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December 28, 2007

Google Prevails with Gu Ge Brand Name in China

GoogleWhat a difference a day makes. In life. And in trademark law.

Gu GeWe've blogged earlier in July of 2007 about the Chinese having difficulty pronouncing Google, which led the company to re-brand its search engine "Gu Ge."

In an earlier blog of April 2006 we acknowledged the conventional marketing wisdom of one brand globally. However, in the case of China, with four times the population of U.S., it was an appropriate trade off for Google to change its name there.

It turns out that Google registered the Gu Ge brand name in China only 7 days before another company, Gu Ge Technology did.

Gu Ge Technology tried to sue Google over Gu Ge, however, the Haidian People's Court in Beijing threw out the Gu Ge Technology's trademark suit since Google registered the Gu Ge name first.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:41 AM

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December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

New Year's Eve party suppliesChristmas wreathTo All Our Readers,

The team at Strategic Name Development wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Posted by William Lozito at 4:34 PM

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Toy Naming For 2008: Green, Safe, and Made in USA

socktopus toysThis Christmas has set the tone for toy naming in 2008.

  1. Safety is Key: Any part of your name that tells us your toy is "safe" or "caring" is a good idea, since consumers can now use their cell phones to check to ensure your product name is safe. Traditional toys seem to be perceived as safer than the rest, so wooden toy makers like Maple Landmark have an edge.
  2. Made in China? There is no question that the Made in China label took a huge knock this year and the fallout will continue through 2008. Look for an up tick in toys "Made in the USA" as well as an advantage in brand name toys vs. no-name toys.
  3. Green Toys: Toys that are made in an eco-friendly manner, those whose brand naming reflect recycled sources (The Socktopus, for example) or toys that do not use batteries will see an up tick. Also, Eartheasy has declared that "regifting is ok."

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Posted by William Lozito at 2:36 PM

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December 21, 2007

Fairmont Lends Its Brand Name to Legendary Norfolk Hotel

NorfolkHotel_Kenya.gifSome people are not pleased that the legendary 103-year old Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya - where Teddy Roosevelt stayed before his famous safari and favorite of Karen Blixen of Out of Africa fame - is being renamed Fairmont The Norfolk after a multi-million dollar renovation.

Out_of_Africa.gifFairmont Raffles International has made no secret of its intention to spread its branding through Africa and the East. People often get upset when iconic hotels change their names, such as when Boston's Ritz-Carlton was renamed after being acquired by the Taj hotel chain.

The Fairmont name is well-known worldwide, unlike the name "Norfolk Hotel," which is only known by people who are into Africana or are intimately familiar with Kenya.

Kenya's drive to bring in new tourists will be greatly helped by the Fairmont name, which allows people to book with confidence.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:35 AM

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December 20, 2007

South Beach Living vs Dieting = Good Brand Naming

SouthBeachDiet.gifKraft's decision to omit the word "diet" in its South Beach Diet brand name and replace it with South Beach Living will probably turn out to be an excellent marketing move.

The South Beach brand name is well entrenched - it is not only a food line, but a vending machine name and a diet bar.

CocaColaZero.gifOther brands also opt to omit the word "diet" in their product names as well. Take Coke Zero, for example. This brand is flourishing partly because it's gender neutral and doesn't describe itself as "diet."

According to the Diet Blog, the word diet often connotes to consumers bad tasting food aimed at an older demographic as well as, incredibly, "failure."

I'd rather talk about "living" than "dieting" any day of the week. Good move, Kraft.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:48 AM

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December 19, 2007

Made in India: Is the World Ready For Luxury Indian Brand Names?

Tata_logo.gifYou probably have not heard of India's Tata Group, the country's largest automaker and possibly its biggest brand name, but you most certainly have heard of Jaguar and Land Rover.

Jaguar_Logo.gifThese two brands may soon be sold to Tata Group for around $2 billion.

Land-Rover.gifThis is leading many experts to wonder if the world is ready for Indian luxury brand naming. Much as Martin Lindstrom did when Louis Vuitton moved its production to India.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:17 AM

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December 18, 2007

Good Brand Name Awareness

iPhoneA new study by the CMO Council suggests that good brand name awareness in the tech sector is not a guarantee of higher sales because customers are looking for "competence, quality service and support."

Some of the biggest tech brand names like HP, Dell and IBM take a back seat in terms of brand recognizability by people in the industry to lesser known names like NetApp, Juniper, InterSystems, Polycom and Synnex.

Wired has a great post up today that asks "Whatever Happened to the Other iPhone," a perfectly respectable Linksys product with a very recognizable name that people basically do not know about.

Building a good name means embracing every aspect of brand naming, which means, of course, backing up your marketing claims and making sure you satisfy customer needs once your name has attracted them.

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Posted by William Lozito at 12:00 PM

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December 17, 2007

Nul Naming for Knol

Google_Logo.gifMany bloggers are not reacting well to the new "Knol" by Google.

Knol stands for a "unit of knowledge" and is a "knowledge-sharing service," which is very close in nature to Wikipedia.

Wikipedia_Logo.gifSome feel that the name sounds "like a planet from a sci-fi novel," while Elliott Black has even harsher criticism.

In my opinion "knol" sounds too much like "nul" as in "nothing."

Google does many things right. But not this time.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:02 AM

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December 14, 2007

Ubiquipedia: Product Naming Now Available in Restaurants

Wikipedia.gifWe've talked about the strange names that show up on Chinese menus before. Now Mark Liberman at Language Log has unearthed a distinctly indigestible dish: stir-fried Wikipedia, photographed by Jim Benson in Beijing this past October. Or you could try the eels with Wikipedia that "goodape" uploaded to Flickr in April.

Like everyone else online, we here at Strategic Name Development consult Wikipedia as well. But while it's available in many languages, including Cantonese, Wikipedia is not a translator. Google Translate would likely be more useful for those tasked with turning menus into English -- even though the results are likely to be just as hilarious as any of the strange dishes found on menus translated by humans, if not more so.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:00 AM

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December 13, 2007

New Product Promotion Trend?

Ikea1.gifI came across an interesting study conducted by an MIT professor who has discovered that shoppers will go for comparatively lower priced items if they are given an idea about what to do with the saved money.

Professor Shane Frederick discovered that he purchased a less expensive stereo system after it was made clear to him that he could buy 30 CDs with his savings over another brand.

As a result, IKEA is putting out ads for its furniture that show cabinets filled with the shoes one could buy from the savings.

I just can see the tagline: "IKEA Cabinets: Shoes Included."

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:56 AM

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December 12, 2007

Map Naming: 1507 Waldseemuller Map

Map1507.gifI have been following with interest the story of the 1507 Waldseemuller map, which will soon be on permanent display at the Library of Congress. This is the first map to use the name "America" and a reference of a vast ocean that would only later be discovered and named The Pacific.

Check out a wonderful book entitled "From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame" by Mark Monmonier, which not only tells us such interesting facts as why Hawaiian place names have inverted commas, how to achieve "toponymic immortality," or to get a place to be named after you.

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Posted by William Lozito at 7:58 AM

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December 11, 2007

Broadway Brand Naming

Broadway.gifThe Hollywood Reporter informs us that getting your brand name under the bright lights of Broadway may be a slower process than one would think.

LegallyBlondBroadway.gifHowever, Citi is happily plastering its brand name all over "How The Grinch Stole Christmas," and brands like Jet Blue, Red Bull, UPS, Sprint and so forth are placed onstage or mentioned in the dialogue of "Legally Blonde." Fidelity is getting behind "Young Frankenstein" and "The Fantasticks," and Sprint is supporting "Chicago" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

More and more small businesses are looking for ways to get their brand names on stage, although as Entrepreneur pointed out you don't try to get a dry cleaning brand name into a traditional Hamlet production.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:44 AM

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December 10, 2007

No Cat in the Hat for Web 2.0 Names

CatInTheHat.gifThere was time when Web 2.0 names were new and different. Today some of them are just strange.

The New York Times published an article on this topic with some great examples of silly Web 2.0 names. Here are just a few of them: Doostang, Wufoo, Bliin, Thoof, Meebo, Kudit, Raketu, Fark, Oyogi. It's hard to believe that one could remember any of these names.

In fact, more and more Web 2.0 names start to sound like Dr. Suess characters. And according to The Gelflog, the Gelf Magazine's blog, most of the actual Dr. Seuss names have been already turned into domain names.

Posted by William Lozito at 9:31 AM

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December 7, 2007

Dim Name for a Bright Idea

Dimdim.gifThere are times when a name can fit all your criteria and still be the wrong name for the product or service. Dimdim, a free web meeting tool aiming to compete with the likes of LiveMeeting, WebEx and GoToMeeting, is a prime example. According to founder D. D. Ganguly:

    We sat down with 18,000 domain names and promised ourselves that we would not leave without naming our company. We set 5 simple rules:
  • The dotcom domain name must be available
  • The name must have high recall
  • The name must be international
  • The sound of the name must translate without ambiguity to its spelling
  • The spelling must translate to unambiguously to its pronunciation

  • Five hours later we named the company Dimdim.

Eighteen thousand domain names and they picked Dimdim? Sure, it meets all their criteria: it's phonetic and the sounds are common to most languages. It may outdo the Wii in that department.

Like "Wii," "Dimdim" is a name that's just asking to be made fun of. And the Wii, at least, is for gamers. Dimdim is a business service. "Wii" also has Nintendo's marketing budget behind it.

Of course, lots of Web 2.0 products have silly names, and that doesn't stop them from succeeding. But "Flickr," "Twitter," and "Jaiku" all have names that relate to what their service does. Even ooVoo, which scores very high on the silliness scale, looks like "you view."

I can hear the slogans now: "Dim meetings for dim people."

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Posted by Diane Prange at 8:57 AM

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December 6, 2007

Brand Name Evaluation - The Importance of Context

As naming professionals, we are always surprised with associations that people make with the name candidates we present.

I feel it tells us as much about the person and their view of the world as it does their opinion on the name candidate.

One very common response we hear is "That name reminds me of x."

AmericanEagles1.gifOur response is "You really have to evaluate the name candidates in context." Take the name American Eagle, for example.

  • American Eagle is the regional carrier for American Airlines.
  • American Eagle is also a retail clothing chain that is located in many shopping malls.

So, if our assignment were to name a clothing chain and we recommended American Eagle, it's very typical for client to say "It reminds me of an airline" and dismiss it for that reason.

Fusions1.gifWe say, "Wait a minute." How about the Ford Fusion and the Gillette Fusion razor and the V8 Fusion juice?

As you can see, the same name can co-exist in multiple categories and not be confusing since all of these brand names are presented in context.

When I go to a store to buy Gillette Fusion razors, I don't think automobiles or juice.

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Posted by William Lozito at 1:51 PM

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December 5, 2007

Dennis Quaid’s Lawsuit Shines Spotlight on Pharmaceutical Naming and Branding Practices

Prescription drug packagingDennis Quaid’s upcoming lawsuit against a drug maker will bring a great deal of public focus on the kind of unclear packaging and labeling on pharmaceuticals that led to his newborn twins being administered an overdose of a blood thinner in a hospital. Two very different dosages were packaged in similar vials with blue backgrounds, leading to the near death of his children recently and the death of three children in Indianapolis hospitals last year.

Product naming and branding has a double duty when it comes to pharmaceuticals: not only do the names and packaging have to help sell the brand, but they also have to be clear enough to prevent confusion on the hospital floor. Over ten years ago the New England Journal of Medicine printed an article expressing concern over the similarities in the brand naming of Lanoxin and Levoxine. Other forums discuss the death of an eight year old who was given methadone instead of methylphenidate while a nineteen year old man showed "potentially fatal complications" after being given clozapine instead of olanzapine, two drugs used to treat schizophrenia...and the list goes on and on.

Pharmaceutical naming has many layers where mistakes can be made, not least at the testing level where most names are reduced simply to numbers. The problems expand when one considers how many prescriptions are written by doctors with bad handwriting, causing errors in differentiating brand names like "Lamisil and Lamictal, Cerebyx and Celebrex, Zyrtec and Zantac," and leading to 52 deaths in the five years between 1993-1998.

I have written before about the growing awareness of consumers about pharmaceutical brand naming and its safety implications. Dennis Quaid’s high profile case, it seems to me, is likely to bring more pressure to bear on drug makers to think extremely carefully about their product naming, and bring home to naming consultants the importance of each drug project they take on.

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Posted by William Lozito at 7:57 PM

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December 4, 2007

Brand Naming Can Tattoo You

Chanel_Tattoo.gifI've said it before and I'll say it again: If you want a sure way to get your brand naming under people's skin, think tattoos.

As the latest trend, companies are not only incorporating tattoo art into their brand names, but also creating brands that are designed to appeal to people with tattoos.

  • The convenience store chain 7-Eleven has a new energy drink called "Inked," which is "aimed at people who either have tattoos or those who want to think of themselves as the tattoo type."
  • Dunlop has offered free tires for years to anyone who will get their "Flying D" tattooed to their body.
  • General Mills is selling fruit roll-ups that allow kids to create "temporary tongue tattoos."
  • Christian Dior, Tag Heur, Aussiebum, Bling, Benefit Cosmetics are all looking into creating "tattoo logos" in India, because tattoos are a big part of Indian culture.
  • CAPTAIN-MORGAN-TATTOO.gifCaptain Morgan's new rum is called "Tattoo."

As you can imagine, people of all ages and nationalities wear tattoos, which means that you almost cannot lose by incorporating tattoo advertising into your brand.

What's next?

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:47 AM

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December 3, 2007

Generic Domain Names Can Be Good for Your Brand

It's true, at least according to domain name expert Jonathan Boswell of in his interview with Bill Sweetman in Marketing Martini Episode 33.

Of course, your brand name is important, but you don't just want to own the (and .biz, and .net, and .whatever) -- you want to own the words associated with your brand. Those, according to Boswell, are your real "domain assets," especially when dealing with prospective customers who don't know the leading brands in your industry by name:

    There's been a fundamental misunderstanding in advertising in the corporate world, in that they don't want to touch generics. They're not interested in them. What they fail to realize is that a lot of consumers interface with generics. If I'm looking for a copy machine, I want to see what's out there. I want to see what's on the Internet. I'm typing in "copy machine" because I may not know specific brands.

Barnes_&_Noble_logo.gifWhat you want to do for maximum exposure of your brand is to follow the example of Barnes & Noble as mentioned in our post on Findability vs. Brand Dilution: buy the generic domain name and redirect it to your branded website. You get to the same page whether you type "," "," or "" That way people begin to associate your brand name with the generic term for your products or services.

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Posted by Diane Prange at 10:05 AM

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