Naming In The News
Survey Finds Moto's Handset Names are AWFL
There may be several reasons why Motorola is no longer the force it used to be in mobile handsets, but a firm called Strategic Name Development would like to add another one: Lousy brand names.
According to William Lozito, founder and president of the firm, Motorola’s continual use of the four-letter nomenclature for phones (“RAZR,” “SLVR”) is now a turnoff and part of the reason Motorola’s market share in handsets fell from a high of 35 percent to 21 percent in the second quarter of 2008, per NPD Group Mobile Phone Track.
A Strategic Name survey of 515 users found Motorola wasn’t the only brand to lose share because of bad naming. Nokia, too, rolled out brand names like the N73 and the E90 that consumers rejected, Lozito said.
“Nokia stuck with its alphanumeric naming, but made a half-hearted attempt to brand and couldn’t let go of preceding the brand name with the alphanumeric designation," said Lozito. "As a result, their share dropped precipitously from 16 percent in Q3 2005 to 9 percent in Q2 2008.”
Faring better in the survey were LG and Samsung, whose handset names were deemed “engaging, cool and easy-to-remember” by respondents. In particular, respondents liked LG’s Chocolate, Vu and Voyager handset names, as well as Samsung’s BlackJack and FlipShot.
None of the handset makers work with Strategic Name Development, a firm whose client roster includes Kraft, Wendy’s and Delta airlines.
The study also revealed that by a margin of almost two to one, fictional names are preferred over actual names – most of which are two syllables and end in an ear-pleasing vowel – Mickey and Shaggy. For pets, as it is often for brands, sound trumps meaning.