Playing the name game

Jul 27 2015

I jokingly said that naming our product was like naming a child. But as I write this lab report, I’m certain that statement is lined with truth.

As a disclaimer, I should make it known that I do not have any kids. Rather, I am the aunt of two adorable nieces and one rambunctious nephew. After watching my brother and sister spend countless time fretting over what to name their children, I am confident that the same all-consuming process occurs in the Lab.

For example, the thought process is the same. Just as one wants their child’s name to be reflective of their child’s character, temperament, physical characteristics, etc., we too want our product’s name to be indicative of the service it provides. Perhaps, more importantly, we want the name to feel natural. That holds true whether naming a child or a product.

Members of the comments team help Smith's team namestorm. Photo By Samantha Harrington.

Members of the comments team help Smith’s team namestorm. Photo By Samantha Harrington.

Like brooding parents-to-be, we spent hours, days, even months running every possible name through our heads. We scrutinized over the name’s flow. Did it fit in with the other products at Reese? Is the name too traditional? Too out there? We even settled on a name we thought we loved. And then, our product was born. And in that moment — a moment fairly similar to when a parent locks eyes with their little loved one for the first time — one of two possible things happened. We got to interact with our prototype for the first time. When we did we knew deep down inside that the name we had previously settled on no longer fit.

To our surprise this not only happened for the Courts Team but for the Comments and the Data teams as well: We all started out with a name we could pitch to potential customers, something to send in emails and to put on our prototype, but then each team did a complete 360.

Not too long after we had the chance to play with our product, we took our products to our potential customers to gather insight. Like extended family members who rush to the hospital after a baby is born, our customers interacting with our product caused the prototype to take on a new meaning to us.
We formerly called our product databasedNC. From the name you can parse out a few details. Something like, “They’re building a database that includes information from North Carolina.” But, other than that limited piece of information, our product’s name was pretty much non-descript. It didn’t reveal that we were digitizing paper records. It didn’t allude to the fact that the records were court records. It never hinted that these records were available online.

So how did we come up with a new name? We went back to the basics. We brainstormed names (what we like to call namestorming). We went back to our Post-it notes, back to the white board and we drained our brains of every possible name we could think of from Briefcase to LegalEase to DigiPig (don’t ask). We probably came up with two hundred names before we were able to narrow it down.

But…we still couldn’t decide. So we began to design logos for the six names we had remaining.

Surprisingly, visualizing our name worked wonders. Once we were able to see Digidocket, we agreed this was our new name. From the name, it made it easier to understand that we were digitizing court documents and the important files that lawyers need, called dockets. From the design, it was clear that we were taking records from paper to digital, that it was a database.

The lesson in all of this is that naming a product differs for everyone, just like naming your child. The moral is to name your product something that you and your product can live with for the rest of your lives.

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