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May 31, 2006

How Important is Memorbility and Pronunciation in IPO Naming?

NameIf you want you want your IPO to do well, I have a tip for you: give it an easy to remember and easy to pronounce name.

Psychologists at Princeton have found a between an IPO's initial success and how easily its company name, and ticker symbol, rolls off the tongue. It doesn't seem to matter if the company is big or small, the only variable is how well people can remember you.

The psychologists tested their by having volunteers rank IPO names by how easy they are to remember and pronounce, and then cross referenced this ranking with how well the IPOs were doing in the American Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange.

The effect of this brand name research was so pronounced that if a person had invested $1,000 in the ten easiest to remember names (ones that sound like GOOG, as in Google), she or he would have made $333 more than the ten hardest (names like VYYO, as in Vyyo Inc).

I think this is due to the fact that people are more likely to remember to buy stocks with easy to remember symbols.

Research has also shown that people are more likely to remember aphorisms that rhyme (woes unite foes) over ones that do not (woes unite enemies).

Markets also appreciate on sunny days, it seems. Prof. Danny Oppenheimer explains this by pointing out that "people are not rational," even when it comes to their money - maybe especially so.

After all these years in the product naming business, I have to agree.

For more on this story about IPO naming, I thought Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends blog had a .

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:09 AM

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Links Du Jour 05-31-06

  • The end of the jpeg? - Microsoft wants to get rid of the ubiquitous .jpeg and replace it with a new format called Windows Media Photo (WMP). WMP? I sometimes think Microsoft must botch their product naming on purpose.
  • "Customer Made" is lead user in speed - I think this article illustrates a fascinating new trend where we see customers doing product design, product naming, and advertising. We now have the means to have real-time access to customers while doing brand name research.
  • SoCo sponsors Celebrity Poker Showdown - SoCo is getting into the poker craze by sponsoring Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown. I think SoCo is playing its hand well by linking to the enormously popular game of poker, which, after all, links back to life in the old South - an integral part of the SoCo brand heritage.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:39 AM

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May 30, 2006

Brand Naming: Is Motorola’s SCPL Cutting Too Much?

MotorolaIf you’ve got one phone named after a razor, it makes thematic sense to have a second phone named after a scalpel. Slim, sharp, cutting edge—they’re all good connotations.

The problem comes when you start removing too many letters from a word. Motorola has decided to call its new phone “SCPL.”

“SCLPL” would be much clearer, I think, but using 5 letters would break the 4-letter Motorola naming convention (RAZR, SLVR, PEBL, ROKR).

But did Motorola put too much of a scalpel to the new brand name by removing all vowels and a consonant?

RAZR, ROKR, and PEBL are unambiguous. Each already contains a vowel, and there’s only one way to pronounce them and still come up with an English word. I actually thought SLVR stood for “silver” rather than “sliver” when I first saw it, but the mistake still produces a good name.

“Scalpel” may be just too hard to abbreviate. I think Motorola may have gone too far with the SCPL brand name. I am guessing that consumers will have more difficulty figuring out what SCPL stands for versus Motorola’s other reduced-vowel brand names.

It will be interesting to see how the target market perceives the SCPL name.

Here is what other blogs are saying about the SCPL name:

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Posted by William Lozito at 1:16 PM

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Product Naming: To Apostrophe or Not to Apostrophe

Eats, Shoots and LeavesElements of StyleAh, the apostrophe. Take the quiz over at the , and you’ll find that according to Lynne Truss and British usage (not to mention my elementary-school grammar teachers, who were neither), the proper way to form the possessive of a noun (singular or plural) ending in an “s” is to insert the apostrophe after the “s.” But according to Strunk and White’s Elements of Style and the , all possessive singular nouns are created by adding “’s” to the end.

Both sources do agree, however, that you never create a plural in English by adding “’s,” and you can’t create a possessive without an apostrophe. Hence “Albertsons” should be “Albertson’s” and “Fosters Freeze” should be “Foster’s Freeze.” And your neighbors across the street are not the “Smith’s.”

Business style guides, on the other hand, are unanimous in stating that the correct way to write a company’s name is the way the company itself writes it—no matter what your grammar-school teacher would say about it.

  • Missing apostrophe? Too bad.
  • Starts with a lower-case letter (think eMachines or iTunes)? Deal with it.
  • Leaves out the vowels (RAZR)? Too bad.
  • Throws us back to Shakespeare with “Amp’d” instead of “Amped”?

So be it—even if it leaves us memorizing many times more individual idiosyncracies than there are rules of capitalization, punctuation, and spelling in English.

I know from personal experience that a good brand names are hard to develop, and even harder to trademark.

But, as my high school English teacher used to say, "make sure that when you break the rules, you do it on purpose instead of by accident." That applies to name development, too.

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Posted by Diane Prange at 11:49 AM

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Links Du Jour 05-30-06

  • NameAnnouncing IE7+ - Microsoft has named the version of Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) in Windows Vista "Internet Explorer 7+" (IE7+) in tandem with the release of Windows Vista Beta 2. IE7+ is built on the same code base as IE7 but also includes Protected Mode, Parental Controls and Network Diagnostics. The IEBlog asks for feedback on the product naming, and so far people aren't happy: one respondent asks if the IE namers are "a little loopy"; another points out this name will sow confusion on the help lines. IE7.1 would indeed be wrong, but what's wrong with IE7 Vista, I'd like to know? Regardless, this blog provides the IE7 product managers with some valuable brand name research.
  • What brands can learn from bands - What can you learn about your brand naming from Mary J. Blige and Bono? Well, sometimes two brand names together create a synergy. Interesting brand name research here for music lovers.
  • America's Top Brands: The CEOs Perspective - Some of the top CEOs in the country have picked their top brands, and the number one brand name might surprise you. Here's a hint...think brown.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:19 AM

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May 29, 2006

How Important is a Name, Product Name or Brand Name?

Yes, you guessed it. Being in the naming business, I place high value on a good name whatever the industry, business or application.

Being as objective as I can, let me try to convince you of the importance of a name. Do you remember that classic experiment in which a college professor hands out cookies to the students? They are enjoying every bite, until the professor announces to the class that they have been eating dog biscuits.

All the students suddenly gasp. But wait. The students were actually served a cookie, but only when it was named a “dog biscuit” did they have an adverse reaction. That’s the power of a name.

European UnionWell, the reverse situation may be happening in the EU. The European Union ministers, all 25 of them, have been trying to ratify an , but the French and Dutch have rejected the idea because they feel an EU Constitution could “undermine national sovereignty”.

Now what? German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has floated the idea of renaming the EU Constitution as EU Basic Law (or in some reports, “Basic Treaty”). Basic Law would legally be the same as Constitution.

EU MinistersSame document, different name. Have I convinced you of the importance of a good name? If not, 25 Foreign Ministers think the name change could work.

  • Religion Clause notes that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is promoting the idea of adding religious references to the document.
  • Swiss blogger Pigilito responds to an Op-Ed piece from the Telegraph arguing that the Constitution is more alive than dead.
  • The Stirrer doubts that rebranding the constitution will convince the French and Dutch to change their minds about it.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:14 PM

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Product Naming: Home Depot Discovers the Hispanic Market es Enorme

Home DepotI think is on the right track by reaching out to its Hispanic customers with a new array of well-named and positioned products.

Home Depot, the second largest retailer (sales of $81.5 billion) in the U.S. after You Know Who, is one big hombre. And their product naming efforts are showing a distinct Spanish flair.

According to The Journal News they are co-funding a Spanish language home improvement show named “Mi Primer Hogar” (My First Home), using bilingual employees and in-store communications, and developing new Hispanic-themed products such as a paint line named Colores Origenes (Colors of My Origins).

Paint product names that appeal to Spanish-speaking customers include “Café Expreso” and “Horchata.”

world cupI believe Home Depot’s continued efforts to reach Hispanics as both employees and customers makes good business sense. There are more Hispanics in the U. S. than Canadians in Canada. By 2008 Hispanic purchasing power will break $1 trillion with Hispanics spending $28 billion on home improvements last year.

joga bonitoA number of big brands are taking the Hispanic target market into consideration. When the Soccer begins June 9 in Germany, and will be all over it, with a 14-language campaign named “” or “Play Beautiful” in Portuguese.

Home Depot will be there too, with the slogan “Your house is your playing field.” Muy elegante, Home Depot.

In related news:

  • Hispanic PR Wire is carrying a press release announcing that Home Depot will also be sponsoring World Cup broadcasts on the Spanish-language television network, Univision.
  • Hispanic Business has the announcement that Home Depot has signed on as a sponsor of Atlanta's annual Latin Fever Ball.
  • Hispanic Trending offers a very useful collection of articles on Hispanic branding, like this one on Latinos' marketing preferences.
  • Hi-Kerl, a blogger from Singapore, writes of his club's participation in the Joga Bonito Finals.
  • From, we get a Hungarian perspective on the promotion from a non-fan of football who still appreciates the spirit the Joja Bonito program is promoting.
  • John Hagel views the social networking site as the return of community.

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Posted by William Lozito at 4:45 PM

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Links Du Jour 05-29-06

  • Planter's Mixed Up Nuts - I have to agree with the guys at Third Way: the new Planters mixes are probably not doing the core brand name much good. The problem you have from a brand name research perspective is that peanuts just can't get no respect, and by trying to sell the Planter's peanuts brand by extolling the virtues of the cashews and pistachios (one tagline is “50% pistachios, 100% love”) that Mr. Peanut is now fraternizing with, they're creating an Arthur Miller/Marilyn Monroe set up.
  • Ford's War Room Not a Substitute For Judgment - I agree with David Kiley that there's a fine line between “creative intensity” when it comes to building a brand name, and just plain “weirdness”. Ford is getting ready to protect its valuable F-series pick up truck line from Toyota and GM but letting things get a little crazy in the brand name research department, where employees have to live the brand a little too much.
  • Snapple Takes Over FM Radio - Snapple is taking over a Boston radio station from Memorial Day to July 4, offering the company a very cool means of getting its brand name out 24/7. I think radio is still a great place for people in the product naming business, and this kind of thing is just another way in which a brand name can gain blanket coverage.

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Posted by William Lozito at 3:29 PM

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May 28, 2006

Edmonton, Alberta: Another Silly City Slogan

Edmonton, Canada 052806.jpg I am becoming more and more convinced that cities and states should save their money used to develop a slogan or tagline.

Now it's Edmonton's turn. I am very fond of our neighbors to the north, but I think they suffer from the same slogan myopia we do in the states.

Edmonton is where "The Great One" played hockey in 1979-1988. Wayne Gretzky that is. Edmonton is home of one of the largest enclosed malls in the world - the West Edmonton Mall.

And Edmonton is first and foremost associated with "cold" among journalists based on a recent conducted by the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC).

Edmonton: It's Cooler HereSo why would the EEDC select "Edmonton. It's Cooler Here?" I realize the intended meaning of "cooler" is "hip."

But is would be like Las Vegas going with "Las Vegas. It's Hotter Here."

Sorry EEDC, the new Edmonton slogan makes no sense. It's another example of slogan myopia not unique to Canada, the U. S. or other cities and countries for that matter.

Here are some other perspectives on Edmonton and its new slogan:

  • Kerry Diotte of The Edmonton Sun writes that the city's new slogan is not so cool.
  • The Battle of Alberta, a blog about the rivalry between the province's two NHL teams, questions whether “cool” is still a cool word.
  • One has to wonder if it's the city's “coolness” that leads its citizenry to set things on fire when the Oilers win an important game.

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Posted by William Lozito at 4:46 PM

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May 27, 2006

De Beers Franchises Its Brand Name

De BeersI think Franchising is certainly turning out to be one of the most powerful ways to quickly build brand name awareness.

Take the diamond giant De Beers, for example. How many people could tell you that De Beers until recently sold 90% of the world’s diamonds, or that the company was originally based in South Africa?

De Beers sought to change all that in by going into retail partnership with luxury giant LVMH (De Beers LV), opening a series of high-end retail stores around the world and hiring models like Iman to promote its ubiquitous A Diamond is Forever slogan.

Not satisfied with lacklustre sales in its De Beers-LV stores, De Beers is now promoting its name through what seems to be a kind of where they permit their name to be used by other (non LVMH) resellers who open what are not De Beers-LVMH stores but jewelry shops that simply bear the De Beers name but are not managed by De Beers LV.

This means there can be a few levels between the “real” De Beers and the actual store where you buy a De Beers diamond (one writer likens this to a Tupperware sales pyramid). In effect, now the company seems to be profiting by franchising the De Beers brand name, not just the diamonds the company digs up. De Beers seem to be willing to trade exclusivity for exposure…. and profit.

Of course, I know that franchising a name is nothing new, and this week even the real estate industry announced that it considers franchising the best, fastest, most efficient way to

I think it's fair to say, to paraphrase De Beers, "Franchising is Forever."

Posted by William Lozito at 6:41 PM

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May 26, 2006

Links Du Jour 05-26-06

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:12 AM

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Brand Naming: The Age of Aquarius Has Hit Laughlin, Nevada

Flamingo logoThis fall, American Casino & Entertainment Properties will be renaming its recently acquired Flamingo Laughlin the Aquarius Casino Resort. The new Aquarius will be totally revamped, and its new brand name distances it from the much bigger in Las Vegas, the brainchild of Bugsy Siegel.

Bugsy named the joint after his girlfriend who in turn was nicknamed was "The Flamingo" for her red hair and long legs. Bugsy wound up dead for skimming from the Flamingo, certainly an unlucky piece of product naming history.

Richard P. Brown, president of American Casino, said that the new Aquarius name symbolizes "luck and winning, fun and close proximity to the Colorado River". Mr. Brown has indeed done his brand name research.

The name Aquarius has always represented water and luck: in Greek mythology Aquarius was Ganymede, the cup-bearer to the gods. The stars mean, respectively, "The lucky one of the king" and "the luckiest of the lucky".

Throughout Greek, Chinese and Japanese mythology you see water being equivalent to luck (think ), and when the sun enters Aquarius the lush rainy season begins. Ironically, the probably will not officially begin for another 600 years, bad news for all of you ex-hippies.

The Flamingo is the in Laughlin, Nevada, and its new reincarnation will see it stand on its own in what its developers see as a part of Nevada sure for more customers as Middle America gets priced off the Vegas strip.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:22 AM

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May 25, 2006

Brand Naming: To Google or Not to Google - That is Genericization

GoogleGoogle is worried about the , which means that it doesn't want its trademark to become generic in meaning and suffer the same fate as Kleenex, Rollerblade and Xerox.

I think that genericization is a bug bear of product naming. On the one hand you want your brand name to be a household word, but on the other you want it to still mean your product.

KleenexThe bone of contention is the infinitive "to google". Google claims that the overuse of the word Google as a verb will lead to "Googling" being the generic term for "searching the Internet with a search engine".

RollerbladeGoogle has gone so far as to remove the usage from the Wordspy , but as Jason Lee Miller (who has done some pretty cool brand name research) points out, various forms of the word Google remain in the dictionary and in common discourse: Googlebombing," "Googleverse," and "Googlejuice." As well as Googtopia, Googler and Googlite.

And it is not entirely clear to me if Google allows you to do all the Googling you long as you use Google? Do they really sit around at (called the ) and not "google"?

XeroxLee also points out that Google did not raise the alarm when Pontiac asked users to "Google Pontiac" in a recent TV campaign (which we linked to in an ) and it does seem unlikely that people will start "googling about" with Yahoo! and MSN Search.

However, I believe Google should by all means protect its trademark - the Google brand name is one with massive equity behind it and they would be remiss in not being concerned about its misuse.

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Posted by William Lozito at 2:03 PM

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Baltimore: Get In On It Slogan Announced

NameBaltimore’s new slogan, “Get In On It”, and tourist campaign was formally released yesterday, Wednesday, May 24th.

To learn more about the process the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association (BACVA) went through to develop the new slogan and to view the TV commercial based on “Get In On It” go to .

The BACVA site includes the following sections regarding the new slogan:

  • The Brand
  • The Research
  • The Campaign
  • The Buzz

The TV spots did not do anything to motivate me to want to visit Baltimore, but than again, I'm not the target market. Sorry BACVA, I think the TV spot is lame.

By the way, I was surprised to find that the as females 35 to 64.

Don’t men have any say about where to vacation?

Here are some more opinions on the new slogan:

  • Side of Gravy takes exception to the view that "Get in on it" doesn't really say anything about the city, noting that “Our city is full of questionable transactions and shady dealings of all shapes and sizes.”
  • Baltimore Crime says that another $1.2 million is to be spent on television spots with a musical jingle based on the slogan.
  • Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space lists a number of positive associations with the city, and states that the slogan fails to call forth any of them.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:13 AM

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Links Du Jour 05-25-06

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:35 AM

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May 24, 2006

Brand Naming: The Dot Mobi Domain

Dot-MobiIf there ever has been a huge, forbidding goal on the ocean called the World Wide Web, it is seamless, quick connectivity to cell phones. Ahab claimed his own Moby in the South Pacific, now web surfers have bagged theirs in the form of dot-mobi, the new leviathan of brand naming.

The interestingly named and Dublin-based , formed by investors such as Microsoft, Google, Samsung Electronics, Nokia, and Vodafone, is using its new, mobile friendly, dot-mobi domain name to make it easier to browse the Internet using cell phones and BlackBerries. The dot-mobi name assures cell phone and Blackberry browsers that they are guaranteed fast access.

Not a small thing when you consider that more people worldwide own cell phones than computers. According to the , the captains of the Internet have taken notice: on Monday, in what one writer referred to as a "", thousands of new Internet domain names were introduced including,,,,,,, and

Microsoft alone wants 200 domain names and P&G is expected to register 500 dot-mobi sites for its trademarked products. Even the wireless names have signed up:, and are all registered. This avalanche of new names has led to declare that "the great Wireless Internet land rush is on again".

You have 70 days to register and the cost for trademark names is $140/year for a dot-mobi vs $10/year for a dot-com. The high price discourages cyber-squatters. Dot-mobi is well in sight, I assume most other companies traversing the Webby Seas will "lower away".

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Posted by William Lozito at 5:32 PM

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Links Du Jour 05-24-06

  • Nike "Plus" Apple: Wow! - The new Nike+iPod Sport Kit is an excellent example of co-branding that I am frankly surprised didn't happen sooner. It would take about one second of brand name research to figure out that most people who own iPods own Nikes.
  • Dinosaur species named after Hogwarts - Product naming usually does not extend into the naming of extinct dinos but here we see a great example of a well known brand name (Harry Potter) influencing science. And you have to admit, this dino looks like it walked out of a Potter book.
  • Cadillac all by itself in Xbox Live - Cadillac just will not give up trying to appeal to younger consumers. In an interesting reversal of roles in the product naming field, Cadillac has paid a game company, the creators of Project Gotham, to use its brand name and vehicles in games. I think this is a new, creative way to reach a younger target market.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:32 AM

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Product Naming: Bingo, Boingo!

Boingo LogoBoingo Wireless has Concourse Communications Group, the leading operator of neutral-host wireless access systems.

This means that Boingo will take over the Wi-Fi in 12 leading US airports, including JFK, LaGuardia and Newark; as well as two Chicago airports: O'Hare and Midway; and 100 more including Toronto, Ottawa, Detroit, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Nashville and Atlanta.

Concourse LogoBoingo doesn't plan on changing much - staff and services will remain pretty much the same - but the Concourse name will be dropped in favor of Boingo's, which I can't help but think is a good thing. Even if it does remind me of the awesomely bad eighties band "", Boingo is an irreverent, cool name for a cutting edge product. Concourse is descriptive and dull.

Given that air travel is this year, at least I will get good Wi-Fi from a product that sounds fun. And you will, too.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:07 AM

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May 23, 2006

Want to Try Your Hand at Product Naming?

Seamless logo is advertising a “Name the Next Generation Mobile Communications and Computing Device” on and .

The current name for the device is PPC, and for fairly obvious reasons they want something with more oomph. The PPC is a tiny portable computer that has won a few awards. As if that’s not enough, the company is looking for Alpha testers for its Phenom 3.0 P2P Virtual Private Network Software Alpha and Beta Testing Program.

You just register and off you go.

Origami ProjectBefore you do, perhaps you should take note of struggles in this arena following the pretty awful reviews of the ill-starred child of its interestingly code-named , which has been pushed by the company under the unflattering initials (Ultra-Mobile Personal Computer).

UMPCUMPC sounds like some kind of military vehicle. Why oh why don’t they sell it as Origami??? I have examined Microsoft’s struggles with brand naming in an earlier post, and the lesson here for Seamless is to avoid weird sounding acronyms and duplications of product names they already use.

When it comes to nifty lifestyle/work products like this, I believe that a natural language product name is crucial. Think iPod, Blackberry or Mac.

In other news on mobile computing and Wi-Fi:

  • GameShout asks if the UMPC is the gaming platform of the future.
  • jkOnTheRun sees the bad reviews for the UMPC as a failure of marketing.
  • The Wireless Report notes that AT&T Mobile is a major Wi-Fi access provider in Europe.
  • In another post at the Wireless Report, we see that M2Z Networks is trying to raise the money to build a free wireless broadband network that will cover about 95% of the US population.

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Posted by William Lozito at 12:44 PM

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Links Du Jour 05-23-06

  • Nike Steals Logo from Poor London Borough - This must be some kind of mistake. If so, I would imagine Nike will pay what the borough of Hackney asks. It just seems impossible that Nike did not do the brand name research on this one...
  • Co-Creation and the One-Percenters - I firmly believe that it's the fanatical one percenters — that one small fraction of your customer base who just adore your brand and all it stands for — who push a brand name into being an icon. The field of brand naming takes its cues from legends like Harley-Davidson, Nike, and, more recently, iPod, product names that fans have made their own.
  • SanDisk wants you to say iDon't - An interesting attack on the iPod name that compares iPod users to sheep and clones. SanDisk, a rival mp3 player company (if there really is one) has set up a site that takes the mickey out of iPod by making fun of its name, but I agree with Tim Nudd: it will do little to stop the iTatorship. The iPod is just iconic brand naming.

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Posted by William Lozito at 12:23 PM

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May 22, 2006

Product Naming: John Deere's Sweet Brand

John Deere LogoThe John Deere name is to tractors and harvesters as the CAT name is to bulldozers and earth moving equipment: an industry standard that people outside of the industry (like me) recognize as sui generis.

Founded in 1837, John Deere makes tractors, construction and forestry equipment, and mowers and cutters used in lawn, grounds and turf care. Deere is now in Louisiana, Hawaii, Florida and Brazil.

Seems that Deere acquired the cane harvester brand in 1998 and has decided to scrap the product name and with the familiar green and yellow colors of John Deere in places it might not be very well known.

John Deere Sugar Cane HarvesterI think this will, in the words of a company spokesman, send an “outward signal to customers that the sugar cane harvesting business is fully integrated with other aspects of the leading agricultural equipment company in the world.” I must say that’s good brand architecture at work and I’m surprised Deere, a revered brand name in agriculture, didn’t make the change sooner.

This is a whole new world for Deere: Brazil is the world’s largest sugar producer - the US is the world’s tenth.

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Posted by William Lozito at 12:00 PM

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Links Du Jour 05-22-06

  • - Product placement in TV shows and movies is here to stay and a great way of building authenticity into your brand naming. I agree with David Kiley: if the client wants you to write a script with an Oreo cookie in it, so what?
  • - What can I say? This is EXPLOSIVE brand naming. Maybe a little too warlike for these times, but then again these guys now have to compete against Hulk Hogan, as I noted on May 11th in my post about the .
  • - We covered the fictional but promoted in real life Hanso Foundation name from Lost in an . Now, real life Jeep has embedded its name in Hanso branding material, and created a fake history around the relationship. This has, of course, done two things: brought the Jeep brand name to the attention of legions of Lost fans and set a new standard for brand name research: this time, the consumer does the legwork.

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Posted by William Lozito at 10:16 AM

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May 21, 2006

A Tale of Two Slogans

Delmarva PeninsulaHere we go again. New tourism slogans.

This time it’s a slogan for Wicomico County within the area where Delaware, Maryland and Virginia meet, and another slogan for the city of Baltimore.

The new Delmarva slogan is “Discover Delmarva’s Hidden Treasures” while the new Baltimore slogan, to be announced Monday, is “Get In On It”, which was reportedly chosen over “The City You Savor,” “Breeze Into Baltimore,” “All City, No Hurry” and “Enjoy The Pace.”

Here are a few questions to consider regarding these two slogans for different areas of Maryland:

  • Which slogan do you like better?
  • Which one was developed for free?
  • Which slogan cost $500,000 to develop?

The answers to these questions can be found here and here.

Baltimore - Your experience starts hereBut for those of you who don’t have the time, “Discover Delmarva’s Hidden Treasures” was developed by nine students at Salisbury University while Baltimore’s “Get In On It” was penned by a naming consultant.

The obvious question, “Is a slogan worth $500,000?” is like asking “Is that house worth $500,000?” For the latter, if someone buys the house, the answer is yes.

For the former, I bet “Get In On It” will leave many Baltimore residents scratching their heads.

Finally, will tourists want to get in on a city with the negative perceptions of Baltimore? Only time will tell.

Here are some additional views on the new Baltimore slogan:

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Posted by William Lozito at 11:36 PM

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Product Naming: Paramount Gets Arty

Paramount Classics art house division, , is changing its name to .

It seems that the Paramount Classics name signified “old” and not “arty” to movie buffs. That's just good brand name research and common sense.

The Paramount Vantage name is intended to distance Paramount Classics from its unsuccessful independent film past.

Fox SearchlightBut the name Paramount Classics will not be dropped — it will just handle foreign films and documentaries. This signals a new era for Paramount, whose art house films have struggled to keep up with those distributed by competitors like from and from .

This seems like a tortured name architecture to me. Or a typical “split the baby” corporate name decision.

It seems that small, arty films have breathed new life and new finance structures into the studio system in Hollywood: films that were once the realm of the beret and black turtleneck set are now going mainstream — sort of like how small, independent label breweries suddenly went big time.

Films like Crash, Brokeback Mountain and Good Night and Good Luck are bringing in the critical acclaim and the audiences to make small, art house films really profitable.

Miramax now owns art house legend , which is exemplary of the trend of bigger studios who simply buy well known independent studios and add them to their stables. Paramount Classics, however, was built from scratch.

Sony ClassicsInterestingly, has . For me the imagery of Sony, a high tech company, and Classics are an unnatural association.

Should Sony Pictures Classics also consider a new brand name? Not really, unnatural association not withstanding. This Sony unit won the 2005 Palme d'Or at Cannes for L’Enfant (The Child).

Here are some other perspectives on the name change and sources for news and opinions on independent film:

  • Paramount's press release announcing the name change.
  • For news and opinions on independent film, check out the Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film's Chlotrudis Mewsings blog.
  • IndieWIRE is an important source for news on independent movies.
  • DISContent thinks Paramount's new name is problematic because of another association with the word “Vantage.”
  • Fearful Symmetries hopes this means there will be more interesting options coming to the cineplexes.

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May 20, 2006

Product Naming: Would You Trust Your Uncle With Your Money?

kioskIf there ever was a category where creating an emotional connection with the consumer was particularly important, it's Financial Services. That's why I like the new product name. The company's target market includes Hispanics, who are historically accustomed to dealing in cash.

TIO logoWho better to trust than your uncle? That’s the Spanish translation for Tio. As you know, family in general is important to Hispanics as well.

TIO Networks, formerly Info-Touch Technologies, a Vancouver company behind one of the fastest growing bill payment and financial services networks in the United States, changed its name to capitalize on the emerging brand recognition of its signature mode of bill payment and financial services kiosks, The TIO Network.

Tio will appeal to the Hispanic community in the U. S. Southwest.

info-touchHere are some other recent stories on payment processing and kiosks:

  • The Wilmington Star reprints a New York Times story on how convenience stores are installing kiosks to serve as banks for the unbanked.
  • The BBC reports on the 360money card, a pre-paid debit card intended to allow people without bank accounts to make purchases over the phone or online.
  • A General Electric press release on their CashWorks bill payment and check-cashing kiosks.
  • Convenience Store/Petroleum reports on TIO Express, which “enables retailers to accept cash payments for multiple billing partners through a web-based application or through the retailer’s own point-of-sale (POS) system.”

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May 19, 2006

Product Naming: Vodafone Japan Goes Soft.

Vodafone, Japan has announced that as of October 1 they are changing their name to Softbank Mobile Corp. and their logo will change to that currently used by companies. This announcement comes on the heels of Softbank’s acquisition of Vodafone Japan in April, which had left some of us in the product naming business wondering what Vodafone Japan would be called.

SoftbankThe acquisition gives Softbank entry into the mobile phone market and beefs up its presence in Internet, broadband and fixed line services. Softbank comes into the deal with the leverage of its very well known Yahoo BB broadband service, meaning that now a Softbank customer can carry out Yahoo transactions over the computer and cell phone.

AppleThere is an added interest here because, as we noted in an earlier link du jour, Softbank has reportedly gone into partnership with to create the long awaited iPod-cell phone unit that has yet to be named. I assume that the current line of cell phones being announced by Vodafone will be the last to bear the Vodafone name, which makes me wonder if people want to use future cell phones that sounds like they were issued by a bank.

I suppose with both the Yahoo and Apple names in their stable, Softbank can do pretty much what it wants.

Here are some other perspectives from around the web:

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Links Du Jour 05-19-06

  • - The Supreme Court has come down hard on those nasty people who we in the product naming business refer to as "patent trolls" and who others think of as name leeches. I'm talking about those people out there who patent your company name so they can hold you to ransom to get it back. It's a shame this law does not apply in South Africa, where Charlize Theron's .
  • - Lesson One in the business of product naming: spell your brand name correctly. Especially if you're talking about a place everyone knows and if you're trying to get elected in that place.
  • - From a product naming perspective, we've noticed that names beginning with "I" used to be trendy (iPod), then "my" (My Space), now "You or your". Amazon is naming its media browser Your Media Library, allowing users to browse through past purchases and share this information with others. Rubel sees it as an emerging social commerce application. I'm interested in the fact that it is called "Your Media Library" and not "My Media Library".

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May 18, 2006

Links Du Jour 05-18-06

  • - This is a great example of cooperative branding and product naming that was begging to happen. Leggo has partnered with similar sounding and target-market-sharing Eggo to create Leggo-shaped Eggo waffles. As illustrated in our March 29th blog post, the Eggo-Lego partnership is pure .
  • - Philately may be the last frontier for brand naming. Get your name on the stamp and you not only send it around the world, you get the postman thinking about it, too. In this case, score one for ice cream lovin' stamp collectors.
  • - Fascinating post on how to brand your job that referenced the ultra-cool Whirlpool Duet. Interesting note on applying the White Rabbit Group's brand ownership forces to your job.

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Brand Naming: Live Has Many Lives At Microsoft

Windows Live BetaThe newly unveiled is the “,” in one writer's opinion.

And the negative blogs and news aimed at it makes me think that Live may become the next in the most hated name stakes. There is nothing wrong with “Live” - not that it’s really great or original - the problem I've got with the brand name "Live" is that Microsoft keeps recycling the names they are already using, and thus causing great confusion.

The former Windows Live Search is an Internet search tool; the new one allows people to search their own computer, computers on their network, as well as the ‘Net. The outcry has been so intense that at least one rep has hinted they may even .

The reason Microsoft is using the Live name twice comes down to . Microsoft seems needlessly careless when it comes to product naming: Scott Fulton asks, what, exactly, is one talking about when one uses “Explorer”, for instance. I’ve also noticed that the term “search” itself has numerous meanings for Microsoft.

SeattlePI’s Todd Bishop refers to this as the , referring to the lovable boxer, whom we have profiled before in connection with , who named all five of his sons “George.”

I would add that George took this one step further by naming one of his five daughters “”.

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May 17, 2006

Brand Naming: BRP Aims to be the BMW of ATVs

Can-AmLast week, Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) that it will be rebranding its well-known Bombardier ATV to Can-Am. If you're not familiar with BRP, it's the company that also markets the Sea Doo and Ski Doo brands.

Rider enthusiasts will recognize the Can-Am brand name as the successful motorcycle division of BRP that started over 30 years ago. BRP is investing in the Can-Am brand name to better position its ATV line in the U.S. market.

BombardierCan-Am is something of a legendary brand, and according to the the Can-Am name is going to recall the maverick spirit of celebrated dirt bikes.

Most people interpret Can-Am to mean Canada-America, another big plus for BRP, during a time when big players in this market such as Suzuki, Yamaha, and Honda are clearly in the lead.

The 2007 Can-Am platform will introduce names such as the Can-Am 500, Can-Am Rally, and the Can-Am 800, a mean hybrid between a utility ATV and a sport quad. For the Renegade, BRP is even creating a new, more radical designation: the ETV (Extreme Terrain Vehicle).

Reviving the Can-Am brand name is clearly a reflection of BRP's aim to reach the Powersports enthusiast. I think that if BRP wants their new product name to convey high performance and a passion for riding, then they've really hit the mark with Can-Am.

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Links Du Jour 05-17-06

  • - A funny lesson in [conference room] naming architecture. I wonder how many corporate brand architecture decisions are made this way...
  • - John Winsor's fascinating take on building brand momentum. The lesson for product naming? Thorough research and a deep connection to the brand promise.
  • - Stormhoek is into wine porn. Kim Maxwell discusses how the company is using blogging to spread its brand name, and uses feedback from bloggers to design its labels and promote its brand name.

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Product Naming: Paris Hilton's Got Game

Paris Hilton's Jewel JamYesterday, CNN declared that E3’s was Paris Hilton mistakenly announcing the name of her new videogame.

Hilton arrived at the Electronic Entertainment Expo and breathlessly announced "I'm really excited to have my new videogame, Diamond Quest." One problem: the correct product name is “Paris Hilton’s Jewel Jam”.

While the Jewel Jam brand name was emblazoned on posters and displays all around her, Gameloft, the game’s purveyor, that it was chosen right before Paris’s entrance.

So, is all of this keeping Gameloft's brand managers up at night? Yeah, maybe partying in celebration.

I think at purchase time, semantics will be vastly overshadowed by the value of the tie to the Paris Hilton brand. When this game becomes available to download on the mobile phones of tweens across the country, the two most important things in my opinion are:

  • The name sounds something like industry star
  • The Paris Hilton brand is attached

That's cool enough.

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May 16, 2006

Links Du Jour 05-16-06

  • - Budweiser has put its brand name on a new line of BBQ sauces, and this looks like an extension that will work. I agree with Adam Finely that a Jim Beam pancake syrup is NOT a good thing, though.
  • - It's official. SoftBank Corporation went into partnership with Apple Computer Inc. in Japan's mobile phone business. They will jointly develop new cell-phone units in which iPod music players are built in. Will this product name follow Apple's naming convention and go with iPhone?
  • - Great move guys. Linking your product to the brand name of a gracefully aged movie star is a good branding move.
  • - Here is a pretty good piece on brand naming basics. It illustrates the importance of solid brand name research.

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Posted by William Lozito at 7:42 AM

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May 15, 2006

Brand Naming: Wal-Mart Goes Organic

Wal-MartAccording to an article in the yesterday, it seems that Wal-Mart is moving in a new direction regarding the brand naming of its produce: it plans on offering “organic” food choices at 10% above the regular price.

I don't think it would take a lot of brand name research to discover that anything called “organic” seems to sell to today’s health conscious customers. I also don't doubt that Wal-Mart will have a decent offering that is in compliance with what the Agricultural Department defines as scientifically “organic”.

On the one hand, I must agree that when Wal-Mart goes organic, one must hesitate just a bit.

USDA logoStill, I agree with the New York Times that half the appeal of buying organic foods is the idea that it comes from “local”, small growers. And it seems unlikely that Wal-Mart can supply its demand from small growers. But who knows? Ben and Jerry’s sells lots of ice cream and patronizes lots of small suppliers.

I do hope that Wal-Mart finds a way to have its organic branding and live-up to it without forcing small farmers and brands out of business. I think Wal-Mart knows better.

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Links Du Jour 05-15-06

  • - Mike Wagner talks about the brand strategy his mother created...that should be pretty familiar to all of us. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there.
  • - Pontiac asks viewers of its commercials to "" rather than go to . Google is getting to play a large part in some companies' brand naming strategies...
  • - Leave it to the Boing Boing blog to showcase authentic grocery lists. Here's a real tool for brand name research: go through these scribbled lists and see how many times your product name is mentioned!

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May 14, 2006

Product Naming: Nintendo's Wii Naming Criteria

A Saturday, May 13 Seattle Times interview with Nintendo's President Satoru Iwata, provides some interesting insights to his reaction to the product name when it was first presented to him, and his name criteria for selecting it.

Mr. Iwata's reaction to the Wii name was "This is it. At the same time, I thought that Wii would probably have some controversy."

Wii LogoIn a nutshell, Mr. Iwata's name criteria were

  • Short so it would not need a nickname or abbreviation
  • Appealed to both existing and potential gamers
  • Memorable as soon as it was heard

In the interview, Mr. Iwata is asked what he thought of the name Wii the first time he heard it.

I saw Wii as one candidate among many others, but the name Wii captured my attention so strongly, I thought, "This is it." At the same time I thought that probably Wii would have some controversy.

There were some criteria for us to come up with the name. It had to be short enough so that we didn't need any other nicknames or abbreviation. What we are targeting with Wii is not only existing gamers, but also people who have shown no interest in other games. These nongamers, for example, really cannot understand what GBA means, if GBA is something different from Game Boy Advance. We wanted something with a strong impact that people will remember as soon as they hear it.

Finally, we wanted a name unlike any video-game machines.

As you can see, Mr. Iwata did not have pronounceability as one of his name criteria, although earlier press releases claimed it was pronounecable in all languages. We disputed that in our April 30 Wii product naming blog post.

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May 13, 2006

Slogans: Looking for a Road Less Traveled

Samsonite logoMarcelo Bottoli, President and CEO of , is proud of the company’s newly hired Global Creative Director, Quentin Mackay. Samsonite has introduced a new campaign slogan designed "for injecting emotion into Samsonite’s new collections."

The new tagline? Life's a Journey.

Mr. Bottoli is quoted as saying about Quentin, "We just think alike. Competence and chemistry — that‘s what made me choose Quentin."

They only problem is, the Life's a Journey slogan was first coined by Oliver Goldsmith (Irish born British essayist and dramatist) some time between 1730 and 1774.

Goldsmith is quoted as saying "Life is a Journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations."

And, of course, life is a journey has been used untold times since Goldsmith first coined it.

It would seem that Marcelo Bottoli should expect some originality from a highly regarded creative. Go figure.

life is a journeyAs noted in my blog post on slogans of May 8, it’s not easy to come up with a clever tagline or slogan that hasn’t already been used. New Jersey, unknowingly, implemented the same slogan previously used by West Virginia, "Come See for Yourself". Perhaps Samsonite should consider Life is a Jersey.

For other perspectives on advertising slogans, please see the following:

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May 12, 2006

Restart Your Engines?

Restart your engines.

Is this the slogan for:

  • DieHard Batteries
  • Viagra
  • State of Indiana
  • AutoZone

DieHard batteryIf you answered the state of Indiana, you're probably in the minority. That's not fact, but an educated guess.

viagra tabletThe more and more I see regarding state slogans, the more and more I feel they're created inwardly rather than outwardly. Said another way, if Indiana's Restart Your Engines slogan is designed to encourage tourism, I think it falls flat on its face.

Indiana state sealThere's the obvious implication of the Indianapolis 500, but is that broad enough to appeal to all age groups and both genders? I think not.

Yes, many women attend the Indy 500, but I don't think Restart Your Engines has broad appeal for many females, and especially many retirees, who have the time and money to travel.

AutoZone logoWe pride ourselves on accenting the positive in our blog posts, but this is one instance where I find that impossible to do.

As you may know from my May 8 post on , New Jersey is yanking their recent We'll Win You Over slogan after only a few months.

If the Indiana state officials are open minded and objective, they may want to restart their thinking about how to attract tourists.

In other state tourism slogan news from around the Web...

  • , in expanding on my previous post, asks "How do you please an entire state?"
  • The Experience Washington site offers the official for the state's tourism slogan.
  • The 13th Floor at says that the new isn't thrilling, but it's better than those of Washington and New Jersey.
  • Ginny Boston Red Sox offers a comprehensive list of , including Washington, D.C.

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Links Du Jour 05-12-06

  • - Marmite apparently has done some interesting brand name research and has discovered that grossing people out will make them remember a name they probably already know in the first place. The ad viral is pretty hardcore, and probably effective.
  • - What can I say? The new Google Trends is pretty cool. Among other things, it allows anyone to do some fast and fairly accurate brand name research. Steve Rubel has found some facts that may surprise you...

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May 11, 2006

Company Naming: The Lucent-Alcatel Merger Challenge

NameThe recently announced $13.45 billion offers a fascinating challenge for people in the brand naming field.

While some writers have the new name for the merged company should be Lucatel, it is clear that whatever name they choose is likely to be contentious, not least because the merger come with a hefty attached.

A few weeks ago the folks at Marketwatch that rebranding the company might not be worth the expense.

NameI do not agree. I think a new company name is beneficial, especially since the company has to assure shareholders and customers that the merged company can be run smoothly between offices in the USA and France.

I think it will also remind everyone that the company is launching a fresh, exciting new enterprise.

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Links Du Jour 05-11-06

  • - It seems there's yet another entry in the energy drink market. Hulk Hogan is getting an energy drink named after himself. Hulk Energy.
  • - Philips Consumer Products has introduced a new product for men with an interesting brand name: the Philips Norelco Bodygroom. Jennifer Whetzel points out their site and asks, "If you're a guy, would you buy one?"
  • - I have to admit this is a pretty cool example of getting some truth behind your product naming. Check it out.

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May 10, 2006

Brand Architecture: The Sophistication of Motorcycle Brand Names

NameIn an April 30th , Paul Duchene discusses the brand architecture or masterbrand strategy of major motorcycle manufacturers in detail.

It's quite an in-depth article. Duchene interviewed many within the motorcycle industry, including manufacturers and dealers.

I was also asked to on the brand architecture or masterbrand strategy being employed by the major motorcycle manufacturers.

This article makes for a very interesting read for anyone interested in motorcycles, brand architecture, or a masterbrand strategy.

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Posted by William Lozito at 10:35 AM

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Brand Naming: The World's Thinnest Phone

NameSamsung is unveiling the SGH-X820 Ultra Slim Phone, which they claim is the “world’s thinnest” phone. And it is pretty darn thin. I agree with Paul Miller at that putting the claim "world’s ____" before almost anything can really boost a branding campaign. I think this is especially true when it comes to mobile phones, where it seems less is always more.

I expect to see this help Samsung become an even bigger player in the hugely competitive mobile phone industry.

Samsung's new Ultra Slim Phone points out a potential shortcoming of a brand name based on physical product characteristics. I'm thinking of the Motorola SLVR, which is even thinner than its predecessor RAZR.

I'm wondering if the SLVR brand name will have the same punch, now that Samsung has introduced an even thinner phone.

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Links Du Jour 05-10-06

  • - Product names for open-source software are not as protected as regular trademarked names are. Autodesk Inc. of CA named it's MapGuide product Mapserver Enterprise. The University of Minnesota already uses that product name, and developers view Autodesk's move as stealing.
  • - 21,000 names have been submitted so far to rename the Goodyear blimp through , illustrating the value of conducting brand name research among your market. There are several finalists. I happen to like The Spirit of Peace. The winning name is announced in June.
  • - David Beckham wants to "raise his profile" in the USA to help his soccer schools "take off". Will combining the equity in the milk campaign with his own brand name do it? I'm more impressed that Annie Liebovitz is part of it. Now there's a legendary brand name for you.

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May 9, 2006

Product Naming: What is a Name Worth?

BusinessWeekBusinessWeek asked that very question about celebrities.

The answer?

  • Muhammad Ali: $40 million.
  • Jennifer Lopez: $35 million.
  • The Donald: $240 million, plus another $40 million in a recent licensing deal.

And the list goes on and on. The BusinessWeek article and accompanying slide show are interesting and worth the read.

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Brand Naming: The Alphabet Soup of Initialisms

Alphabet SoupA in the BBC News described the author’s experience of “drowning in the alphabet soup” of France’s acronyms and abbreviations. I have to grant that it’s by no means intuitively obvious that a K7 is an audio or videocassette, nor that X represents L’Ecole Polytechnique. And I couldn’t tell you what a RIB is, either.

But the British should talk. Anyone moving to England confronts such terms as MOT (Ministry of Transport, but more specifically the inspection a car has to get before it’s allowed on the streets), OAP (old-age pensioner), PTO (“please turn over,” generally at the bottom of a business letter), WC (“water closet,” or toilet, seen on signs pointing to public loos), and QUANGO.

The last stands for Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organization, and you can see why they’d want to abbreviate it. My question is, since they’re already separate from the government, what is it they need autonomy - or even quasi-autonomy - from?

And then there are major British corporations like BT (British Telecom) and BA (British Airways). Not to mention, of course, the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) itself.

Government agencies in all nations seem to attract a plethora of abbreviations - think IRS, CIA, and FBI. The Greek National Tourist Organization (GNTO in English-language guidebooks) is abbreviated EOT (epsilon omicron taf) in Greek. The Dutch Tourist organization is the VVV.

As for corporations, we’ve blogged about BMW, IKEA, and SAAB.

The 1960s hit musical Hair provided a tribute to American initialisms: “LBJ took the IRT down to 4th Street, USA / When he got there, what did he see? / The youth of America on LSD.”

And that was before e-mail and text messaging, which have created whole rafts of new abbreviations.

My Canadian friends have commented on their nation’s fondness for acronyms - one while applying to renew her SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, pronounced “shirk”) fellowship.

Switching continents again, we have the ANC (African National Congress), SADC (Southern African Development Community, pronounced “sadec”), and ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe Africa National Union Patriotic Front, the ruling party in Zimbabwe).

So far the acronym-search site has collected a mere 289 French entries, with 637 for German, 349 for Hebrew, and 2202 for Spanish (not counting the 1007 for Guatemalan and 404 Mexican entries). These lists are by no means exhaustive, as the site relies on volunteers contributing entries.

They do demonstrate that forming abbreviations and acronyms is as natural to humans as language itself.

The at AbbreviationZ include BYOB, RSVP, IT, AKA, SAT, AARP, and Etc.

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Links Du Jour 05-09-06

  • - Dror Poleg, of Danwei (单位), provides an insightful analysis of the and AIKA brand names in China. AIKA is one of IKEA’s biggest competitors in China, and the two companies’ local brand names, YiJia (宜家) and AiJia (爱家) mean almost the same thing...
  • - Tips for your next marketing battle, from the ancient general. Essential brand name research lessons learned here. The short version for the brand name game is: surprise the market with a great name, work with people who know the market, know your competition, and create a memorable icon.
  • - Yahoo is about to launch its new advertising tool, codenamed "Panama". This new application will compete with Google and Microsoft, placing the Yahoo brand name back in the game. As far as product naming goes, I think "Panama" is pretty cool.
  • - Here's a weird twist in the annals of brand naming: Wal-mart wants to trademark the smiley face! But wait, some unscrupulous Frenchman has already done it and has earned millions! I don't think anyone should touch the smiley's in the public domain.

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May 8, 2006

Product Naming: Wii Wii Wii All the Way to E3

Wii logoAs you may be aware, especially if you've been reading our blog on a regular basis, the blogging community has been abuzz over , Nintendo's new brand name.

E3 2006 logoWith (Electronic Entertainment Expo) kicking off this Wednesday, the viral buzz around the Wii brand name caught the attention of magazine.

Ad Age logoAgain, it looks like the Wii brand name is for real. Given this fact, during an that appeared in today's edition, I suggested that Nintendo and Leo Burnett, Nintendo's ad agency, should capitalize on the Wii buzz.

For more about Wii at E3, check out and follow the Go Nintendo gang to the E3 expo. Then, be informed of Nintendo Wii announcements at E3 by following these blogs: , , and .

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Brand Architecture: What's Going on Inside Intel's Brand Naming?

Intel Core 2 DuoIntel has introduced the new Core 2 Duo processor and has possibly taken a turn towards its , where each generation of processor gets an ascending numeric designation. It reminds me of Intel's former brand architecture for the Pentium 1, 2, 3 and 4 to denote the next generation processor.

Like many others, I had the impression Intel was moving to a new , a subject I examined in my April 26th post about the company's .

To be honest, I'm finding it a little difficult to track Intel's evolving brand architecture, but maybe I've figured it out.

As things stand, Core 2 represents the next generation of Intel's Core processor architecture, with Core Solo and Core Duo representing the first. The writers at confirm that the new brand architecture represents Intel's push to set up a naming strategy that brings CPUs for desktops and laptops under one umbrella brand.

Intel Core 2 ExtremeMoreover, Intel's Core 2 Extreme processor will be targeted to the gamer market.

Athough not clearly articulated at this point, these evolutionary changes are part of Intel's new Master Brand Architecture:

  • It's branded platforms, or market-focused platforms consist of VIIV (rhymes with live), Centrino, Centrino Duo, and the new vPro
  • Under each of these market-focused platforms are processor brands, whose next-generation technology will be differentiated by a simple numberic number as in the Core 2 Duo processor

This is admittedly confusing today, but in my judgement will be eminantly simple long-term for both the consumer and developers. I'm sure this is the good hand of Eric Kim, Intel's Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer at work.

Some short term confusion is typical terrain when developing and implementing a new Masterbrand Architecture - it's a bumpy road on the way to a smooth highway.

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How Not to Develop a State Slogan or Tagline

What is it about state and city slogans? A brief look at this year's slogan debacles gives us a primer in how to actually scare visitors away.

Utah’s new slogan announced in the last few months of “Life Elevated” was for being too close to neighboring Colorado’s slogan of “Enter a Higher State”.

Well, I have to say that an error like that is a form of inadequate brand name research. Meanwhile, Palm Springs, California has ditched the new campaign. Not surprising, it of the slogan “Put your hands up; you're surrounded."

New Jersey has scrapped its second slogan is just a few months. One slogan developed by a New York naming consultant, “We’ll Win You Over”, was rejected by the Governor who ran a resident contest and decided on “Come See For Yourself.” But it turns out the “Come See For Yourself” slogan by West Virginia and other states. Or maybe not. .

I don't think developing a slogan or tagline for a city or state should be this difficult.

While nobody can anticipate a governor's personal preference, as was the case in New Jersey, I think the states and cities could do a better job of using the available and free US trademark database.

This leaves me wondering, since states have built-in name recognition, do they really need a slogan?

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Posted by William Lozito at 11:56 AM

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Links Du Jour 05-08-06

  • - Ever heard of the Hanso Foundation brand name? No? That’s because it doesn’t exist, but it's still being used to sell Mp3 players to Lost lovers, who know the name as a fictional company. Heck, the Manuscript that one of the characters reads on Lost is now a bestselling book on Amazon. This might be a new trend in product naming: building up fictional brand names to sell...anything.
  • - No, you cannot steal a company slogan to get votes, even if you are actually called Brown. This is basic trademark law.
  • - Doh! Is this brand naming for pre-schoolers or what? Do we really miss this scent so much? Does it really signify “creativity” as the makers claim or is it a sure tip off that your date has...issues?

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:48 AM

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May 7, 2006

Brand Naming: The Reports of Gu Ge's Death

Gu GeIn my April 30th post regarding the Gu Ge brand name, I suggested that resistance to the Gu Ge brand name in China "was a whisper."

Another week has passed, and it’s fair to say that with only 2,680 additional Chinese of out 1,307,000,000 voicing displeasure with the Gu Ge name, it’s not even a whisper. Again, relating this increase to the difference in population between the U. S. and China, the increase equates to the population of Elk Mountain, Wyoming.

GoogleA Gu Ge Deathwatch? Hardly. To paraphrase Mark Twain, "The reports of Gu Ge's death have been greatly exaggerated."

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:52 AM

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May 6, 2006

Auto Product Naming: BMW is at it again

BMWThey have two new concept cars under development, code-named RFK-1 and RFK-2. "RFK" stands for "raum funktionales konzept" or "functional-space concept." The spy photos show a vehicle that frankly looks like it was designed for of Rommel’s Afrika Korps.

But this vehicle is designed to set the trend for roomy flexibility, taking direct aim at the Mercedes-Benz R-Class. Many US car lovers will note that the letters RFK have distinct Democratic overtones, making one wonder if the engineers in Bavaria are sending a subtle message to the Republicans who make up the bulk of this brand’s target market in the USA.

BMWThe of this car is in line with the established trend in luxury car and product naming that keeps focus on the parent brand, a subject I have written about in some depth in these pages: Product Naming: Luxury Brands Battle of the Alphabet.

At the beginning of the year I took a look at how even hoary old Lincoln has gone alphanumeric in its brand naming, renaming its luxury Aviator the MKX. The MKX will not be competing hard against the RFK as BMW is focusing here not on "bling" but on offering a practical "."

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Links Du Jour – Cingular Brand Name Edition

AT&T's decision to drop the Cingular wireless brand name, which I wrote about earlier this week, is generating a visceral reaction. Some I agree with, some I don’t. But what do you think?

  • Although the Fresh Glue blog only commented on a part of our Cingular name change analysis, which can be misleading, we welcome all points of view.
  • GigaOM writes that the name change is sensible because of the idea of a unified AT&T brand.
  • brandsizzle is concerned that AT&T is throwing away the youthful appeal of Cingular's brand for the sake of a bundled solution.
  • Eyes on Creativity rues the death of a successfully established brand, and considers who's going to have to foot the bill for the rebranding of AT&T wireless.
  • As far as I have gone recalls dropping AT&T Wireless for Cingular, so the thought of going back to AT&T, even though it's now the same company as Cingular, is an unpleasant one.
  • Branding Buzz makes the point that "the powers that be at SBC had no problem getting rid of the SBC brand for the legendary AT&T when they bought them, but getting rid of Cingular, and its hip persona, just feels like the fat guy not knowing when to stop gorging at the buffet line."

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Posted by William Lozito at 2:12 PM

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May 5, 2006

Brand Naming: The Role Consonants Play

Did you ever wonder if a certain letter in the English language had some inherent meaning to consumers?

We did. We surveyed 400+ consumers at random from a national online panel of 7 million. Once we identified the inherent associations of all the consonants in the English language, we then compared the findings to the 1000 most advertised brands in the U.S. reported in Brandweek's SuperBrands 2005.

AdweekAlthough not a perfect science, when comparing the results to the 1000 most advertised brands we found some striking consistencies and insights. In fact, Adweek invited us to share the consonant research findings in its April 24th issue in an article titled, .

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Posted by William Lozito at 12:02 PM

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Brand Naming: Yum! Who?

Yum!Yum! Brands, the little-known company name behind renowned brand names such as Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell, is looking to step out and do some of its own.

Pizza HutI found it interesting to see that Yum! Brands is launching a new ad campaign that promotes the strong brands the company has become famous for, and is now the first brand to sponsor the Kentucky Derby, which will this year be called "The Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands."

I think it's obvious that Yum! Brands wants to appeal to a pretty rare demographic: high-end investors. It’s difficult to see how you can go wrong by hitching your company name to such a high profile event as the Kentucky Derby.

KFCFrankly, Yum! Brands ought to be a legend in the brand naming game: with last year of $30 billion from more than 34,000 restaurants in 102 countries, it’s hard to believe that such a big company feels it lives in the shadows of its smaller sub-brands.

Taco BellYum! Brands' anonymity in the market is a serious problem, says one expert, because if someone loves the Taco Bell or Pizza Hut or KFC brand name it’s hard to associate them to Yum! Brands, and thus more difficult for investors to put their money behind the places they all know and love.

But business is business, and brand naming, brand nurturing, and brand building is another matter.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:15 AM

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Links Du Jour

  • - Guy Kawasaki is finding some pretty cool examples of new products with unique names. This one, in his opinion, trumps Skype, the brand name of a competitor. Check out his first blog post on Goowy communications software, which illustrates the potential of brand name research conducted through blogs.
  • - What do you do when people in the blogosphere start to trash your brand name? One thing not to do is try to sue them. Also see the related story concerning the product name.
  • - The new trend in product naming and branding is to name everything “My” this or “my” that. The danger is that “My” might become the next “i”, as in “iVillage and iPod”. Hey, what about ?

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:34 AM

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May 4, 2006

Wii Brand Name: Real or Not?

Wii LogoWe hope you've enjoyed our Wii blog posts that have focused on the linguistic aspects of the Nintendo Wii brand name.

Other blogs have speculated about the Wii name being a hoax and not the real name. Although we don't speculate, it appears that since Nintendo's application of the Wii mark is now listed in the U.S. Trademark Database, the Wii brand name is for real.

We plan to continue monitoring the reaction to the new Wii brand name by both gamers and the marketing community.

We think the Wii brand name is the real thing.

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Posted by William Lozito at 7:09 PM

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Links Du Jour - Wii Brand Name Edition

  • In Defense of Wii - It’s iconic brand naming. It looks cool. And people sure are talking about it…..
  • Nintendo Fans Perplexed by New Name - An overview of the blogs and what fans are writing about Wii. Not really encouraging brand name research.
  • Wii Rule - This is probably the most “pro-Wii” blog on the entire Internet and features the best pictures of the product. Is Wii the new frontier in product naming after all?

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Posted by William Lozito at 10:57 AM

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Brand Naming: Cingular Bounces Out

CingularLooks like AT&T is going to ditch the Cingular name after its recent acquisition of the company and, even more egregious for some, it will get rid of the amusing Cingular orange “jack;” (one blogger calls it the “.”)

According to Advertising Age, this move might cost about $2 billion in communications that will be needed to smooth customers' ruffled feathers when Bouncy Guy gets turned into the AT&T Wireless logo. One blogger says this is a pretty gnarly chapter in product naming history, given that the Cingular name took a cool $4 billion to connect with the consumer. (Yes, that’s $6 million so far...)

Replacing it with AT&T's means taking a nifty, fresh moniker and replacing it with what they feel is a pretty boring example of brand naming.

Seems that AT&T just can’t escape its “Death Star” image.

I'm not convinced. I have looked in some depth at AT&T’s efforts to remake its logo and some of the reasoning behind its branding efforts.

I think it’s pretty hard to argue with AT&T's logic as outlined in the Advertising Age article: the $4 billion spent to build the Cingular brand name gave AT&T the biggest customer base in the U.S. Taking all that equity and putting it all under the AT&T umbrella is just easier and more “elegant,” as they claim (even when some protest that this heralds the return of the phone monopoly.)

I think that as much as we will miss the Bouncy Guy and all he stands for, AT&T has no choice in the matter. They need to provide customers with a complete telecommunications package under one newly revamped brand.

Sprint logoOr, could AT&T have integrated the Bouncy Guy in its marketing communications? Sprint did that by combining its logo with Nextel's and adding the together with Nextel line.

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Posted by William Lozito at 10:08 AM

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Links Du Jour

  • - Pretty nondescriptive as far as product naming goes, but Nokia's brand promotion strategy is pretty nifty: give away these units to bloggers willing to promote them online. Word is that the new Nokia may take the stuffing out of iPod.
  • - Probably one of the best ways you can build hype into your brand naming strategy is through being recognized for ethical business practice. The winner this year is in Waterbury VT. Who says nice guys don’t finish first?

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:50 AM

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May 3, 2006

Links Du Jour - Gu Ge Brand Name Edition

  • - Chinese bloggers say the new Google brand name is “old fashioned, uncool, and downright boring” and this blogger explains why, presenting alternatives such as “GouGou” (Dog Dog) and “GuGu” (Sister-in-law).
  • - This post focuses on why the name resounds in Chinese culture, and reminds us of Coca-Cola's experience in choosing a Chinese name. Coke's original Chinese name meant "bite the wax tadpole". Coke then conducted brand name research of 40,000 Chinese characters and found a close phonetic equivalent, ko-kou-ko-le, which can be loosely translated as “happiness in the mouth”.
  • - An interesting article that looks at censorship issues around Google's entrance into China, and suggests that Google may be working against its own corporate credo in introducing the new product name to Chinese consumers.
  • - Google has pulled the wraps off its new research center in China, an initiative clearly meant to help launch the new and beleaguered Gu Ge brand name. This blog shows the Chinese representation of Gu Ge.
  • - Interesting blog on the Chinese perspective of the new Gu Ge brand name, including the government regulations surrounging it.
  • - Another milestone in the world of product naming has occurred: 3,200 people have actually signed a petition trashing the Gu Ge brand name.

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Posted by William Lozito at 12:03 PM

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Links Du Jour - Wii Brand Name Edition

  • - Wii look at both sides of the new nintendo name. It may be one of the wackier product names out there but this blog takes a balanced look at the new name, with resourceful links to writers who love the new product name and those who hate it.
  • - This is refreshing post on the Wii name. These guys like the brand name and have some pretty compelling reasons why it doesn't represent a new frontier in bad product naming, but instead is indicative of great brand name research.

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Posted by William Lozito at 11:02 AM

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May 2, 2006

Product Naming: The Trademarking Hurdle

ChapstickDid you know that the US Trademark office rejected a product name called Lotsa Suds? Or that well known brand names such as Tender Vittles, Chap Stick and Bufferin are actually very difficult trademarks to defend in court?

Trademark issues are becoming more and more complex and can bedevil a product name or brand name and a major part of what a naming company deals with on a daily basis. A recent article, , by Mark C. Jacobs, reminds us that a trademark is not a Service Mark and that trademarks are always “adjectives and not nouns". Jacobs means that there is no such thing as a "Buick" in the world of trademarks, but there is only a "Buick car".

I think that people who are not naming consultants may not be aware of a few other interesting things: it’s very hard to trademark a person’s last name and almost impossible to trademark a geographic name for a product or service that does not come from that place.

The fact is, if a trademark registration application is rejected, it is an incredible headache for the applicant. I believe that navigating these rough waters is part of the job of any good naming company that knows how to do the proper brand name research necessary to avoid trademark hassles.

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Posted by William Lozito at 11:28 AM

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Links Du Jour

  • - I can't see what the big fuss is about: since when could you get out of jail by paying $200? Or erect a hotel for under $1000? In my opinion, changing any name on the Monopoly board is bad business, especially a recognizalbe brand name like Boardwalk. Besides, part of the game's charm is its hearkening to yesteryear!
  • - Many people love coffee, but this might be just too weird, even for coffee lovers. The product name, Weasel Coffee, says it all, and you might want to give it to the weasels in your life who tend to be...full of it.
  • - We the new VW Safe Happens campaign last month and looks like it is having whopping dividends. This sticky tagline is generating brochure requests at dealers. This is pretty cool brand name research at work: I still think about "Farfegnugen" when it comes to VW, not safety, but that's changing...Nice repositioning, guys.

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Posted by William Lozito at 10:07 AM

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May 1, 2006

Auto Brand Naming: Canada Finally Wrangles the Jeep Wrangler

JeepDaimler Chrysler says that the famous trucks directly descended from the jeeps of World War II will finally be known as Wranglers in Canada - as they are in over 100 other markets. I’m glad.

It seems that General Motors had the use of the name in Canada for the occasional pick-up truck, forcing Canadian Wranglers to be known as “TJs” (after their internal body designations) but the two companies have come to an “amicable” arrangement that sees GM giving the famous brand name to Daimler Chrysler. This will reduce marketing costs for the company and on the vehicles where it rightfully belongs.

I know that the name Wrangler, of course, is used by many companies, including brands of Hormel hotdogs, as well as the well-known Wrangler jeans brand and the less well-known Wrangler baseball team in the US.

It’s a pretty macho name that clearly defines its target market - is something I have written about before and its equity is entrenched so deep in 4x4 culture that its hard to see it disappearing anytime soon.

And what a relief it must be for Jeep Canada to not have to try to sell 4x4s called “TJs” anymore! My only question: Guys, what were you thinking?

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10:10 AM

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Links Du Jour

  • - This one's by Clyde Fessler, former vice president, business development, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, a brand name I have enormous respect for not only for its longevity, authenticity and broad recognition, but also for its good works programs. Anything the boys at Harley have to say should form an integral part of your brand research.
  • - Ok, it sounds wacky but check this out---it is one of the niftiest products I have seen in a while and it's good for the environment, too. The name is just not that imaginative, however: Rubbersidewalks. C'mon! This might be where you need a good naming company to create a really bouncy product name.
  • - Jennifer Love Hewitt is pitching Hanes underwear, and kicking things off by attending a "Panti-monium" party where the guys at Adjab conjecture models will be walking around in Hanes underwear and the confirm it. OK. I'm not too surprised Hewitt is connecting herself to the Hanes brand name, but a little surprised they got her to agree to partaking in "Panti-monium", which sounds like a 50's stag movie title. Hanes depends on Target, Wal-mart and K-mart shoppers to buy its products - is Middle America ready for Panti-monium?

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8:03 AM

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