Sunday, December 31, 2006

Why Google didn't opt for the name Search Engine

"While there are all sorts of naming strategies… metaphors, acronyms, coined/ invented, key attributes, positive connotations, etc., the one common denominator that separates the mediocre from the memorable, is the degree to which the name engages the mind of the consumer. Most new business owners opt for company names that inform and describe, leaving nothing to the imagination. They often fail to realize that the context surrounding the name (the ad, the store sign, the proposal, the brochure copy, etc.) will define what they do, so the name can be free to describe how they do it. In other words, no customer will hear or see the name in a mental vacuum. Yet this is the way we often judge names when brainstorming." Well said, Phil. For more on Why Weird Words Make Great Brand Names go here.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Old Wisdom for Creating New B2B Brands

Kimon Lycos says it all in the 'No brain branding' piece in brand channel. A sampler: "No brain branding is a darn expensive practice, just because of the math; the equation of 1 + 1 = 2 says it all. The more you add, the more you create equaling the more you have to invest; the more brands, the more bucks. And often by the time someone says “whoa!” it’s too late. You have brands everywhere, nipping around your ankles and taking a nasty bite from your marketing budget."

Friday, December 29, 2006

How to churn shitty names

Tired of the bull shit, naming companies give you? Time you churned some outlandish shit. Dislexicon lets you do precisely that. Type in any word you want, dislexicon creates neologisms related to that word. Here's what came out when I keyed in shit:

New Word, Components, Definition
1: dushitable, du-shit-able, capable or worthy of double, two shit
2: shitcide, shit-cide, to cut down or kill shit
3: shitish, shit-ish, of, relating to, or being shit
4: hydroshitator, hydro-shit-ator, one that acts in the manner of water or liquid shit
5: parashit, para-shit, near or similar to shit
6: ooshitial, oo-shit-ial, of, relating to, or characterized by egg shit
7: shitite, shit-ite, native, resident or part of shit
8: unishit, uni-shit, one or a single shit
9: hiershit, hier-shit, sacred shit
10: archshitation, arch-shit-ation, process, state or action of highest or most important shit
11: pedshitosis, ped-shit-osis, abnormal condition or process of foot shit
12: ornithoshition, ornitho-shit-ion, action or process of bird shit
13: shitphyte, shit-phyte, plant shit
14: carnshitist, carn-shit-ist, one that performs, produces or believes in meat shit
15: shitgraph, shit-graph, written or used for writing shit
16: multishitmorphic, multi-shit-morphic, having the form of many shit
17: bacterioshit, bacterio-shit, bacteria shit
18: extrashitship, extra-shit-ship, quality, status or skill of beyond shit
19: capitshit, capit-shit, leader or first shit
20: shitably, shit-ably, performing in a manor worth of shit
21: annishit, anni-shit, yearly shit
22: shitoid, shit-oid, having the appearance of shit
23: nonshit, non-shit, not shit
24: shiting, shit-ing, action, process or art of shit
25: carnisshitory, carnis-shit-ory, relating to or characterized by meat shit

Got that link from DigitalExpressions.

Guess which brand is named after this Young Turk?

His last name won't ring a bell. His first name will. OK, I'll give you a clue. His initials are OB. Still haven't got it? Shame on you. The name is Orkut Büyükkökten!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Palindromic brand names

I've always had a soft corner for names that read the same both ways. Unfortunately not much work has been done in this field. Here's my collection of famous brand names that are palindromic in nature:

1. Axa (the insurance giant).
2. Aviva (another insurance brand...coincidence?)
3. TNT (as in Turner Network Television)
4. CMC (Computer Maintenance Corporation)
5. Civic (as in Honda Civic)
6. Sixaxis (PS3's wireless controller)
7. Elle (The magazine)
8. Otto (apparel brand)
9. Abba (a band that became a brand)
10. IGGI (Resorts)
11. LML (Scooter company)
12. M&M (Chocolates)
13. Nissin (Japanese food brand)
14. Ala (a bleaching brand from Unilever)
15. Omo (a detergent brand from Unilever)
16. PSP (PlayStation Portable from Sony)
17. RJR (The prefix before Nabisco)
18. Tippit (the VoIP company)
19. Liril (yet another Lever brand)
20. Xanax (Drug brand)

Feel free to add to this list.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A brand named 118118

118118 is the name of a directory enquiry services brand in the UK. It seems infonXX bid for this name, once the European Union decided to use the prefix 118 for all directory enquiry numbers. Very smart. Chris Moss, chairman and former CEO of 118118, says that making numbers brands rather than just memorable numbers requires a different approach. He goes on to explain "When we chose to use our telephone number in this way, we first expected that a jingle and or tone would be the key... But everyone's heads are full of PIN numbers, house numbers, ZIP or postcode numbers, short dial numbers and password numbers… The key was to stand away from the crowd. To create a personality was paramount." Extracted from 'Counting on your brand's name', an article in Brand Channel.

A beer named Santa Claus

"Brewed only once a year on December 6th. Samichlaus is aged for 10 months before bottling. This beer is perhaps the rarest in the world," says Beersofeurope. Adds Beerhunter, "Samichlaus means Santa Claus in the Swiss-German dialect of Zurich." Me thinks, the name is a perfect fit.

Monday, December 25, 2006

When Sony lost the Walkman

Got this from a 2002 article in Brand Channel: "Austria's supreme court has ruled that the word "Walkman" is now a generic term and the common trade name for portable cassette players. As a result, Sony loses its exclusive monopoly right to the name "Walkman" in Austria in respect of portable cassette players, and further challenges may result in similar court decisions."

Registering trade marks in India

If you are at ground zero on legalese, go here or here for a quick refresher course.

Pogo Channel Vs. Pogo Chips

In the right corner is Pogo Channel, the Turner brainchild that started its India operations in 2004 and in the left corner is Pogo Chips, a local brand of snacks that claims to be operational since 1988. Who will win? Considering that Lux underwear is still around, my bet is on Pogo Chips.

Shakespeare on name stealing

"He who steals my purse, steals trash. But he who steals my good name, steals all that I have."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Tamil movie titles & cell phone sub brands

The pattern recogniser chip in my brain has identified a new trend. I've observed a significant correlation between Tamil movies with English titles and some sub brand names launched by cell phone majors in recent times. Before I present you my findings, let me run you through some odd but interesting tamil film titles that caught my fancy:

1. E
2. Success
3. Choclet
4. Whistle
5. Red
6. Senior Junior
7. Petrol
8. Autograph
9. Ice
10. Duet
11. By 2
12. Little John
13. Well Done
14. Military
16. Popcorn
17. Style
18. Junction
19. Gemini
20. Villain
21. University
22. Run
23. Youth
24. Plus 2
25. Samurai
26. Game
27. 123
28. Charlie Chaplin
29. King
30. Album
31. Friends
32. Doubles
33. Goodluck
34. Jolly
35. Boys
36. VIP
37. Pista
38. Mr. Romeo
39. Lovebirds
40. Gentleman

All these above titles use words that are part of anybody's vocabulary. But what's the connect with cell phone sub brands? Well, LG launched a phone called Chocolate. Motorola has now launched Red. So don't be surprised if someone launches E (Ericsson) or for that matter Ice, Popcorn or Whistle!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Research on movie sequel naming

Read this if you wanna know why Star Wars 6 is a bad idea.

The HP Way of Naming Products

Did you know that the first product of HP was called 200A as the founders didn't want anyone to get the impression that the audio oscillator was their only product? Dug this up from a piece in HP computer museum.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Name Calling

Caught a spicy long piece in Salon. Written in 1999, this one doesn't seem dated. It's about how naming companies run each other down!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

BlackBerry's legal blackmail

BlackBerry has filed a suit against Samsung for launching a smart phone named BlackJack. The objection here is to the usage of the prefix 'Black'. To read up more on this case, go here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Steve Manning's foot in the mouth

Steve Manning, the go-to guy for quotable quotes on brand names & the CEO of Igor International, is a big critic of the name Nintendo Wii. While I don't think the name is that original (there's a channel v in India), it isn't terrible either. But Steve thinks otherwise. Nintendo tried to defend their name in this piece. Steve hit back with this classic quote: "The biggest key to figuring out a bad name is when they explain it," he said. "You don't have to explain a good name; you have to explain a bad name." Oh, yeah? Could anyone tell me what Igor means? Could anyone tell me why Igor puts out lengthy case studies like these to explain the logic behind their choice? Steve, next time you throw stones, look at your glasshouse first.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Brand Name Bullies

"Bullies succeed by intimidation. When they do not encounter resistance, they push as hard and as far as they can. In copyright and trademark law, large corporations, famous personalities and well-heeled law firms have prevailed for too long precisely because the public does not have much of a role in writing the law, does not know the rights it may have, and does not have the legal resources to fight back. As a result, brand-name bullies have been allowed to inflict incalculable harm on public life, cultural freedom and personal choice.

Charlatans should not be allowed to misuse a trademark in order to commit marketplace fraud or confuse consumers. But it beggars the imagination why Ralph Lauren should have a monopoly on the word "polo" (at the expense of an equestrian magazine), or why Microsoft should be allowed to prevent a vendor of a Linux-based computer from naming itself "Lindows" (Microsoft lost its case at the district court level, but has appealed). Why should the owners of the Godzilla trademark be allowed to root out any uses of the letters "zilla" in the cultural landscape?" Extracted from the book Brand Name Bullies by David Bollier. For some more examples of brand name bullying, go here.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Laura Ries vs. Kum & Go

Laura Ries may have a great pedigree but humour is one quality she lacks. She spent a whole post to rubbish the name 'Kum & Go', a refuelling joint in the US. My point is if everyone spends their bucks on corporate sounding names, this world will be a dull place. Anyways, leave aside my opinions. If you read the comments section of her post, you'll notice a nice rejoinder from Kum & Go. They've put forth their side of the story in an earnest manner. What I liked about it is they've politely pointed out to Laura, 'Too bad you hate our name. We are proud of it. And thankfully, we've been very successful.' Talking of refuelling joints, the convenience stores at Bharat Petroleum's bunks have a catchy name - In & Out.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ordinary places. Not-so-ordinary names.

A gas station named Pass Gas. A pharmacy called Boring Drugs. And a restaurant with the moniker Lick-a-Chick. You'll find them all here.

The Brew Ha Ha Inn Between

Doncha lurve cheesy restaurant names? If you do, you'll like reading up this paper presented by Lynn C. Hattendorf Westney, Associate Professor, University of Illinois, Chicago.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Name Spotlight # 1

Named by: Philips 'Skipper' Young, founder of Acushnet.
Founded in: 1935.
Product: Golf equiment.
Logic: One wins golf title tournaments (I am guesssing).
Logo X-rayed: Has a nice flowing feel to it. Looks premium. The first 'T' perhaps is meant to resemble a golf club.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A case for branding

Neuro research says the brain reacts better to brand names, and persuades you to buy them. The catch is the brain prefers the familiar. So just coming up with a brand name won't do. One needs sustained advertising. Source: ABC News.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A critique of coined names

An old opinionated piece from Clay Risen. Reeks of contempt for coined names. I don't buy most of what he says. Anyways, it always helps to know what they write on the toilet wall.