Product naming is hard 😩

Gosh, I finally got the name for my new side project. It will be called: Juno.

Jan 10, 2023

#marketing #sass #developers

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Photo de Becca Tapert sur Unsplash

Gosh, I finally got the name for my new side project. It will be called: Juno.


"Nervous breakdown"

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.


My marketing

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 πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ.


1. Goal

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.

Therefore soon, I will ease - by a lot - building decentralized applications and this, for the millions of JavaScript frontend programmers.

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 more scepticism, the more barrier to entry, 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 that target audience. That said, it is not always an asset to consider her/himself as such. It can lead to shortcuts and misjudgements - e.g. like assuming all other developers develop the same way I do. However, in this particular case, I think it helps (🀞).


3. Competitors

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 the segments already existing.

It is also useful to know what the competitors do in term of naming. 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 - e.g. 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 web2 BaaS - Backend-as-a-Service. Their offering and target audience are, to some extent, more similar to mine.

Among these, I can list examples such as 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 - which most often do not contain explicit keywords such as "App" or "Dev".

They do so too, I am guessing, because developers install and run their command line tools on their laptop and continuous integration platforms. Therefore, the shorter the command, the more easiest the name to remember.

I think Juno works well 😁.


4. Storytelling

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).

This blog post is storytelling πŸ˜‡.

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 they launch projects.

What led me to the idea of using terms related to the universe of the "space". This to identify the various smart contracts.

The main (1) one could be called "console", the user admin (2) could be a "mission control" and each projects (3) could become "satellite" or maybe even later on "rocket" or "space station".

With such a context, I am able to establish a comprehensive narrative. From the code, till the documentation to the presentation material, a all story that can be relatively easily followed and understood.

Of course, I was not the first one that thought about using such a topic as "space" to create a brand. That is probably why it took me so long to finally find something available.

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.


5. Keywords

I totally skipped that part but, as a diligent aspirant indie hacker, I should have thought about making some research on keywords. I should have try some combinations of keywords in Google trends to validate the potential names, including Juno.

By finding a name that matches lots of research or which might happen to be trending can lead to attract more curiosity and per extension maybe more 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.


6. Similarity

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 and there is a good chance that we fell in love with a name that is already used.

I am no lawyer nor patent property expert, that is why when I search for a product name and really like one, 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 strengthens the purpose of the name.


7. Channels

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 usernames' availability on social platforms (Twitter etc.).

However, it is maybe less common to known, particularly for non-tech people, that the same rules apply for code delivery channels.

Indeed, particularly if the project is open source, you have to find an available name for a project or organization on the Internet hosting service where you will store your code and issues tracker. Commonly on GitHub.

Likewise, if your project provides libraries or other command line tools, you will also have to reserve an identifier on the packet manager that you will use to ship. Commonly in JavaScript npm.

Again here, most names are already taken. In addition, while GitHub used to released inactive names, they recently stopped to do so (since April 2022 I think). It means that you cannot even target anymore a name that looks inactive. You really have to come up with a unique new name or a uncool variant - like adding an underscore before or after your product name πŸ˜₯.

Few solutions and lots of restriction but, I think I actually managed to find some a-ok (πŸ™‚) channels for Juno:


Conclusion

Finding a product name is hard. It might be "just" a name and the market might hate it or love it but, it is "your" name. The one you picked for the rest of your life (even if you are aware you can rebrand anytime πŸ˜‰).

It is an important step to move a project forward, build the storytelling and unlock other tasks.

When it comes to mine, 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 πŸ‘¨β€πŸŽ¨.

The programming is almost ready, I tackled all major features for starting a beta version. It just needs a bit of fine tuning but, yes it is ready.

Except hearing more and more about it in following weeks!

To Juno and beyond πŸš€
David