October 18, 2011
It takes a great deal of creativity, linguistics and critical thinking to develop a brand name that hits all the marketing touchpoints, but also resonates with the target market.
This is the challenge that we put forth to the collegiate youth of America with our $2,500 America's Next Top Namer Scholarship for 2011.
This year's applicants were asked to develop a new brand name for an electric vehicle that could be driven continuously by recharging itself via wind energy generated by the car's own propulsion.
While we received many worthy submissions from all four corners of the United States, one applicant's balance of imagination and strategic design stood out with four simple letters...
Mēno, created by Kaylie Foster of the University of Arizona, was derived from the Greek root μένω (transliterated as menō), meaning to continue to be; to last or endure.
Its pronunciation, mee-noh, also evokes an image of something small and speedy by incorporating high-vowel tones.
And in like Romance languages, Spanish and Italian, meno also translates as 'less' or 'fewer,' as in using fewer fossil fuels.
Whether or not this technology ever materializes, we'd liked to congratulate Kaylie on her outstanding display of the tools required to be America's Next Top Namer.
September 21, 2011
It's interesting to note that Hyatt Hotels now has a new brand name called Hyatt House.
This new extended-stay offering renames and revamps their Summerfield Suites and Hotel Sierra acquisitions.
One look at the living spaces that the Hyatt House offers and we see why the name is relevant: we're talking about executive apartment living.
There is a great room, lobbies, areas for socializing, kitchen islands and breakfast bars. Add to this free Wi-Fi as well as an amazing assortment of electronic gadgetry and you have a truly home away from home experience.
However, the really interesting thing to note here is that the Hyatt House name was actually used for Hyatt's first hotel in 1957.
While the name is being revived, the logo is fresh and a little bit irreverent with a modified H. The press release describes it by saying, "The new logo, an iconic double lowercase/uppercase "H" with a curved square flag in a bold blue hue, was chosen as distinctive in the category but connected to the overall Hyatt brand."
The biggest question might be why that word "house" has not been used before in extended stay hotel brand naming when research shows that travelers want an experience that really does feel close to home. The kitchen, for instance, is the centerpiece of many of the living spaces and there are what they call "residents-like touches" that pepper the bedrooms.
Extended-stay offerings are now the most profitable of the Hyatt portfolio. The shedding of the Summerfield and Sierra brand names is to be expected because the Hyatt Masterbrand is just so strong: Hyatt is now the 14th largest US extended-stay chain with 54 properties, with Marriott is number one with 597 Residence Inn properties.
This gives Hyatt intriguing brand space. The word "home" is far more welcoming and intimate then the word "residence" and its alliterative pairing with Hyatt makes it more approachable as well as memorable. And as Hyatt states, "The name Hyatt House was selected as an identifier that signals a residential, welcoming, personal and hospitable experience."
It's clear that this is literally meant to be your home away from home, and that's what travelers want. A residence is simply just not enough anymore.
September 6, 2011
Here is a fact I bet you did not know - Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) produces about 70% of the world's cinnamon and has 85% of the world's market share. Think about that next time you shake some on a latte!
Now, the Sri Lanka Export Development Board is branding their cinnamon as "Pure Ceylon Cinnamon" to get the fragrant product the kind of cache that Pure Ceylon Tea has.
Said one executive recently, "Branding of Pure Ceylon Cinnamon and promoting it as a global brand in target markets is very important to highlight the main characteristics of Ceylon Cinnamon and differentiate Cinnamon from Cassia to gain the competitive advantage.
Accordingly, Ceylon Cinnamon will be introduced to the international market as a branded product which reflects a combination of several intrinsic characteristics."
Sri Lanka sold $85 million worth of cinnamon to the world last year and has since seen a whopping 32% growth in the industry.
The biggest problem the cinnamon industry faces in meeting this ever increasing demand is a shortage of skilled peelers. Because of this peeler shortage, they are trying to capitalize on the equity of the Ceylon name. In other words, brand name equity will make up for more production.
Should more peelers be attracted to the industry thanks to the value of the brand name (and the attendant high wages) the country could double its production without planting a single new tree. The Sri Lanka Export Development Board thinks it can increase export earnings from products and services to $15 billion annually through careful management of the brand and the production of more product.
But cinnamon peeling is an art that has been handed down for generations in Sri Lanka. The country produces 16,000 tons of cinnamon annually, while providing the livelihood for 260,000 families.
And the biggest buyer? Mexico, who claimed 49% of it in 2010.
The Sri Lanka Export Development Board planned two Pure Ceylon Cinnamon brand promotion events in the USA and Germany in 2011. The first one was at the International Food Technology Fair in New Orleans last month, the next will be in October during the ANUGA Trade Fair in Germany.
I think that this is an interesting move. The name "Ceylon" is already understood in the US and connotes exoticism. Also, this brand name initiative might help employ thousands more people and bring an ancient art to a new generation in this tiny island nation.
September 1, 2011
In November of 2006, Nintendo released the newest of its five video gaming consoles to somewhat mix reviews. Originally rumored to be named the Revolution, many consumers we disappointed to hear it announced as the Nintendo Wii.
The name, in fact, inspired a surge of Wii Wii jokes online. However, Nintendo supported their product naming decision explaining that:
"Wii sounds like 'we,' which emphasizes this console is for everyone. Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. No confusion. Wii has a distinctive "ii" spelling that symbolizes both the unique controllers and the image of people gathering to play."
As of last month, the Wii is leading both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 in sales worldwide and "in December 2009 broke the record for best-selling console in a single month in the United States."
The point is that when you're offering innovation, it may be a little uncomfortable to introduce it with an innovative product name, even though that is more often than not the most beneficial thing to do.
Another very well-known example is the Apple iPad.
Upon first being announced, the iPad was associated with parody monikers such as the iTampon. Interestingly, even before its release, MadTV aired a skit that linked the Apple iPod to feminine hygiene products, calling it, what else? The iPad.
Yet, similar to the Wii, Apple's iPad flourished despite early product naming reservations from consumers.
By combining a quality product with a distinct and possibly evening provocative new name, both Nintendo and Apple were able to gain prime ownership in the mind of consumers for their respective categories.
So don't be afraid to make a splash with a brand name for a new product.
If you have a truly innovative product, be bold. It may not always feel like love at first sight, but after a little wining and dining, there is a much better chance for a quality lovefest.
August 31, 2011
With the recent announcement of the 737 Max, Boeing is continuing an airplane product naming convention that moves it away from the alphanumeric nomenclature typically on display in the airline industry.
Back in the 1960's, airline passengers were riding around in 737-100 and 200 series jets, but with the 787 Dreamliner a few years ago, and now, the 737 MAX, we are seeing the use of more approachable product naming that reaches beyond B2B applications with names that are more relevant and engaging to passengers.
While the Dreamliner can be seen as metaphorical, the MAX is more direct with its benefits, by supporting the new product name with "MAX efficiency. MAX reliability. MAX passenger appeal."
The introduction of MAX also comes closely behind Airbus's debut of the A320neo, Boeing's main competition in this market.
Neo, from the Greek neos, actually means new, but Airbus has gone one step further by turning it into an acronym (New Engine Option), which may feel more comfortable for another aircraft family that is traditionally alphanumeric.
For sometime, its been clear that riding in a jet thousands of feet off the ground is more than just a means of transportation, its an experience. Perhaps the aircraft product naming is finally catching up to that notion.October 2011 (1) September 2011 (3) August 2011 (2) April 2011 (2) March 2011 (1) October 2010 (1) September 2010 (1) August 2010 (1) May 2010 (1) April 2010 (1) February 2010 (2) December 2009 (3) November 2009 (5) October 2009 (14) September 2009 (4) August 2009 (10) July 2009 (12) June 2009 (12) May 2009 (13) April 2009 (15) March 2009 (15) February 2009 (9) January 2009 (6) December 2008 (4) November 2008 (9) October 2008 (15) September 2008 (9) August 2008 (9) July 2008 (4) June 2008 (10) May 2008 (15) January 2008 (4) November 2007 (1) September 2007 (12) August 2007 (11)