I used AI Dungeon to create a simulation where you pretend to be a CMO working with a consultant to name a new product. I first wrote about it here. Since then I have been refining the AI to improve it’s performance. Here is one of the attempts where we work together to name a new water bottle targeted at “runners”. The remainder of the post is the simulation. > are points where I enter the conversation, the rest is 99% AI.
You are the chief marketing officer of a company launching a new water bottles. Your target audience is runners. You have obtained the services of a marketing consultant who specializes in naming new products. She has already done extensive research on your target audience, your competitors and your product category.
The consultant arrives at your office and you all enter the board room. She begins to ask you questions.
Her first question is what is the product category and who is your target audience?
Now that you are in the board room, you need to write down all your answers so you may refer back to them at a later time.
> You say “Product category is “water bottles” and the target audience is “runners”
After you tell the consultant the category and target audience she states that she will most likely propose one of three names.
> You say “Wow. You are ready with names already? What are your suggestions?”
She explains that during her research she discovered three patterns which may influence the name of your new product. She begins to explain: Water bottles can be named for speed, endurance or ultra endurance.
> You say “Okay.”
She goes on to explain the three categories in greater detail: The first type of water bottle name is one which is named for SPEED. Names in this category inspire the user to run faster.
> You say “What are some examples of SPEED names?”
The consultant says: “Lightning”, “Zoom”, and “Surge” The second category is ENDURANCE.
> You say “Okay”
The second category is ENDURANCE. Names in this category inspire the user to run longer distances. She gives these examples: “Hydra”, “Oasis”, and “Tenacity”
> You say “Wow. That sounds great.”
The third and final category is ULTRA ENDURANCE. Names in this category inspire the user to run long distances and then some! She gives these examples: “Perseverance”, “Grace”, and “Patience”
> You say “How do we decide which category we should be narrowing in on?”
After some discussion you and the consultant decide that SPEED is the best fit for your new water bottle.
> You say “Why speed?”
The consultant explains: Water bottles in the SPEED category tend to be more colorful, have fun sounding names and project a positive feeling.
> You say “But many of our target audience are runners who run long distances. What about them?”
She suggests that even runners have to warm up and cool down so they will still need a water bottle while at the track or on a trail.
> You say “Agreed. But many of them run slowly. Will a SPEED name turn them off?”
The consultant says: “The beauty of the speed category is its unisex nature. Due to the swift name, people automatically think of running fast.
> You say “But what about running slowly for a long time?”
The consultant has an answer for everything! She says that the distance runners will identify with the SURGE name and the slow pokes will identify with the surge because of its round shape.
> You say “So you think we should go with SURGE. Have you done any market research on the name?”
The consultant shows you the following survey results which you both agree are promising.
> You say “Can you walk me through the survey results?”
The consultant says:
Q1: Do you find the name appealing? Yes, 100% of the twenty college students surveyed liked the name Surge.
Q2: Can you picture the name on a water bottle? Yes, 88% of people surveyed could picture the name on a water bottle.
Q3: Can you picture yourself drinking from a water bottle with that name on it? Yes, 91% of people surveyed could picture themselves drinking from a water bottle with the name Surge on it.
Q4: Do you recognize the name as that of a popular energy drink? Surprisingly, no one recognized the name as that of an energy drink.
> You say “Well. That is good news. Are there any competitor names similar to SURGE?”
The consultant pulls up the following competitors in her database.
Q: Are there any competitor names similar to SURGE? A: No, SURGE seems to be unique.
> You say “Can we get the URL?”
The consultant replies: Unfortunately, it appears that the energy drink company owns SurgeBottle.com and Surge-Bottle.com However, you will be able to get SurgeBottles.
> You say “Wait. Won’t there be confusion between our SURGE water bottle and the energy drink company?”
The consultant replies: There shouldn’t be any confusion. The energy drink company should not have a product in the same category as yours.
> You say “Yes. But both involve drinking. Won’t customers think that Surge energy drink has launched with a water bottle?”
The consultant replies: No. They will think that SURGE, the water, is launching with a new container called SURGE, the bottle.
> You say “Okay fine. Do you have any tag line recommendations?”
The consultant says: Yes. We have developed three tag lines you can choose from. Which do you like best?
A: SURGE. It’s a new wave. ( 7% )
B: SURGE. It’s a sensation. ( 16% )
C: SURGE. A sparkling new wave. ( 73% )
… You should write a new tag line.
> You say “You think I should write one?”
The consultant replies: You should write one, or choose between A, B, or C.
> You say “What does the percentage mean? 73% on “a sparkling new wave”?”
The consultant replies: “A sparkling new wave” is the most appealing tag line. Q: Do you have any other questions?
> You say “What about a jingle? Do you think you could write a short song to promote the SURGE water bottles?”
The consultant replies: What would you like the jingle to be about? A: The bottle. B: The cap. C: The water. … You should write a new jingle.
> You say “The bottle please.”
The consultant replies: Great! It will probably be a while before the jingle is ready, so our legal team needs a list of your authorized resellers.
The consultant spends a month writing a new jingle for the water bottle and then reports back ready to sing the song. She warms up her voice, and then begins to sing the jingle:
“Grab your bottle, grab your cap!
It’s time to go!
A journey of a thousand drops begins with M-M-M-M-M,
> You say “Thanks. Well worth the wait. Let’s launch SURGE: A sparkling new wave with that song!”
Unfortunately, the legal team discovers a conflict between your product and an existing brand called Moxie. It is based on a video game called “Bottle vs. Cans”.
> You say “That is unfortunate. Is there anything we can do?”
The consultant replies: Yes. There is a way to proceed, but it will require abandoning our current name and rebooting the entire campaign. You should pick a new product name.
> You say “What is your back-up name?”
The consultant says: SURGE. … You should pick a new product name.
> You say “I thought SURGE needed to be abandoned because of legal concerns?”
The consultant replies: It was. Would you like to know the back-up name?
> You say “Yes please.”
The consultant says: SURGE.
Your company uses the name SURGE (again).
A year passes… You watch your new product, SURGE soda go down in flames.
Well... Back to the drawing board I guess… I will post more of these simulations as I refine the model.
Keep it simple,
Edward is a senior advisor at Warburg Pincus and former CMO at General Assembly and A Place For Mom. He was an executive at Expedia, a consultant at McKinsey & Company and a graduate of the Wharton School. You can follow him on twitter, or read his marketing newsletter, “Marketing BS” every Tuesday morning by signing up here.