16. Product Naming Development (Japan only)

  • Kagome Kanjuku Tomato Nabe

A product name should always communicate the product accurately and attractively. Obviously, a misconceived name, by misrepresenting a product, can seriously detract from its appeal.

Product Naming Development Case Study: Kagome Kanjuku Tomato Nabe
Kagome's Kanjuku Tomato Nabe is a family-oriented nabe (oriental stew) sauce with a sweet tomato taste. Since the majority of consumers associated tomato nabe with the idea of bitter taste, the challenge was to communicate the idea of tomatoes' inherent sweetness in the most direct way possible.

We decided that the best way to achieve this was by using a pun in the product name. 'Kanjuku' is the Japanese for 'ripe.' We however replaced the 'kan' element with a homonym meaning 'sweet.' The result is a name that effectively projects both the ripeness and sweetness of the tomato sauce. The name helped make Kanjuku Tomato Nabe into a hit with housewives and established tomato nabe as a new category in the food business.

Four Functions of Product Naming
At Bravis we believe that a successful product name should fulfill the following four functions.

  1. Communication function (Is the name impactful, easy to read, easy to understand, easy to say, memorable?)
  2. Explanatory function(Does the name explain the product's characteristics, qualities, function?)
  3. Distinctiveness function(Does the name differentiate the product from the competition?)
  4. Image function (Does the name help to create an image for the product?)

When developing a name for a new category like Kanjuku Tomato the name should clearly express what the product is. In other words, the explanatory function is probably the key component in the name development process. Conversely, when entering a market that is already crowded, it may be more important to focus on creating a name that's different from rival products. In other words, the distinctiveness function is key to achieving maximum impact.

The name by itself may not be enough to communicate all the necessary information about the product. It is often better to base develop a name based on the concept of the name as one element of an integrated communication platform together with the logo and package.

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