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July 30, 2010

Could BP Naming and Branding Change Back to Amoco?

Could it be that BP may have a naming and branding issue?
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Of course it does, and their reaction might be to change their name to Amoco. But gas station owners seem to be divided.

Some owners feel that the BP brand has cleaned up its image by hiring an American to run the company. And, as the Associated Press reports, others "Believe a successful turnaround with the existing brand will have a bigger payoff."

BP, for its part, claims a name change in the U.S. is not soon coming, but there are obvious reasons why they might consider it, like the massive drop in sales the company has experienced in this country.

The Amoco name, which is owned by BP after its merger with the company in the late 90s, still has plenty of goodwill behind it, though it has not been around for some time.

One other caveat to this is the fact that BP, which stood for "British Petroleum" until its name change in 2001, seems to be doing damage to other British interests in America.
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Add to this the fact that many people think BP stands for "Beyond Petroleum", which is the company's tagline.

I'm not sure what the company should do, but I'm leaning toward BP keeping its name.

The biggest opportunity has, or an individual for that matter, is to turn a negative into a positive. I think BP has this opportunity with its brand name.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:59 AM

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July 29, 2010

New Pac-10 Naming and Branding Set to Make Waves

newpac10logo.pngThe big news for sports fans this week is the redesign of the Pacific 10 Conference (Pac-10) logo, which I must say looks pretty good.

The logo was launched with appropriate fanfare in New York City on Tuesday by being projected on a raining wall of mist in the Whiskey Blue, a popular midtown Manhattan bar in the W Hotel.

Foregrounded in the logo is a mountain and a wave which, according to the press release, "symbolizes not only the Pac-10's geographic footprint but also its strength. Mountains can't be moved, except maybe by waves."

This looks pretty good and breathes new life into a very tired logo.

Of course, the logo will soon change when Colorado and Utah join the conference, making the Pac-10 the Pac-12.

This logo revamp and impending name change is part of an massive marketing campaign to bring the Pac-10 into the headspace of East Coast viewers, or, as one marketing professor put it, "It's a matter of being aggressive, or the alternative, being complacent."

Jon Wilner argues that the name change illustrates how little equity the Pac-10 name has. He feels that if it did have value, it would stay with the Pac-10 even if there were two new members in the conference a la the Big 10, which actually has 11 members.

Okay, point taken, but the new logo is still an improvement.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:43 AM

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July 28, 2010

HTC Brand Naming Launches in China, Steps Ahead of Apple, Blackberry

htcchina.pngI have written before about the rise of the HTC brand name, and was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune about the HTC Droid Incredible earlier this year.

The brand name continues to grow stronger this summer, in fact, according to PRLog, it's "growing like wildfire," a play on the name for its new phone, the 'Wildfire.'

This new phone comes on the back of a whopping 58% jump in revenue this year.

Now, the company will be selling HTC branded smartphones in China, making a departure from the 'Dopod,' the name that HTC smartphones had heretofore been sold under. (Dopod? Really?)

They will be seling the Wildfire and Desire beside the Tianxi and Tianyi, two other smartphones available in the world's most populous country, which must be a concern for Apple and other rivals who increasingly see China as a "must have" market.

HTC feels that 8% of the customer base is already aware of the name.

Apple still has yet to launch the iPhone 4 in China and Blackberry has a pretty shaky presence in the country, leaving an open space for HTC, the Taiwanese manufacturer to flourish.

I am amazed at the rapidity in which HTC has caught many of its better entrenched rivals. At the start of this year, I would doubt few of us knew who they were, now that's changed. For good.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:01 AM

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July 27, 2010

Bratz Naming and Branding to Stay with MGA

How much is a name worth?
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Well, if you created the Bratz dolls, which are making a retail comeback, you might say that it could be anywhere from $50 million to $1 billion.

This stems from a long legal battle between toymakers, Mattel, and MGA Entertainment.

Back in 2009 a federal judge allowed a $100 million verdict that gave Mattel ownership of the Bratz brand after it came out that the creator of Bratz worked at Mattel when he pitched the concept to MGA.

But last week the Ninth Circuit Court handed down a ruling overturning that decision saying, "It is not equitable to transfer this billion-dollar brand, the value of which is overwhelmingly the result of MGA's legitimate efforts, because it may have started with two misappropriated names."

The names, of course, were "Jade" and "Bratz." You can read the entire (entertaining) opinion here.

MGA will "reboot" the brand name, offering dolls and accessories that are more flexible and come with less flimsy costumes, claiming that the brand has "100%" recognition among "tween" girls.

Techdirt has a great post up about this that examines the "difference between ideas and expression".

Eyes on IP says, "While playful in tone, Chief Judge Kozinski's opinion is worth serious consideration by anyone hit with a substantial damages award or injunction based on a sweeping claim of copyright infringement."

I think it is just as important to note that Mattel's claim also lay in its belief that the Bratz name itself belonged to them.

At the very least, this is a wonderful example of the power of a brand name.

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Posted by William Lozito at 11:38 AM

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July 26, 2010

Old Spice: Be the Brand You Want to Be

old-spice-The-Man-Your-Man-Could-Smell-Like.pngBy now, I'm sure many of you have seen Old Spice's The Man Your Man can Smell Like campaign, starring former NFL wideout Isaiah Mustafa.

Now, while it's impossible to measure the actual success of a viral video, this one is definitely making the rounds.

According to Advertising Age, Old Spice has seen a 106% increase in sales over a 4-week period that ended June 13.

Over that same time period Old Spice's market share improved by 4.8 points, while Gilette's only increased by 3.9 points. The numbers reflect the changes in sales and market share, since the Old Spice multimedia campaign debuted.

The Brand Aid Blog claims that Old Spice is not doing a good job of branding itself, however. There are 78 different types of products from Old Spice: 36 antiperspirants, 14 deodorants, 18 types of body wash, 5 body sprays, and 5 fragrances.

The author thinks that so much hype and line extensions are confusing to consumers. Especially long-time purchasers of Old Spice that may be turned off by the new "over-branding" efforts.

Although we cannot directly associate sales improvements with new ad campaigns, we can surmise that a viral video and some good brand buzz influenced Old Spice's men's body wash sales.

This is a great example of the power of social media.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:43 AM

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July 23, 2010

Microsoft's New Branding Initiative: Be What's Next

Earlier toeday, at the Microsoft Global Exchange Conference, Microsoft revealed their newest tagline: "Be what's next."
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The software giant is apparently moving toward a more youthful feel with its marketing campaigns, and this slogan may do just that.

It is an interruptive sentence. It catches your attention because it is a little jarring, and it just feels younger than where Microsoft is normally in the mind of the consumer.

The folks at Redmond must be getting tired of being a follower to the likes of Apple and Google, and this new slogan has the potential to change perceptions.

It was originally thought that there would be new logos to replace the familiar Windows, XBox, Office, etc ones as well, but it turns out that images presented simply show the flexibility of the joined brands.

If Microsoft can live up to this tagline, it will be interesting to see what actually is Next.

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Posted by William Lozito at 11:13 AM

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July 22, 2010

Jennifer Aniston's New Fragrance Name? Her Own

JenniferAnistonPerfume.jpgJennifer Aniston debuted her new fragrance this week at Harrods department store in London, and the name of the perfume should be very easy to remember, she named it after herself. Or you could say that her perfume has an eponymous name.

The fragrance, Jennifer Aniston, is "not perfume-y," because the former Friends star likes a more natural scent for women.

Originally, Aniston was planning to name her perfume Lolavie, which is a French word that translates to "Laughing at life."

However, that name was considered too close to the Marc Jacobs Lola perfume name. Apparently, the public might have thought that Lolavie was a line extension of the Marc Jacobs brand.

With a name as recognizable as hers, Aniston should have no trouble convincing perfume-buying consumers to fall in love with her fragrance.

This is a great example of brand equity: celebrities have it too. They do need agents, managers, assistants, shoppers, stunt doubles, and publicists to maintain their superior status in the eyes of the public, however.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:30 AM

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July 12, 2010

YMCA undergoes Name-ectomy™ to 'Y'

TheYLogo.pngThe Y.M.C.A., or as it is affectionately called by it's followers, 'The Y,' is undergoing a major rebranding in an effort to be 'warmer, more genuine and more welcoming.'

Founded 166 years ago in England as the Young Men's Christian Association, the Y.M.C.A. will now formally adopt the nickname everyone has used for generations.

The Y joins the ranks of several other iconic brands who have removed significant portions of their names in order to fit into a crowded marketspace. This is a transformation that goes beyond acronym, to a more congenial, personal shorthand. For example:

  • Federal Express - FedEx
  • TGI Fridays - Fridays
  • Radio Shack - The Shack
  • Pizza Hut - The Hut

There are several advantages to the Y name-ectomy, a term we coined and trademarked to explain this naming convention, that move beyond brevity. Consider that

  • Y is the only letter commonly used as both a vowel and a consonant in the English language, so it's versatile
  • Y is the symbol for the male sex chromosome, so it's relevant to the target market
  • Y is a homonym for the interrogative, 'why' which provides an almost unlimited messaging platform:
  1. "Y not?"
  2. "Y wait?"
  3. "Y don't you?"
  4. "That's Y"
  • Y is also orthographically engaging. Victor Hugo described the letter Y as,
  1. A tree
  2. A fork in the road
  3. Two rivers that flow together
  4. The stem of a glass
  5. A lily on it's stalk
  6. A man who prays to God raises his hands in the shape of a Y
Yet the use of a singular English letter as a name has a downside. The shorter the name, the broader the the use. Along with the 150 already existing Federal trademarks for Y, the new Y will need to compete for attention with Yale University's 'Y', YAHOO!'s 'Y!' and Yellow-Cab's 'Y.'

Of course the YMCA's Y has the singular advantage of being coined by the target market - and that's Y it will endure.

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Posted by William Lozito at 11:01 AM

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July 8, 2010

Kia Drives Forward to Alphanumeric Naming and Branding

Kia Motors has traditionally had boring and unimaginative names. Take, for instance, the Sorento, Sedona, Sportage, and Rondo. Those sound more like names of a World Cup starting lineup, than car model names.
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Now, Kia is switching to naming their cars alphanumerically. It's most likely an attempt to emulate foreign luxury car manufacturers, like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes who already use an alphanumeric nomenclature for their car models.

I have blogged about this topic before, and it makes sense to switch to alphanumeric names as Kia is doing. Those names are easier to get trademarks for, It makes the car sound more European.

Some car names have an elegant sound to them like the Escalade or the Navigator, and some names are just known to be good, like the BMW Z3. Kia is hoping to build brand strength in the United States around their newly renamed car models.

But, in my opinion, Kia is moving from boring and unimaginative names to very boring and very unimaginative alphanumeric nomenclature.

It will be interesting to see how this branding approach plays out.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:21 AM

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July 6, 2010

Do Firework Displays Have Names?

Did you see any flowers, fish, or trees in the sky over the 4th of July?

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Any of us who watched the fireworks this past weekend probably did.

  • There's the peony flower, or better known chrystanthemum.
  • Or did you see the willow tree, palm tree, or falling leaves?
  • Or the fish swimming among the stars?

To see all nine fireworks names and their related image, go to CNN's to see the slideshow.

Posted by William Lozito at 10:04 AM

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July 1, 2010

Happy Fourth of July from Strategic Name Development

This is a weekend to relax, do some grilling and watch fireworks with with your family and friends. we hope everyone has a chance to sit by a lake or a pool, and if you're lucky, leave work early tomorrow.

When you're enjoying yourself this long weekend, take some time to reflect on what the holiday stands for, and what makes this country great.
america.jpgWe are celebrating our independence from a tyrannical king, and raising a flag for democracy and freedom. Even in a tough economy, we, as Americans can still find joy in our autonomy.

Revel in the holiday weekend of picnics, hot dogs, parades, and fireworks, but always remember and cherish the reason behind America's Independence Day.

So Happy Fourth of July from Strategic Name Development!


Posted by William Lozito at 8:10 AM

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