Brand Name Research: March 2006 Archives

Links Du Jour

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  • - This may be the dullest product name and brand proposition for an airline in the history of flight. No wonder it is being grounded. There may be a place for irreverent product names that reference women's anatomy. Airline travel is not one of them.
  • - Dennis Forbes has a great piece on building the perfect domain name. This is a crucial element of many companies' product naming strategies. Take a look!
  • - Interesting thoughts from a person in the business. I'm not sure it will affect our brand name research, but maybe this is one of those blogs that make you go hmmmmm.
  • - Guy Kawasaki has some interesting tips on how to compete by simply pursuing excellence over competitive advantage.
  • - Interesting take on how to creatively build the perfect brand... and career.

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SearsThe doomed acquisition of Kmart by Sears has in a merger without a store brand name one year later.

It seems incredible to me that two iconic names in American retail simply cannot perform sufficient brand name research to survive heavy competition from Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and the rest. Sure, one new hybrid brand limped into focus shortly after the takeover, called Sears Essentials, but it quickly disappeared into the equally disappointing and old fashioned Sears Grand name.

The term "Essentials" is simply overused in the brand naming business, used to describe everything from to to . And Sears Grand? Meaningless. Still, Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a 120-year-old brand name steeped in tradition.

Can it be true with all their history they can't come up with a decent name for themselves? They've got to get it right or face being wiped off the big box map.

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Brand Naming: Megamalls Rebranded as Gigamalls

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NameI read about a buzzword of the future that represents some interesting product naming opportunities: Gigamalls.

According to a recent article in Gigamalls are going to be family-friendly themed "hypermarkets" with a truly international flair. Shoppers will glide between floors using automatic, ramped "travelators" that are magnetized to keep metal shopping baskets in place. These are already being designed in Arabian countries, where the mall has been brought to a virtual art form.

The gigamall will be chiefly characterized by its great size and numerous floors, a departure overseas where mall dwellers prefer one to two floors for their shopping. Some serious brand name research will have to be done to find names that link the concept of the mall with the concept of the sky or the feeling of height.

I think one thing is for certain, though. Mall developers might consider talking to a brand naming company, because I can't see kids of the future saying they're going to go hang out at the "gigamall" or shootin' the breeze at the "gig". Maybe Google should get in on the naming trend and build its own "Gmall" to complement its .

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Brand Naming: Operation Swarm or Swarmer?

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Operation SwarmerOperation Swarmer is the name given by the U.S. Military to its new Iraqi initiative, the largest air and ground combat operation since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Let me be clear, I’m not questioning the intended meaning of this brand name (yes, this is a brand name) but, I do question its grammatical legitimacy.

Drawing a metaphor from the agitated movements of a swarm of bees, the concept of swarm may be appropriate. However, the use of swarmer is not. According to the , a swarmer is

1. One of a number that swarm

2. A flagellated motile cell produced by the stalked cell of certain species of stalked bacteria

3. One beehive adapted for swarming from which a swarm is sent forth

Since there are more than 1500 troops involved in this operation, the first definition cannot apply. And, because we are talking about soldiers and not biological weapons, the second definition is also out.

The third definition only fits if all the troops are coming from one concentrated location and heading in a concentrated manner to another as a single entity. While this might have been semantically appropriate for the original Operation Swarmer (a series of airborne maneuvers in 1950 in North Carolina after which a swarm was deployed to Korea to provide airborne capability to General Douglas Macarthur) it is not the case in Iraq, where troops are coming from all over Iraq by air and by land to swarm in on one northern operating area.

Eats, Shoots & LeavesI have no way of knowing who in the U.S. military developed the brand name Swarmer, but some brand name research may have been in order. I have a feeling it wasn’t Dick Cheney. Dick, as you know, is more practiced in the fine art of English. After all, he .

For more information, Bill Roggio's The Fourth Rail blog has a detailed account of and this blog post has some commentary about the Operation as well.

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Product Naming: The Starbucks Rwanda Blue Bourbon

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Starbucks Rwanda Blue BourbonStarbucks Has a New, Blue Coffee That Makes You Drunk...Or Not...

I noticed that Starbucks has a new addition to its Black Apron Exclusives line of high-end coffees: The , and it is neither blue nor does it taste like bourbon. In terms of the product name origin, the “blue” refers to the color of the coffee cherries while the bourbon is the name of the species of Arabica beans.

I think Starbucks may have conducted brand name research on this name. In fact, the Bourbon name is from the same source as the bourbon drink, a variety of coffee invented and grown by the French and for decades on the Island of Reunion. The name is seductive and exotic, enticing for those of us who adore coffee in all its forms. The product naming, however, will have at least a few consumers thinking that Africans have found a new, blue cup o’ joe.

Starbucks Rwanda Blue BourbonThe Starbucks product line has been very popular, a godsend for the real coffee lover who wants a cup of real Kona, for instance, or some good Ethiopian. I can safely assume the Black Apron name comes from the distinctive black aprons worn by Starbucks employees. I understand the Black Apron line of coffees is part of Starbucks’ attempt to become a more socially responsible company: $15,000 is being donated to participating communities to build public facilities.

seems to think that based on the strength of the product name alone, this coffee will be a favorite.

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