In business, you cannot underestimate the value of a good name…one that triggers the right idea and emotion. Marketing savvy companies like P&G know this and spend tons annually on naming, testing, and renaming products to attract consumers and build brands. So then why do so many otherwise intelligent smaller business owners often have such a frivolous attitude when it comes to naming?
Case in point. Recently, a potential client asked me my opinion of the new company name he was considering. The name made no sense and sounded as if it could’ve come from a 10-year old kid. I inquired about the name’s genesis.
“My 10-year old kid came up with it” explained the excited client. “I kinda like it,” he added.
Another case involved a European manufacturer who asked me the same thing about his product name: MiaManna. Any guesses what MiaManna is? Something Italian or Spanish? Pizza or some type of bread maybe? MiaManna is a crispy, snacky German fruit-chip product much like potato chips, but healthier. It’s a great product that deserves a better name than MiaManna. When I suggested that he rethink the name it was as if I’d just insulted his wife. I never heard from him again.
One of the more catchy names I’ve heard recently is “Guzzle”. Great name, right? Well, that depends on what you’re guzzling. Instead of a sports drink, soda, or beer targeted to frat boys, Guzzle is ketchup. That’s right, ketchup. Obviously, this cocky entrepreneur thinks his ketchup is good enough to … um, guzzle. Sure it’s important to have a memorable name and trigger an emotion with consumers, but it has to be the right emotion. I don’t care if Guzzle is the best friggin’ ketchup in the universe, the image of guzzling ketchup is not a good one.
So, here’s the irony. It’s the irony of a client who justifiably demands a grounded, strategic explanation for even the smallest creative decision and yet, left to his own devices, will make a huge branding decision based on personal whimsy or the musings of a child. If a company is truly interested in effective branding they’d serve themselves well by getting professional help and listening to it.