Namesourcing: Sony gets a new set of balls

Jane Dawkins    November 18, 2014

Organization name: Sony


Industry: Electronics

Company Contact: Phil Molyneux, President

Web references: Sony

Description of how social media is used for business performance:

In 2013, Sony U.S. president Phil Molyneux turned to the general public to help develop a name for the company’s new wireless mobile speakers – in the shape of pink, black, and white balls.

In an official blog post, Molyneux explained the challenges of product name development in today’s marketplace, siting the sheer number of products already on the market to international laws to registered trademarking issues being part of the problem.

Sony turned to its online fans, followers and loyal customers to help name their newest product.  The contest was also posted on Sony’s website and social media sites.  In the contest rules names could be submitted in the comments section of the post and top 5 names would ‘get a new set of ball’.

“A gadget that looks like this with the potential to get cheeky needs more. I want to change it … no more “Bluetooth Wireless Mobile Speakers.” And I’m looking to you for help. I need your input and inspiration. Tell me your thoughts and ideas on how we can bring this product to life through a name.” said Molyneux on the Sony website.

Within two weeks Sony received more than 39 pages of name suggestions. The final names were chosen by Sony executives. Winners were posted on the Sony Facebook page

In the end Sony execs went with The Sony Bluetooth Speaker Ball.

Lessons for others:

  • Involving your clients in the naming of a product can be a great way to beta test or pre-market your product which could result in early sales at the time of product launch.
  • Be clear on how the winner is selected and who has final say in the name.  While you are opening up the dialogue, you still need to keep control over your business.
  • Make if fun, while depending on the measure of success Sony’s end results are questionable, the contest did reveal a more human and humourous side of Sony’s executive team.  Humanizing your business through social channels can go along way in securing client loyalty.
  • Close the loop.  Be sure to announce winners and thank your audience for participating, regardless of your results.
  • Try using online polling tools.  It can be a basic like or comment on a blog or Facebook post to using free tools such as SurveyMonkey.

Other resources:

Help Sony’s President Name His Pink Audio Balls
Sony “Help Us With A Name” Contest -OFFICIAL CONTEST RULE
Sony Speaker Ball Preview: Serious Sound, Silly Name
Naming is a problem, Sony issued a ball-shaped Bluetooth speaker names
Crowdsourcing Product Names Results In A Bunch Of Terrible Product Names
4 Ways to Crowdsource Product Ideas Using Social Media Contests

Submitted by:
Jane Dawkins, Marketing Communications Officer, University of Guelph

To contact the author of this entry please email at:

If you have any concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.