Naming: April 2011 Archives

icloud-logo.gifYesterday the rumor spread across the Internet that Apple had bought the iCloud.com domain name from Swedish company Xcerion for $4.5 million, something that TechCrunch previously reported as "certainly a possibility."

It was at least clear that iCloud had changed their name to CloudMe, but their reasons were nebulous to say the least. In fact, they told TechCrunch that the name change was "to better reflect our new focus on files and storage."

However, everyone assumed that if Apple wanted to get into cloud computing (a term that I have examined at some length), they would want the iCloud brand name.

Om Malik was the one who started the rumor mill churning on The Apple Blog, in an April 27 post that said he had a tip-off indicating that Apple had the name so they could change it from a storage-as-a-cloud service to a music service. This morning the rumors were confirmed on AppleInsider, although the $4.5 million purchase price remains "uncomfirmed."

I wouldn't be surprised if iCloud became an expanded, free version of the MobileMe offering for Apple users. It is not the most original brand name, but for Apple, it certainly is the most logical.

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Strategic Name Development Offers $2,500 Scholarship

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Students.jpgStrategic Name Development is proud to announce we are once again offering a $2,500 naming scholarship for undergraduate college students majoring in Linguistics, English, Marketing or Mass Communications.

This unique scholarship was designed to provide those students interested in naming and branding with a rewarding opportunity to display their creative work.

Students interested are asked to develop five (5) new name candidates for an electric car innovation and write a 1,000 word essay supporting each of the name submissions.

We will award the student that submits the most creative and appropriate names a $2,500 scholarship for the fall 2011 semester.

We encourage any interested students to submit their essay by midnight EDT on August 15th, 2011.

More details can be found here.

We are excited to review the great name candidate submissions!

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The world of condom product naming and branding is highly competitive, as two developing news pieces point out. The battle between Meyer Laboratories (who owns the ultra-thin Kimono brand) and Church & Dwight (who owns Trojan) has escalated over the latter's use of "planograms."

Trojan has used these plans to entice retailers to promote Trojan condom displays over other brands in exchange for kickbacks on condom sales.

condom-shelves.jpgNot surprisingly, this has evolved into a legal issue, with Meyer labs arguing that this practice is anti-competitive (Trojan has grown from 64% of the market in 2001 to 75% in 2008). Meanwhile, Trojan's main competitor, Lifestyles, has deflated from 13% to 7.7% over the same period.

The lesson here, of course, is if customers can't see your brand name, they won't buy it. In an effort to fight back, Meyer filed 12 counter-claims against Trojan in 2009, "including violations of the Sherman Act, California professional and business codes, violations of California laws on exclusive dealing and secret rebates, tortious interference, unfair competition and trademark violations."

Meanwhile, Durex has plans for a new condom from Futura Medical that actually has a vascodilator (think Viagra) coating to help men who deflate while putting on condoms.

CSD500 is the current product name, but medGadget "imagine[s] that Durex, the manufacturing and distributing partner, will have a spicier nom de guerre when it goes on sale."

The magic ingredient is called Zanifil and is already being called "Viagra for condoms." Scheduled to be available in Europe with a new name by the end of the year, many believe that this will help "normalize" condoms and further promote safe sex.

Although, I doubt it will need its own display, since innovative products like this usually tend to sell themselves until the competitors create a copycat.

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MichaelJordanOneSixtyBlue.pngYahoo! has an article regarding the top ten athlete-owned restaurants, noting that "the reality is that while a ballplayer's endorsement might bring you in the door, many of these restaurants don't have winning dishes." 

This is an interesting article, but what caught my eye was the comment at the end that says that many athlete-owned restaurants do not actually use the athlete's name. "Michael Jordan's first restaurant in Chicago, named after him, went belly-up. However, his second Windy City attempt, one sixtyblue, is buzzing. Go figure."

I think this may be because customers are better educated than ever before about the places they go to eat, and the leverage of a big name does not need to be blatant to be authentic. 

In fact, we might rather go to a restaurant that uses the athlete's name in a more low-key way.

Witness the rise of "celebrity-chef culture." Here, the person in the kitchen is drawing in the patrons.  The growth rate of this type of restaurant is phenomenal.

GordonRamsayRestaurant.pngThe UK sees celebrity chef naming (think Gordon Ramsay) as one of its biggest exports.

Also, look at the fact that celebrities who happen to own restaurants add an allure that is once removed from the restaurant itself.

I attribute this to Google and smartphones.  When people look for interesting places to eat, consumers are going to gravitate to places owned by celebs or chefs that have (an easily Googled) notoriety. 

The real sign for the restaurant is not over the door, it's in that phone that tells you at a glance who the popular owner or chef is. A glance at a smartphone shows you not only how many stars the joint has, but who owns it and who cooks the food.

Being able to leverage that is a meaningful advantage and obviously crucial.

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How Much Would Your Town Charge to Change Its Name?

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pom-movie-poster.gifThe small town of Altoona, PA will become "POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," but just for two months.

This odd and extremely lengthly renaming was inspired by Morgan Spurlock's new film of the same name, which is about (and funded by) product placement, hence the clever stunt.

And it only cost him a mere $25,000 to get the town of 50,000 people to change its name for 60 days, starting April 27. The money, according to Mayor William Schirf, will go to fund the police department.

The Sheetz convenience store, which is also based in Altoona, is one of the movie's major sponsors, offering up $100,000 for prime placement in the film.

Said Spurlock in a recent press release:

I can't think of a better way to celebrate the shifting tide of business in America than by purchasing the naming rights to Altoona. For the next 60 days, "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," Pennsylvania will be the most clever example of how an American city is marketing itself today.

Of course. renaming towns to make money is nothing new.

Back in 2005, I wrote about a deal from Colorado's EchoStar Communications Corporation that offered any town ten years of free satellite TV if it renamed itself DISH. The offer was taken up by Clarke, Texas.

Santa, Idaho changed its name to SecretSanta.com for a year for $20,000.

And last year Topeka, Kansas changed its name to "Google" for the month of March in order to attract ultra-fast broadband. The following April Fools' Day, Google changed its name to Topeka.

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NYSEDBGroup.pngNYSE Eronext and Deutsche Börse AG are still struggling with what to name the "6,500-employee, $5.4 billion-revenue trans-Atlantic combination."

According to the Wall Street Journal, a committee of marketers and legal specialists will be looking at over 1000 names that have been crowdsourced.

The new name will have to satisfy New Yorkers, New York politicians, and regulators on both sides of the Atlantic. With that, there has already been a big push to have the name start with "NY" or "New York."

While Europeans would own the majority share of the company, the German CEO of the combined company is under pressure to give it a German sounding name, although he has already joked that "Oktoberfest" and "The Bog Borse" are out.

Many feel a "neutral name that doesn't scream apple pie or lederhosen" would be the best route. Thus, Global Exchange Inc. was suggested (but is taken already by a human rights group).

Also favored are NYSE DB or NYSE Deutsche Börse. Others want "The Exchange" or even "Thunderbird," which has references for both Germany and the USA.

Earlier blogs on the subject suggested that the name NYSE might get the heave-ho but these new developments make me think that it will stay.

There is simply too much equity in the name. My first thought is that NYSE DB looks pretty good, not least because most people will just call it the NYSE.

On April Fools' Day, of course, a proposed merger between Nasdaq and the NYSE birthed the name NASDAQ NYSE Euronext Group Inc. Frankly, that name is just a mouthful.

Should the Nasdaq bid be successful, however, all bets are off and this new name - or one like it - may prevail.

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