Products come and products go. The same goes for product naming. Whether the consumer gravitates to particular products has everything to do with positioning, the quality of the products' differentiation and the perceptions associated with them.

Perceptions begin anywhere the consumer encounters the product. It might be a store shelf, an advertisement or word-of-mouth. More recently, of course, a consumer's first encounter with a product may be thanks to a Google search.

First impressions do count. Positive first impressions can throttle up a new product and position it smartly in front of consumers. Negative first impressions can send that same product to the junk stores' clearance bins.

The fishing lure industry is particularly clumsy at product naming. I know because I'm a positionist and a fisherman. I spend many hundreds of dollars each year on lures. Marketers want customers like me. Even when I don't need lures, I buy them.

My reasons for buying are many. On a whim, I may pull five bucks from my pocket to buy a lure. I may buy because I'm afraid I'll run out of a style or color, so I had better stock up. But mostly, I buy because everything comes together - the product name, the perceived performance, and the set of expectations I expect to fulfill with that product.

This makes me an expert on the subject of buying fishing lures. And in my expert opinion, most lure product naming stinks.

A marketer's product-naming decision can account for big numbers. The product name itself can stand for something truly meaningful in a business where true differentiation is hard to find. This certainly is not unique to the fishing lure industry, but the folks who toil at selling lures seem to have a special knack for getting it wrong.

Good product naming can position you for success. An example is the Hula Popper. Fred Arbogast built his first Hula Popper more than 80 years ago. Other lures catch just as many fish as the Hula Popper, but say the words "hula" and "popper" and any angler immediately sees an enticing mental image: An enchantingly (hula) skirted creation that makes a surface noise (pop, pop) hanging from the jaw of a leaping-largemouth bass. I want one!

Arbogast, whether he knew it or not, was a product-naming genius. His other famous creation, the Jitterbug, also remains a mainstay in today's tackle satchels. The name Jitterbug doesn't lie. Can you see the Jitterbug, doing its crazy jive dance across the surface?

For every Hula Popper and Jitterbug, however, I can list 10 fishing product names that stink.

I give you Staysee, Little N (and big brother Big N), Top Dollar, Sashimi (raw fish?), Mini Dad, Fat Free, Zara Spook, Moon Talker, Sammy, Devil's Horse, Hot 'N Tot, Hyper Freak, Flappy Daddy, Ugly Otter, Redemption, Bassinator, Moonsault, and hundreds more.

Whoa. Moonsault? The only way I would imagine a "moonsault" is if I happened to go to Wikipedia. (Go ahead, you are online, so check it out and let me know if moonsault sounds like a bass lure to you!)

Choose wisely, you product-naming people. The right name, a good name, a name that captures the essence of your product's differentiation will position it for success. Choose wrong, and you very well may discover your product moonsaulting into the junk store bins.