Content Review - Square, Block & the Impact of your Product Name
Products and brands evolve over time. For some, they reach a point where their name doesn’t really correlate with what they offer any more or doesn’t stick out from the competition. This could be the time for a rebrand! It is a drastic step for a company. In this content review, we’ve listened to a podcast from the Better Product community, hosted by Executive Design Partner Christian Beck and Senior Product Marketer Meghan Pfeifer, both working for Innovatemap. Debating through the main rebranding example being Square to Block, both hosts will debate for 30 minutes on how impactful a product name is and what they represent to the market, customers and competitors.
The podcast begins with the hosts asking each other why they got their names, and how different it is to choose a name for your child and a company (which seems obvious). Hosts will develop their conversation through three parts, the first of all being what’s typically expected when naming a product.
For them, the name of a company or product is often the first touchpoint the market has with it. It does have to be memorable, and for that, you have to put meaning in it from Day 1. They take the Apple example, a company making computers and phones. However, they put a purpose in being recognised as “the apple brand”, through how they display it on every product, for example. Christian points out that when Slack came out, some people were confused by such a name for a workspace software as it’s really close to “slacking off”. Yes, it doesn’t seem right. But in fact, this name is an acronym for Searchable Log of All Conversations and Knowledge. Great examples show how much value you can put to every name a product has in relation to its services, regardless of how you managed to pick it.
The next question is what to think about when going for a rebrand. The main point they’ll talk about here is the Square to Block rebrand. Both hosts think of it as a thoughtful name change, since a square is 2-dimensional and a block is 3-dimensional. More than being a signal to the market that the company has grown, this rebranding is an obvious sign of evolution and also permits users to better understand what it features. Both names mean something, and also are closely intertwined. This makes it a perfect name change the market will acknowledge without much confusion.
In the last question hosts will debate (and also disagree), will be the influence of big companies changing their names on smaller, newer brands. Oftentimes, a startup growing into a bigger enterprise will go through a name change, when wanting to showcase more products and change its users’ point of view regarding what they offer. Hosts will take the example of Meta, and how newer technologies are an important factor in rebranding for bigger companies; Meta and Metaverse obviously have something in common, right?
Tech companies' names have changed with time. Remember how older companies used to mention “online” at the end of their name? Hosts agree that this is not relevant anymore, since tech is almost everywhere by now. Being creative and in line with technology’s constant evolution is important to choosing an impactful name to brand your product.
What to take from this podcast is that what’s really important is not the name, but what the brand has built around it, since every name can be a great fit for what a company offers. Delivering a great product to users is the most important thing of all, but a product name has the power of attracting potential customers when chosen effectively, and when the company puts purpose on it.
This is an insightful podcast I recommend to product managers, eager to know more about choosing the best name possible for their product! Check out more podcasts The Better Product Community podcasts are available on their website or on Spotify.