a rose by any other name may be
to find on the web, and would not smell so sweet
Kerekes, editor - MarketingViews.com
| Getting the name right for your new
product, company or service is a difficult process. The cost of getting things
wrong is unbelievably high. Pulling a national ad campaign when you expand into
another country may be the least part of your worries. Having a brand name which
has a negative phonetic association in another language or having a web site
which can't be found by your customers because of awkward hyphenation, are just
the tip of the iceberg. |
So when Naseem Javed approached me about
running an article on MarketingViews, my first thought was - "Great! Here
we have a world renowned guru who is going to point our readers in the right
direction." Then I realised that choosing just one of Naseem's
suggested articles would leave me wondering about all those others that you
should also see. So instead this article is a sampler of several articles and
books which will give you an idea of the vast range involved in this subject.
Marketing Nomenclature, and the Naming of Names by
Naseem Javed - classic
article Feb 2003
A Study on Corporate Image &
In January 2003, ABC Namebank
International completed a global survey. A list of 5000 major international
corporations was compiled and each corporate name was analyzed for its marketing
power, image, ownership and trustworthiness in four categories...
how truly a name describes itself and the nature of it's business?
names are totally irrelevant to the business, they often mislead or confuse
shareholders and consumers alike...
83% names failed this acid test
of name suitability.
Registrability: how the corporation globally owns a name with
its identical DotCom.
When names are tangled in trademark litigation
worldwide they only become a liability and an expensive burden to the
corporation, bleeding marketing and advertising dollars. Companies in this group
each have hundreds or, at times, thousands of similar and identical names in the
global marketplace. E-commerce, with all its vengeance, only crushes these names
on search engines. Customers and shareholders can hardly find the right company
at the right time.
of a Corporate Name?|
When a name is used in business it
must be unique, powerful, proprietary, related to the business, exciting and
able to arouse curiosity and equally pleasing to the mind. Therefore, it is not
wise to have a twisted spelling and hard to pronounce names or some wild ideas
that the subconscious mind simply refuses to accept. 'RockCloud', 'PurpleRhino',
or 'Kukamanga' (meaning 'Great Corporation' in Ugabooga dialect of the Roman
Empire.) Do you really care? Hell no, the mind simply shuts down and lets the
name scream while drowning.
A name should simply pop up at the time of a purchase decision
otherwise it is absolutely useless if it wanders through and comes out of the
mental fog a day after the purchase. This is how sales are missed. When a name
is unique, the brain recognizes it as such, Sony, Panasonic, Telus, Celestica,
and files it away nicely, while recognizing it's unique position among the other
daily mumbo jumbo. When it is generic, like United or General, then the garbage
kicks in verbal branding and it can become a verbal diarrhea. United Systems,
United Payroll, United Services or General Insurance, General Distribution or
General Production and so on. A common day usage term, such as a dictionary
word, has the least recall and the same applies to numbers, the mind does not
remember numbers, slashes, dashes, dingbats and symbols etc. Studies have shown
again and again that only unique, one of a kind, clear and powerful names,
survive and become legends.
In business a corporate name is normally a single word. Two word
names are problematic, three words are more complicated. Four words? - why
not kill the business first? Also, if there are dozens of others using the
same name in dozens of different types of businesses, then your name is only
shouting and the voice is being lost in the crowd.
Customers of Today
Blue and what comes to mind is a blue
ocean. A blue sky? Sometimes Big Blue, which is IBM. They did truly acquire
a secondary meaning and a legendary position of being recognized as such.
thoughts are often for money, grass, and vegetables. And sometimes for The
GHOSTBUSTERS or THE GREEN PARTY, which is for the environment and flushed with
Use of color as a name or to identify a corporation is far too
stretched. The customer at large is somewhat color-blind to these branding
tactics... Naming is more serious than a First-Grader's box of Crayolas
corporate names on the Web|
If you're going to go
through the trouble of maintaining a corporate Web site, you better make sure
people can find it....
Unfortunately, domain names are often the most
neglected and misunderstood components of the corporate communication strategy.
Too often they are left at the discretion of a Webmaster or trademark clerk. To
properly organize domain name structure, one needs an internal mandate under a
corporate communications strategy and the right budget -- rather than a mere $30
See also:- Naseem's book
GROUPS ... Why do they fail?|
Focus groups! Just the
sound of the phrase has a magical quality: To be "focused" is to have
your head on straight; to have your eye on the main goal; to know precisely what
must be done. And "group" radiates with a warm sense of involvement,
caring--yes, of democracy.
To paraphrase the famous quotation, democracy is a lousy system, but
it's still way ahead of anything in second place. Or, to quote directly from a
famous essay by the great British writer E.M. Forster, "Two Cheers for
Democracy." It's a wonderful system of government.
But it is no way to choose a name for a company or a product!
Do focus groups have any value? You bet. They are superb for gathering
new research on a concept; for creating interesting, often highly creative
ideas; for discovering public opinion about something. But they are not for
Why are they worth their weight in solid gold?
morning, I was ushered into a large boardroom of a major automobile
manufacturer in Detroit. The problem was quickly obvious: The final choice of a
name for a vitally important new car product had not only failed to hit the
public; it had just hit the fan.
The management was very upset, and everyone in the room was pacing
back and forth like an investment company the day after Black Monday.
what a branding mistake|
Let's face it, when it comes to
naming a company, a product or a Web site, O is just a hole, a zero,
zilch, nil, a no-nothing. On its own, O has very little weight or much
to offer unless Placido Domingo is singing that romantic vowel in the
midst of an opera.
But in commerce, O is little more than a bridge that builds
goofy names for low-tech products such as the Roll-O-Matic or Bun-O-Matic.
Whoever advised Oprah to go with a one-letter name for her magazine was oh so
|It's a good thing
image is only a house of cards
Every single day of the year a big corporation for some
strange and unexplainable reason goes down the drain
most often it's the
top person caught with hands in the cookie jar. The image gets shattered. What
took decades to build now stands like a crumbled ruin in smoke and beyond
repair. The same story is repeated again and again.
American lady, Martha Stewart is just a small fry in this jungle of
deceptive maneuvers. ENRON, WORLDCOM, ADELPHIA, TYCO and PARMALATs of the dark
corporate world with losses totaling some trillion dollars now all point to
some type of a revival and return of true honesty in big business. The images
of big corporations have to be changed, as it has now evolved from "big
is bad" to "big is corrupt". A half a century of brilliant
corporate communications and good public affairs responsible for building the
big corporate images are all about to be erased. New rules for new corporate
image maintenance are a must. What was associated with only third-world's
uniformed dictatorships are about to become the new hallmark of the western
commerce. Unfortunately only hands full of bad apples are shaking the entire
Corporate image is like a house of cards, delicate and fragile, like a
crystal palace, it can't have stones thrown at it. Image is not a fort that
you can attack again and again and hope that it will survive. Images rest in
the sub-conscious minds of the customers and shareholders alike. This is a
very sacred place, access able only through subtle messages and a solid track
record, slowly building into images of respectability, confidence and trust
about a particular corporation. One mistake and these images are shattered,
like a glass never to be repaired again. For this reason, nasty scandals kill
the corporate images once and for all. Patchwork and bandages only prolong the
Big branding should take credit for making big icons, it's the
corporation itself that gets confused with all the new glitter and loses its
focus. The true engine of our global commerce is still the small-medium
enterprise, humming along to keep the economies going. True to value and
integrity this sector deserves the credit for being earnest about it's
existence and for having to build it's images in the dark shadows of collapsing
While marketers are trying hard to build brand new name identities for
the global e-commerce the customers are getting mixed signals about ethics in
business. Sobrietyof image structures with true name identities that clearly
define the set goals are in play. While casual branding immersed in holistic
treatments without focus only create more doubts in the minds of shareholders
There is a new and a very powerful under-current of e-commerce, packed
with better due diligence and better ethics, ready to emerge with brand new
icons of the future. The practice of corporate image and global branding
should take notice and equally acknowledge that image is like a house of
cards, it's frailty that makes it so powerful, it's clarity and pristine
structure that appeals to masses and it's vulnerability that makes it so
valuable. Therefore, it must be built slowly, wisely, correctly and
delicately, without any room for errors
after all, it's a good thing.
the Author - Naseem
A world-renowned authority on corporate
nomenclature, author of two major books, Naseem Javed is featured in over 100
articles worldwide, annually. Today, Naseem is invited to speak all over the
world. His talks are always very insightful, provocative and serious and at
times outrageously hilarious. He advises CEOs of Fortune 500 and other leading
corporations on all matters of complex global naming in the e-commerce.
"There's nothing intrinsically great about your current name. Nearly
all your attachment to it comes from it being attached to you."|
|Paul Graham in his blog|
Change Your Name (August