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January 26, 2012

Jeep Opens Cherokee Naming and Branding to the Crowd

JeepCherokee2012.pngThe news that Chrysler will name its new Grand Cherokee concept through an online contest has me thinking once again about the use of crowdsourcing for naming and branding.

This nifty new "stealth" version of the Cherokee looks pretty modern and people interested in naming it can go to Jeep.com/namemyride to submit a name.

This will, I should note, be the name of a limited edition model. Jeep has had other limited edition versions, like the Wrangler Call of Duty, the Wrangler Arctic, Islander and the Liberty Arctic.

Jeep seems "fascinated" by special edition packages, possibly because they lend a sense of individuality to each car and also keep the Jeep brand fresh in the consumer's mind.

This marketing move is not really about the name. It's about the excitement created for the Cherokee brand.

Mountain Dew, Pepsi and Doritos have all learned that they can reinvent their image with the help of consumers.

But to those who think that all brand names can be crowdsourced, I have one word:

iPad.

And another word:

Wii.

ipadwii.pngThese are two of the more successful brand names of the last ten years, and I guarantee that you would not get them from a crowd. Both names were laughed at when they were introduced, and both have endured.

The crowd, you see, does not work with the brand everyday. They do not know brand strategy or consumer insights, or that pesky trademark minefield. They want to create names that look cool and get little uphill from fellow Tweeters and Facebookers. Names that win contests.

Nobody hoping to win a contest would dream up a name like "Wii." It's too out there, too different. Yet it's a successful brand name.

To open your brand to the crowd is to open it to thousands of people who will only take about five minutes to brainstorm a name.

You generate buzz and excitement around the new product, yes, but you almost certainly will not get a successful name like iPad and Wii.

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Posted by William Lozito at January 26, 2012 8:00 AM
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