022 to do so. It means that you cannot even target a name that looks inactive anymore, you really have to come up with a unique new name or a poor variant - like adding an underscore before or after your product name. How uncool is that?
Few solutions and lots of restriction but, I think I managed to find some a-ok channels for Juno:
Finding a product name is hard and even when finally selected, it does not mean it ensure success nor failure. It is also not the end of the day, as it is always possible to rebrand.
It is an important step to move a project forward, build the storytelling and unlock other tasks. I have now contacted a designer friend of mine - with whom I often collaborated, most recently on Papy.rs - and we began thinking at a logo 👨🎨.
When it comes to the programming, I tackled all major features for a beta version. The product itself - the core - is ready, it just needs a bit of fine tuning.
Except hearing the more and more about it in following weeks!
To Juno and beyond 🚀
For more adventures, follow me on Twitter 🖖