Automotive: September 2007 Archives

Company Naming Changes in India

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If China is the world's factory, then India is the world's back room.

But both countries are developing their own brands. Companies in both India and China are gaining in prominence and stature and someday, in the not too distant future, China will be the world's second largest economy, closely followed by India, or the other way around.

In India, there's Tata Steel, who might be buying Ford Motor Co.'s Jaguar and Land Rover units for auto parts, and the famous high tech companies such as Infosys and Wipro Technologies.

As a demonstration of India's evolving economy, more and more companies are implementing company naming changes.

busstandard.gifArati Menon Carroll has written a very interesting article on the subject in a recent edition of the Business Standard, India's leading newspaper.

Our proprietary Company Naming Changes research reveal that there are 1,409 company naming changes in the US in 2006. Again, this phenomenon is becoming more common in India as its economy continues to develop.

I had the privilege of being interviewed for the Business Standard article.

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Reventon Brand Name a Blowout

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lamborghini-logo.gif Lamborghini has just introduced a $1.6 million car, and named it after a bull.

While bulls are symbols of power, speed, and virility, and the bull Reventón was particularly aggressive, the name Reventón doesn't have anywhere near enough sex appeal to match the car itself.

Reventón is Spanish for burst, which is fine if you think of a burst of power, but the word is also used to mean a blowout, as in a flat tire. It also means outburst, as in an emotional display.

Those connotations would have been lost on non-Spanish-speaking auto-fanciers before the Internet.

Now bloggers have the power to spread naming gaffes around the world in mere minutes, and the Reventón is likely to go down in history as second only to the Nova in awkward auto naming experiments. And, indeed, if you have a reventón, your car will no va.

reventon.gif Even without that problem, however, the name just sounds too clumsy. It doesn't have the smooth, rolling power of, say, Lamborghini. Even removing the n from the end of the word would give it a better sound, though for a car like this, a one-syllable name that whips past you at high speed might be more appropriate.

Too often, we buy products that don't live up to their names. In Lamborghini's case, the name doesn't live up to the product.

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target.gif Yesterday The New York Times published an excellent article by Eric Wilson entitled The Big Brand Theory, that talked about the new alliances between high-end fashion names and major retailers like Target and Gap.

  • Lutz & Patmos very recently teamed up with Japanese giant Uniqlo
  • The same boutique fashion brand name has also teamed with car giant Volkswagen to create a line of accessories for the new Eos
  • Isaac Mizrahi has lent his name to Target in a line of cheap and very fashionable clothes that are designed to make middle America more fashionable
  • More collaborations are to come with Gap teaming up with fashion trio Thaoon, Rodarte and Doo to bring a hint of elegance to its everyman clothing line

kohls.gif In August, Vera Wang announced she will create an exclusive brand for Kohl's called Simply Vera, Vera Wang by Vera Wang. The line will include sportswear, intimate apparel, handbags, leather accessories, jewelry, footwear, linens and towels.

I think this is the way forward for high-end fashion brand names, not least because nowadays knock-offs of runway styles are getting into low-end stores faster than the originals thanks to Internet technology and a new, very savvy breed of fashion entrepreneur.

Carefully matching big names with boutique names is the way, I think, to beat the copycats at their own game, and to lift the general quality of fashion in the malls.

It seems that up and coming brand names meld better with the big chain stores' needs than already well-established fashion names like Halston... although we might see Karl Lagerfeld join the trend as well.

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