Home > Uncategorized > It’s in the name

It’s in the name

When you’re introduced to someone new, the first thing you hear about them is their name.

And the unusual name stays with you.

The unusual has a ring of intrigue to it. You want to know the history of the name, why they were called that, what it means etc.

Unfortunately, there’s a trend amongst parents to now have simple names keeping in mind the tendency of peers to shorten it to 1 syllable, or at most 2.

I hope it pushes parents to be more creative than to give in to the temptation of a simple name.

I write about this because a few days ago someone I know ‘checked in’ at the Van der Valk Hotel. For those of you who don’t know Van der Valk was a crime TV series based on a detective called Simon van der Valk.Van_der_Valk

How cool is that?

Having a hotel named after a detective.

If the hotel is not part of a chain, it tends to be names after a city, the street, or something creative like Sea View, Garden View, Riverside, Mountain view etc. I guess it is the first thing that comes to mind and is the easy descriptor, for those who want to know exactly what they’re getting.

I personally think, that names must have, or at the least evoke. a story. David Ogilvy used to say all pictures must have a story. Generally speaking The Economist pictures always do.

There’s a construction company in Bangalore that makes apartment buildings. They are all named after songs. ‘Shine On’, ‘Greensleeves”, ‘ Raindrops keep falling on my head’. Not for the faint hearted, for sure. But someone who’s put thought behind the name.

The same logic applies to brand names. Probably, even more so.

Among the first introduction a consumer has of a brand is it’s name. A generic, means nothing names makes it that much harder for the rest of the marketing mix. A name that gives it a head start however, is a great asset.

I’d blogged some time ago about PC companies and their penchant for naming their models in strange alphanumeric sequences that mean nothing.

However, many other firms in the tech space have always had good names that contributed to brand creation early on. Yahoo!, Ggoogle, twitter, foursquare being a few that come to mind right now.

Outside that, in the FMCG category this has been the exception than the norm, which is odd as IT companies are supposed to have the ‘uncreative’ engineer types!

CocaCola, Pepsi, Surf, Tide, Gillette and so on. I am sure there’s good reason why these names were chosen. Research and committees being top of that list.

But going forward, if marketers paid as much attention to their brand name as they did to everything else perhaps their story telling could start right at the beginning.

I believe a name should be an invitation to know more.

A PC company called Apple.

A phone called Blackberry.

A clothing company called Gap.

A fashion company called Louis Vuitton.

A multi brand corporation called Virgin.

And so on.

A good name is no guarantee of success of course. But it’s a good start.

Calling your child Paul or John is not doing him a favour. He’s not going to be picked on in school for sure.

Perhaps the difference between brand names and children’s names is that in one case you want to blend in and in the other you want to stand out.

A good marketer knows the difference.

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Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,
  1. adip puri
    March 11, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    agreed
    its sad to see land locked buildings called Sea View or Water’s Edge
    in india we have always lad great emphasis on the name – like my grandmother used to say – girl’s names should be cooling and not full of fire and boy’s names should define their deeds and personalities 🙂

  2. April 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm

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