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August 16, 2006

Brand Naming: Niche Markets + Internet = Backwards Naming

Brand name research will confirm what product names appeal to the vast majority of the target market while confusing as few consumers as possible.…like Nike, for instance, or Apple.

Niche product names seem to follow different rules. They appeal to a small, loyal group of fairly radical consumers who like names that set them apart. This means the names can be startling or meaningless to the rest of us.

Examples? “” and the stuffily named . There is a movie out (based on a true story) about how an old fashioned English shoe company decides to exploit a niche and make , going from staid W.J.Brookes & Co to “Divine” or, as it is now known, “” and "Divine."

It may well be that the average person does not want to buy “Dirtbag” clothes of “Kinky” anything but that’s just it: niche markets are not for average people and thus do not have your average brand names. The names that endure are “insider” names. The hard to pronounce brand name in Johannesburg, is actually South African street slang for “Location Culture”, or, culture of the townships. It is instantly recognizable to that very large target market, but unintelligible to the rest of us.

Nonetheless, these names give the products behind them an instant authenticity that customers are willing to pay a premium for. The Internet has fed this by being a playground for the person looking for and thus becoming a breeding ground for cool, niche names. I suggest that you look for more of them as companies use the Internet to fill in the niches.

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Posted by William Lozito at August 16, 2006 10:02 AM
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