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July 24, 2006

Brand Naming: Lincoln's MKZ Is Not A Motorola RAZR

MKXLincoln is changing the name of its new MKZ nameplate.

More accurately, they're chaning the pronunciation from [mark-zee] to [em-kay-zee]. There's a very well-written by Bryce G. Hoffman, in The Detroit News detailing the change. Also changing are the 'MK' components of the MKX and MKS brand names.

I guess MKZ is no RAZR. The latter is easier to pronounce because only the vowel is missing. On the other hand, to pronounce MKZ as Mark Z is perhaps asking too much of the consumer with both a vowel and consonant removed from Mark.

As successful as Motorola has been with RAZR, ROKR, and PEBL, in all cases, removing the vowels, Motorola's planned SCPL (for scalpel cell phone) may encounter the same fate as the Lincoln MKZ. See my May 30th , Brand Naming: Is Motorola's SCPL Cutting Too Much?

Apparently, in the brief 6 months of the Lincoln MKZ and Lincoln MKX brand nomenclature, dealers complained about the brand architecture approach.

For both the MKZ and MKX, keeping the nameplate but pronouncing them differently, which is more in keeping with European and luxury auto nomenclature, it is probably a good compromise. I could just imagine the cost of changing the nameplate to something entirely different and the additional confusion that would create.

Additionally, our proprietary research of all the consonants in the English language has indicated that both the letters X and Z are perceived as innovative. Fortunately, for Lincoln, both letters are used and should work to convey that Lincoln is offering innovative automobiles.

Could this brand naming "stubbing of the toe" have been avoided with some brand name research?

and both picked up on this story earlier today. Check out their readers' insightful comments.

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Posted by William Lozito at July 24, 2006 5:03 PM
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