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March 6, 2006

Product Naming: It's Dynamo

NameHouston's Major League Soccer team it's name from 1836 to Dynamo.

Last week, I on the Houston 1836 Soccer team name blunder. As you may recall, they referred to themselves as 1836. Although this represented the liberation of Texas from Mexico, it was found offensive to many people of Mexican ancestry, who make up 20% of the Texas population.

"Dynamo is a word to describe someone who never fatigues, never gives up," said Team President and General Manager Oliver Luck, during a press conference this morning.

The new name, Dynamo, is a vast improvement over 1836. Names that consist of only numbers or acronyms are generally difficult to remember. What I like about Dynamo is that I consider soccer a very dynamic and high-contact sport.

For more about the re-naming of Houston's soccer team visit these blogs that I found to have some interesting debate: , , or , which listed alternatives to the 1836 name submitted by Houstonians.

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Posted by William Lozito at March 6, 2006 11:35 AM
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1 Comment

The choice of a name doesn’t concern me near as much as the dynamics of the process that unfolded before, during and after its announcement. I'm still concerned, from a PR perspective: judging from the media I’ve read on the subject, the team seemed to do all the correct work before making the decision, received the blessing of the Mexican-American political and business leaders, involved prominent Mexican-Americans in the public introduction of the name yet were blindsided by a small group of Mexican-Americans. From that, I can draw from several possible conclusions:

1. The research effort was not all that exhaustive and the ownership of the team either was inept or lied to the community about the results. This is not a good sign for the future of the team or of its ability to forge long-term relationships.

2. The so-called Mexican-American business and political leaders are NOT, in fact, leaders and do NOT represent the Mexican-American community. This is not a good sign for the Mexican-American political and business leaders who hope to be a voice for their constituency and improve their representation in the greater Houston community or the community that has high expectations for its leaders.

3. A small but vocal ethnic community can effect change within the greater Houston community. This is not good for the businesses that now must invest even more resources to ensure that it is being sensitive to the community or be the target of the next effort.

4. The "small" community described in the media was, in fact, quite large, has a legitimate influence and, thus, can really mean trouble for organizations, business and political leaders and businesses who don’t pay enough attention to them before acting.

To those who care about the team, about Houston and about its Mexican-American community, which of these conclusions – if any – is correct?

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