the product naming blog

April 13, 2011

Apple Tops In Tech Naming and Branding? Not really.

MobilesBrands.pngI was fascinated to read that Apple might not be the top tech brand, according to the Harris Poll EquiTrend study.

Consumers picked Verizon as the top mobile carrier brand and Motorola was the top mobile phone brand. Yes, that's right, Motorola. Apple placed fifth behind HTC, SonyEricsson and Nokia.

I have to say this is surprising. As one Harris executive pointed out, "Apple may have the market cornered on technology enthusiasts, but Motorola satisfies a much wider audience... There is still a large audience of consumers that aren't interested in a smartphone running their life, and Apple doesn't have a product to meet that need."

Touche. Apple also didn't make the top ranking for personal computers - HP took that honor with Apple coming in as a close second. Sony was tops in consumer electronics, where Apple wasn't even ranked (odd).

According to the company's press release material:

This year's Harris Poll EquiTrend® study was conducted online among 25,099 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over between January 11 and 27, 2011. A total of 1,273 brands were rated in 53 separate categories. Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 60 randomly selected brands. Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings.

The results were deemed to be representative of the entire US population over the age of 15.

Does this mean that Apple is losing its touch? Doubtful.

The company still demands massive brand loyalty, but other brand names are snapping at its heels.

I find the research results questionable.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 3, 2011

Naming and Branding Can Make You Drive Recklessly

Two separate studies out now are pretty darn fascinating.

CrestJohnson.pngThe first is from Buyology and is entitled The Most Desired US Brands Report, which has found significant and startling differences between men and women when it comes to their favorite brands.

Women like Amazon, Sony and Target while men like car brands. No surprise there.

But guess what the all time favorite brand is for men... Crest toothpaste. This beat BMW!

Women, in turn, chose Johnson & Johnson as their favorite brand in spite of a year of repeated recalls and negative publicity.

I'd imagine this has a great deal to do with how ubiquitous these brand names
are in our lives.

The male love of car brands has also been good news to Ford, whose brand is now right near the top in consumer perception.

A separate survey shows that almost half of the respondents actually do not care about car brands at all. Can you guess which half of the population this is?

The second study is even more intriguing. Two Boston College professors have put out a report in the Journal of Consumer Psychology that has proven that Red Bull really does "give you wings."

RedBull.pngPeople playing a video game with the logos of Guinness, Tropicana, Coca-Cola and Red Bull adorning respective cars invariably drove the Red Bull car more recklessly.

The professors call this "non-conscious brand priming," which essentially means that we start to take on the personalities of the brands we interact with.

When we think of Red Bull, we tend to think of "speed... power... hyper... extreme," and drive accordingly.

Which leads to to say... please stay out of the automobile business, Red Bull!

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 27, 2010

Google, Apple Set to Defend Brand Names and Trademarks

Monday brings two pieces of trademark news that are burning across the blogoshere.

The first trademark issue has to do with UK based Internet channel YouView, which just might sound too much like YouTube for owner Google.

youview-youtube.pngBeachcroft LLP, a UK law firm, has already indicated that the name is "reckless" and that YouTube could "stop [YouView] in its tracks." They add, "'There's no doubt that the use of 'You' coupled with the unusual capitalised character in the middle of the word means that many consumers will think there's a connection between the two,' said [Robin Fry, Beachcroft intellectual property partner]. 'The BBC consortium are playing a dangerous game by trading on YouTube's brand.'"

The name, YouView, actually appears to be a mashup of YouTube and Freeview, which is a "brand that is currently synonymous with digital terrestrial television in the United Kingdom."

Google thus far has refused to comment, but the sheer size of the consortium behind the name (which includes the BBC) is enough to attract Google's attention, I am sure.

In other news, Apple is gearing up yet again to protect its ownership of the word "pod." This time the culprit is a San Francisco startup called Video Pod.

appleipod.pngBack in January 2009, Apple put forward the following statement to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO): "This is a straightforward case of an applicant who intentionally selected and applied for a mark confusingly similar to Apple's famous iPod mark in order to capitalise on the fame and goodwill of Apple's mark." The trial begins this week, and Apple is not backing down.

The startup has been fighting Apple for three years over this, with the owner of the mark saying to, "'I'm trying to look at it on the big picture...What I'm hoping to do with this case is to really reach a lot broader of an audience and make it so entrepreneurs and small businesses can use the English language as they see fit in branding their products.'"

It may be inconvenient that every word in the dictionary has been used in a URL and that so many of them have been trademarked, but this is the basis of trademark law. Naming a company or a product legally is simply a difficult task in a crowded market and one does not need to be a marketing expert to see that the word "pod" has serious equity for Apple.

Daniel Kokin, founder of the startup, says of the suit, "'My team started working on the Video Pod in 2000, and it took us years to go from prototype to funded...At that time, Apple didn't even enter our minds as a competitor. Now it's 2010 and I still don't think Apple is interested in video projection, but I'm supposed to rename our product because Apple also uses 'pod'?'"

Um, well, yes. That's how trademarks work.

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Posted by Diane Prange at 9:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 27, 2010

Strategic Name Development Offers $2,500 America's Next Top Namer Scholarship

library studying.jpgWe at Strategic Name Development have decided that its time to give something back to hardworking, creative college students.

With that idea, we have created the America's Next Top Namer Scholarship Program.

We are offering $2,500 to the undergraduate student that creates the best branded name for the Internet. Students are required to submit five name candidates with an accompanying essay supporting their names.

We will select the best name candidate, and award the applicant his or her scholarship in time for the Fall '10 semester.

We are looking forward to see what these students will come up with!

More details and an application can be found here.

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Posted by William Lozito at 1:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 23, 2010

Today We Remember The Biggest Naming and Branding Debacle of the Last 100 Years: New Coke

So it was 25 years ago today that the biggest naming and branding debacle ever took place. Ladies and gentlemen, lets spare a thought for the memory of New Coke, one of marketing's biggest blunders. It lasted for a whole 79 days, after which Coke's CEO Roberto Goizueta, acceded to consumer outrage and trashed the brand name and brought back the old stuff.
I have to wonder if this was the first true example of crowdsourcing, even if it was inadvertent.

"People went completely and utterly berserk" says one author, and "it didn't really matter if New Coke tasted better or not."

The archivist for Coke tells us "There were protests in the streets, people would flood our telephone lines. We got thousands and thousands of letters from consumers demanding that we bring back the original formula."

Coke did the research. Eight out of ten people liked New Coke better than Old Coke. They liked it better than Pepsi. But they didn't like the idea of the famous brand changing.

And when they gave us back the Real Thing, their market share went from 24% TO 39%, but to this day Coke denies that New Coke was some kind of ruse.

It was called "Project Kansas" in its beta stage and was an idea that came about after Pepsi's notorious Pepsi Challenge ads. The New Coke Catatastophe ended with an interview on the Today Show in which the head of Coca Cola North America, Donald Keough, told the world just how important the "intrinsic" versus "extrinsic" nature of marketing was:

"Intrinsics means I buy the product because I like the way it tastes. Extrinsics is: I buy the product because I like the image. It's fun. It's friendly. It's American. Used to be, we bought the product primarily because of taste."
cokeii.pngThe reverberations of this would hang around.

New Coke became Coke II and stayed with us until 2002. Then Coca Cola Classic became just Coca-Cola in 2007.

This means that this one naming decision would not leave our screen for 22 years, despite the product itself only being around for a couple of months.

Today Henry Unger asks us to find find other examples of huge corporate missteps.

Paul McNamara on Buzz Blog tells us that the Internet would have helped prevent this, leaks to the blogosphere and Facebook outrage would have stopped Coke in its tracks.

But other companies still manage to keep their secrets until the very last minute, like, say, Apple.

Here's to you, New Coke. You are a warning to all of us.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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