A Rose By Any Other Name?

December 1st, 2007   •   2 comments   

Courtesy of krazykid933

Names have always been an important part of marketing (or life for that matter). How essential are they in the art and science of branding? Very much so.

Since time immemorial, organisations have agonised over what they should name their company, products, and services. Which one would resonate with their target audiences better?
What would make your company more memorable rather than mediocre?

Choose a moribund moniker and chances are that people will forget your product or company in a hurry. For example, ABC Fried Chicken, Tan Ah Seng Hardware Store or Number One Laundry Service. However, don’t go overzealous in the naming department and come up with something so extraordinary that people can’t associate it with the product or company in mind.

Cultural contexts are especially important. How many times have we heard of companies naming themselves something which actually meant a derogatory term in the foreign market?

Having double meanings in names can work for or against you too. Be careful about choosing names that are too superlative, sensational or full of hype. Sometimes, a little subtlety and taste may work better than something that is too literal or in your face.

Personally, I find that movies and hit songs have some of the best and most memorable names. They probably engage some of the greatest creative minds on the planet to make that possible.

Do you agree that a rose by any other name smells just as sweet? Any examples of products with a horrible name that still succeeded beyond belief?

Update: I just stumbled onto Guy Kawasaki’s piece on naming here. He provided the following tips for naming:

1) Begin with letters early in the alphabet.
2) Avoid names starting with X and Z.
3) Embody verb potential.
4) Sound different.
5) Embody logic.
6) Avoid the trendy.

Check them out!

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  1. KENNY
    posted on Dec 04, 2007 at 7:05 AM

    The Nintendo Wii comes to mind.

    When Nintendo announced that they would name their nex-gen console the Wii instead of the Revolution, more than a few eyebrows were raised.

    Many thought it rhymed with “wee” as in pee, and that it was completely illogical. I had the same thoughts.

    But look at it now. Best selling console. Is this proof that there are always exceptions to the rule?

  2. Vivienne
    posted on Dec 08, 2007 at 5:40 AM

    When these companies thought up their corporate names. I’m sure they never thought how their names can be interpreted

    One guy told me that “Takashimaya” is a great name as it meant “everyone definitely buy things” in Cantonese (Tai Ka Sut Mai Yeah).

    Of course, we know what “Motorola” meant in Cantonese too. 🙂

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