Naming a Hand Tool – Case Study

A manufacturer of hand tools sold through retail home centers and electrical distributors developed a new product with features and advantages over two entrenched competitors. One of the nuances of this assignment are that the product brand name can also serve as the company name. Key insights of the hand tool category include the following:

  • The majority of tradesman hand tools brand names (including hundreds not listed) are literal name types, based on company name and/or basic descriptions
  • The only direct competitors (Klein and Greenlee) do not brand this product, but use the company name to leverage loyalty
  • Metaphorical name types like Journeyman are the most effective brand names in the category
  • Dead-On, although not a direct competitor (carpenter hammers),is a great example of how a brand name can breakthrough and define a new category
  • An opportunity exists to differentiate the new conduit cutter with a brand name that communicates a customer benefit or advantage, with deeper associations

Following is a competitive name mapping for electrical hand tools.

Competitive Name Mapping

Competitive Name Mapping Tools

Over 60 brand name candidates were generated. Following are select brand name candidates that ranked highest by 8 criteria.

Naming Scoring and Ranking

Name Scoring and Ranking Tools

Domain name and trademark screening was undertaken for the top 6 ranked candidates.

Trademark and Domain Screening

Trademark and Domain Screening Tools

Trademark legal review was undertaken for Electrician’s Choice, and unfortunately did NOT clear. Oddly, when this name (the clients first choice) did not pass legal review, the client decided to move forward with their own candidate, Kühl Hauer (which translates to “cool fang or tusk” in German). While we created an attractive logo and package design, the decidedly German name, not surprisingly, failed in the U.S. retail market. More proof of the importance of brand naming, as well as the need for names with meaning that do not create confusion.