Dec 232016
 

NBC News interviewed me about the trolling of the Ivanka Trump brand. Seems like “fake reviews” are joining “fake news” as a thing. The consumer is savvy enough to tell the difference.

As I told NBC, the trolling of all Trump brands is likely to continue as a dissatisfied segment of the electorate works out its issues, from marching in front of the Trump buildings here on the Upper West Side of New York to writing snarky reviews on Amazon. These people in the “bucket of disaffecteds” have few other easy avenues for venting their frustrations. Trolling is an easy way to express unhappiness without effort or risk–but also without much impact.

Trolling Ivanka Trump Brand Ineffectual

The effect of Trump trolling on the brand is negligible. People who buy the Trump brand like the Trump image or the product behind it. Trolls don’t impact that. People who despise Trump will continue to shun the Trump brand. Given the massive level of Trump publicity, consumers are already predisposed to like or dislike. They aren’t going to Amazon reviews to form those opinions. Trolling isn’t going to sway a consumer one way or the other. It has zero marketing impact. Trump brand managers can ignore the phenomenon.

For other brands subject to trolling, finding out what is driving trolls and who is doing the trolling is an important first step. Responding with a calm, measured, fact-infused way puts your side of the story out there. Consumers are savvy. They can spot fake reviews as easily as they can spot fake news. Beyond making sure the consumer has access to the facts, let the trolls troll on. They are frustrated people precisely because their trolling has little impact. Don’t feed that beast.

Nov 292016
 

las-vegas-sunSports team naming is a high stakes job. Doing it right makes creates millions of dollars in brand value. Doing it wrong leads to low recognition and low fan engagement, leading to low revenue and value. Naming the NHL expansion team in Las Vegas the “Vegas Golden Knights” is a missed brand opportunity. (Read part of my interview in the Las Vegas Sun).

The “Golden Knights” name is empty of associations with hockey or Las Vegas. It conjures images of medieval Europe, not a vibrant oasis in the dessert known for fun and risk taking. A name like Baltimore’s “Ravens” is an example of naming done right. It resonates with the city’s history with Edgar Alan Poe, is absolutely unique, and engages fans. The “caw-caws” on game day are a testament to that. A strong brand name would help the team earn bigger licensing dollars and sell more fan merchandise. Golden Knights is unlikely to do either.

team name golden knightsThe value of a brand is worth protecting, which brings up the trademark issue. The Golden Knights name is best known as the name for the U.S. Army Parachute Demonstration Team–but they never trademarked it. Brand names can be shared and used by multiple companies, so Vegas Army Golden Knights now share their name with other teams–The College of St. Rose and the University of Central Florida.

The first goal of a name is to signal a unique brand. A name with no resonant associations makes achieving that goal harder to accomplish. No matter how much money the team spends to build the Golden Knights brand, it will always be bland. Better to call the team “The John Does.”
Suggest some better ideas, like:
  • Antelopes–or indigenous name Tatokes
  • Ozuye–Hopi word for warrior
  • Big Horns
  • Red Rocks
  • Gilas
  • Tohos–Hopi word for mountain lion/powerful hunter
  • Arroyos
Aug 092016
 

Renaming Yale: An Orwellian committee in the “Ministry of Truth” model at Yale is hard at work scrubbing historical names from the campus, according to Roger Kimball in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. The article The College Formerly Known as Yale, details how Yale University is creating a Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming (Wow! So 1984!). The Snowflake Generation is suddenly in a snit over Calhoun College because of namesake John C. Calhoun supported the institution of slavery. Unfortunately, Yale founder Elihu Yale was himself an active slave trader.

Renaming Yale UniversitySlavery will always remain a national disgrace of this country, but to expunge the names of its supporters from history misses the opportunity for a “teaching moment.” These names are an invitation to examine social, moral and economic forces that fueled it. Studying Calhoun, Yale (maybe even Jefferson and Lee), we can better understand the foundation for slavery, to better fight racism and bigotry, to continue to build the ethic of valuing human life, from Black Lives Matter to Blue Lives Matter, and to celebrate society’s progress, however partial and imperfect. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Those who seek to replace history for their own edited set of facts are tyrants.

Commercial brands tied to people know the risk of connecting a person to a product–think Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, and Lance Armstrong. People are imperfect. Renaming Yale won’t change that. History is a tale of human imperfection. If institutions may only be named after perfect people, we won’t be able to name anything after a person. For Yale, with the motto of “Light and Truth” to contemplate blotting out uncomfortable facts is very sad. Perhaps the Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming at Yale should rename Calhoun College “Room 101.”

More on political aspects of naming:
Brands as Political Symbols
Brand-Jacking
ISIS Tainted Brand
“Net Neutrality” Doublespeak
Redskins Team Name
Renaming Operation Iraqi Freedom

Jul 062016
 

frisbee-brand-nameThe American Marketing Association has a great blog entry on brand names that became more than household words; they practically entered the dictionary.

In my naming consulting practice, I am constantly advising clients to stay away from descriptive names. Such names can never really be owned as brands. The classic example is Amazon’s once mighty competitor Books-a-Million. Would ebay have done as well if it went to market as online-auctions.com?

Descriptive names are not memorable and tend to be very limiting. The better approach is to consider brand names that have the potential to become iconic. Choose something unusual in which you can build meaning over time.

The “Genericide” of Brand Names

Yet in success, comes the danger of an iconic brand becoming so synonymous with a product that it becomes the generic. Frisbee spends millions protecting its name as a brand. The Dempster Brothers’ branded their wheeled trash haulers a portmanteau of “dump” with “Dempster.” Having lost control of the brand, today “dumpster” is a generic word. Aspirin, Zipper, Yo-Yo, Thermos, Vaseline and even Heroin are other examples of brands that suffered “genericide” through trademark erosion.

More naming resources for choosing a brand name:

Naming How-To:

Naming Mistakes
Six Factors for a Memorable and Motivating Name
History of Best Known Brands
Styles and Types of Brands
Choosing a Name
Try a Recycled Name
Web 2.0 Naming Considerations
What is Brand Architecture
Approaches to Brand Architecture
Brand Architecture and Business Strategy

Companies and Products:

MSNBC vs. msnbc.com and The Bigger Naming Problem
Macy’s Blunder with Marshall Field’s Name Change
Banks and the Name Game from Bank Marketing Magazine
AIG Name Change to AIU
Breaking Up the Motorola Brand
Google’s Speedbook Disaster
Renaming a Small Business
Proxios CEO Talks About Renaming Process
Naming a Green Sportswear Company
Unintentionally Funny Names-BARF
Unintentionally Funny Names-Putzmeister
Unintentionally Funny Names-Bimbo
Renaming a $2 Billion IPG Agency
Renaming Iraqi Freedom
Selected Naming Portfolio

 

Jan 082016
 

“Make your brand memorable!”  Brand experts earnestly offer this vague advice at every turn.  But what is a  memorable brand?  How can you tell if your brand is or will be memorable?

You can’t spot memorability simply by looking at your brand elements.  I’ve worked on many naming and design projects where perfectly good brand name and logo candidates are rejected out of hand because someone didn’t think they were memorable. When asked what criterion was used to detect memorability, people shrug.  They can’t articulate it.

Memorability can only be detected and proven through execution and testing over time.  A name on its own isn’t memorable.  How is the name used as or with a logo?  What graphics support it?  What story is told in communications like advertising, or brochures?  How is it marketed and sold?  Executing a marketing plan and then testing results with real customers over time is the only way to know that your brand is memorable.

Since memorability is so all-important, getting it right in the beginning is critical.  Who has the time and budget to deploy campaigns and then wait to figure out if they are good or not?  Execution, time and research are the only way of Knowing that you have a provably memorable brand. But you can move forward with reasonable assurance that your brand will be memorable if you consider the following six factors:

1. Unusual.

The more out-of-the-ordinary the brand name, logo, communications, and experience, the more likely the brand is to be remembered.  Surprising is always better than ordinary. Every feature should be distinctive. As you make brand choices, know that unusual is uncomfortable. You will need to take risks. Naming a company “Online Auction Center” probably felt safer than something off the wall like “eBay”.  A safe name that tells something about what the business does is not unusual and is less likely to be memorable.  “Oracle” is stronger than “Computer Associates” and even stronger than the new name “CA”. Risky names like Google and Amazon often turn out to be winners.

2. Consequential.

For your brand to be memorable, it needs to have personal significance to your target market. Take the example of two competing airlines. Jet Blue focuses on a superior flying experience.  Jet travel today can be a harrowing experience, so focusing on making flying easier and more pleasant is relevant and consequential.  Delta has positioned itself around “service to more destinations than any global airline”.  That positioning is not consequential to most flyers. How relevant is the fact that Delta flies to Abidjan when all you want to do is get to Atlanta? Stonyfields yogurt stands out by appealing to people who care about organic food and supporting individual farmers–causes that are consequential to their customers. Dannon, on the other hand, just claims it is “the top-selling yogurt worldwide”.  How is that important to a customer? At most, the fact that Dannon sell six million cups of yogurt a day in almost 100 flavors, styles and sizes is just trivia. Find something important and build your brand on that.

3. Emotional.

Brands that connect to the heart and invite people to have a close relationship are more memorable.  Any brand can have emotional appeal.  Consider the case of Sodexo.  The company provides janitorial and catering services to hospitals. Pretty modest and even boring stuff–not the least bit heart-warming.  Sodexo launched a patient experience program that focused on the quality and comfort that their humble services provide to patients and their families.  They elevated mopping the floors to something with emotional power by telling the specific stories of how their employees have touched individuals in times of need.

4. Vivid.

The more vivid you can make your brand, the more apt people will be to remember it.  A vivid name, possibly one that conveys imagery or personality is makes for a memorable brand.  As for logos, please, please, PLEASE, no swooshes, no globes. Take time to develop a visual style that carries across all your communications from business cards to brochures to your Web site.  In our multimedia age, don’t neglect movement and sound.  The more your brand appeals to all the senses, the more vivid and memorable it becomes.

5. Detailed.

Be specific about your brand claim or you will never stand out.  Take the company ISS:  It says it “provides cutting edge solutions development based on the latest advances in open software design and integration.”  Couldn’t that be said of dozens, if not hundreds of companies?  If ISS is staking its brand on being cutting-edge, it is better to show that fact with details that give that claim dimension and make it come alive.  You can’t simply claim it.  Instead of investing in detailing their cutting edge solutions, ISS piles on vague claims about “understanding customers”, “exceeding expectations”, “consistently growing”, and being “diverse and experienced”.  Such claims blur into the blah-blah-blah babble of millions of other companies.  Ten minutes after reading this article, you probably won’t be able to remember a single ISS brand claim.

6. Repeated.

Repetition is the key to memory.  Unless you are Mozart, you won’t remember how to play a tune by hearing it once.  Most people can’t remember names after hearing them just once.  Yet many people can sing commercial jingles they heard as children and recite from memory favorite stories because these were repeated time and time again.  Repetition creates familiarity, understanding and connection. Make sure your brand story is told frequently and consistently.  Your Web site can’t say something different from your brochures, and you can’t change your brand story every year.  Consistently repeat your brand story for a memorable brand.

Memorability is the key to a strong brand.  Paying attention to these six factors will set you on the right path. After executing and testing, it will come as no surprise that, indeed, your brand is memorable.

Naming How-To:

Naming Mistakes
Six Factors for a Memorable and Motivating Name
History of Best Known Brands
Styles and Types of Brands
Choosing a Name
Try a Recycled Name
Web 2.0 Naming Considerations
What is Brand Architecture
Approaches to Brand Architecture
Brand Architecture and Business Strategy

Companies and Products:

MSNBC vs. msnbc.com and The Bigger Naming Problem
Macy’s Blunder with Marshall Field’s Name Change
Banks and the Name Game from Bank Marketing Magazine
AIG Name Change to AIU
Breaking Up the Motorola Brand
Google’s Speedbook Disaster
Renaming a Small Business
Proxios CEO Talks About Renaming Process
Naming a Green Sportswear Company
Unintentionally Funny Names-BARF
Unintentionally Funny Names-Putzmeister
Unintentionally Funny Names-Bimbo
Renaming a $2 Billion IPG Agency
Renaming Iraqi Freedom
Selected Naming Portfolio

Dec 072015
 

Choosing a brand name is an early and difficult step when starting a company or creating a brand. Getting hung up on all the wrong issues can turn a tough task into an impossible one.

“I’ll know it when I see it”

Without defining your standard for a good name at the outset, you can easily find yourself frustrated when your naming team comes up with many ideas that are off the mark. You will be lost when it comes to evaluating name candidates and making a decision.

“Let’s vote on our favorites”

Likeability is poor criteria for a name. Chances are you’ll like names that are wrong for a number of strategic reasons. For one thing, likeability is strongly linked with familiarity. A likable name is not going to stand out.

“I want a name like ____”

When someone says they want a name like Microsoft or Intel, it’s time to cringe. Looking for a name that is similar to one that already exists defeats the purpose of branding, that is creating a distinctive identity. Stay away from name clichés in your category. Telecommunications companies should not have names that have “tele” or “com” in them.

“The name has to define us”

That challenge puts too much weight on a single word. Meaning in a name isn’t an instant proposition. Meaning is built carefully over time. Ebay is now synonymous with online auctions, but that meaning is not inherent in the name. It was built over time. The company had the wisdom to choose the name with the potential to become iconic. Ebay, with its strange pig-Latin sound is exponentially better than the original generic name for the service: “Auction Web”. Purely descriptive names are hard to turn into brands. That is why Amazon.com is a powerhouse and books.com is nothing.

“I heard the name has to be memorable”

Naming consultants blather on about criteria for a good name and spell-able. The problem is, these criteria aren’t easy to evaluate. You simply can’t tell by looking. Memorability and spellability require expensive research time (at least to test memorability). Being very different isn’t necessarily memorable. Asking people to repeat back name candidates after an interval of time means nothing-they’ve been given no other supporting communication. Memorability (see article) is created over time and must be measured over time. Similarly, spell-ability isn’t something you can determine with just a look. A short name isn’t always easier to spell than a long one. How many people spell Tommy Hilfiger as Tommy Hilfinger? Again, you’ll have to test.

More naming resources for choosing a brand name:

Naming How-To:

Naming Mistakes
Six Factors for a Memorable and Motivating Name
History of Best Known Brands
Styles and Types of Brands
Choosing a Name
Try a Recycled Name
Web 2.0 Naming Considerations
What is Brand Architecture
Approaches to Brand Architecture
Brand Architecture and Business Strategy

Companies and Products:

MSNBC vs. msnbc.com and The Bigger Naming Problem
Macy’s Blunder with Marshall Field’s Name Change
Banks and the Name Game from Bank Marketing Magazine
AIG Name Change to AIU
Breaking Up the Motorola Brand
Google’s Speedbook Disaster
Renaming a Small Business
Proxios CEO Talks About Renaming Process
Naming a Green Sportswear Company
Unintentionally Funny Names-BARF
Unintentionally Funny Names-Putzmeister
Unintentionally Funny Names-Bimbo
Renaming a $2 Billion IPG Agency
Renaming Iraqi Freedom
Selected Naming Portfolio

 

Nov 272015
 

Before diving into your Latin dictionary when you consider naming your company, product or service, consider the wide array of brand name styles and product name options in use today.

Abbreviation Raychem, Microsoft, Amtrak
Acronym AARP, BP, AFLAC, IBM, KFC, TCBY,TIAA-CREF, UPS, USAA
Alliteration Dunkin’ Donuts, Roto Rooter, Planters Peanuts,
Piggly Wiggly, Brooks Brothers
Appropriation Java (for software), Bloody Mary’s (for a restaurant), Blackberry, Caterpillar
Classical Roots Pentium, Quattro, Avis
Composition PowerBook, PageMaker, Comcast, Nutrasweet, Accuvue, Bisquick
Descriptive Bed, Bath & Beyond, Bath & Body Works, Airbus, Volkswagen, Toys R Us, E*Trade, General Motors,
Evocative London Fog, KitchenAid, Frigidaire, In-n-Out Burgers
Fabricated Exxon, Kodak, Xerox, Häagen Dazs, Verizon
Foreign Words Volare, Montero, Samurai
Founders Hewlett Packard, Hilton, Disney, Ford, Dell
Geography Winnebago, Silicon Valley Bank, Budweiser, Mutual of Omaha
History Ticonderoga, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, ebay, Cisco
Humor Cracker Jack, Yahoo!, Bullfrog, Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants
Ideophonemes 7-UP, 7-Eleven, Union 76, V-8, WD-40, 3COM, Cambio 16
Merged Packard-Bell, Rolls-Royce, ExxonMobil
Mimetics (alternative spelling) Krispy Kreme, Krazy Glue, Kwik Kopy, Kleenex
Mythological Oracle, Midas Mufflers, Mercury, Nike
Onomatopoeia ZapMail, Sizzler Steakhouse, Kookooroo, Kisses
Oxymoron True Lies, Steel Magnolias, Intimate Strangers

.

More naming resources:

Naming How-To:

Naming Mistakes
Six Factors for a Memorable and Motivating Name
History of Best Known Brands
Styles and Types of Brands
Choosing a Name
Try a Recycled Name
Web 2.0 Naming Considerations
What is Brand Architecture
Approaches to Brand Architecture
Brand Architecture and Business Strategy

Companies and Products:

MSNBC vs. msnbc.com and The Bigger Naming Problem
Macy’s Blunder with Marshall Field’s Name Change
Banks and the Name Game from Bank Marketing Magazine
AIG Name Change to AIU
Breaking Up the Motorola Brand
Google’s Speedbook Disaster
Renaming a Small Business
Proxios CEO Talks About Renaming Process
Naming a Green Sportswear Company
Unintentionally Funny Names-BARF
Unintentionally Funny Names-Putzmeister
Unintentionally Funny Names-Bimbo
Renaming a $2 Billion IPG Agency
Renaming Iraqi Freedom
Selected Naming Portfolio

Nov 152015
 

Some of the best known and most valuable brand names have surprising histories and unlikely provenances. Few came from high-priced naming consultants. Here is the brand name history for some well-loved brand:

7-Eleven Named for stores new extended hours from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Adidas Named for nickname of Adolf “Adi” Dassler
Altoids Made up name suggesting a medicinal benefit
Amazon Most voluminous river for a site with hoped for voluminous sales
Apple Steve Job’s favorite fruit, simple and not cold or unapproachable
like IBM
Arby’s Enunciation of founders’ initials Raffel Brothers
Bally Named after Lion Manufacturing’s popular pinball machine: Ballyhoo
Bic Marcel Bich used his own name, but dropped to H so as not to offend
Bridgestone Is translation of Japanese name that means “bridge of stone”
Budweiser Named for famous Bohemian town in Pilsen region now known as Budejovice
Canon Japanese name of Buddhist bodhissatva for mercy Kannon
Caterpillar A photographer said the tractor looked like a creeping caterpillar and
the name stuck
Cisco Short for San Francisco, also the Stanford Department Computer Information Services
Coca-Cola Made from coca leaves and kola nuts—coca-kola
CVS Convenience, Value and Service
Danone Named for nickname of founder’s first son Daniel—Dan + One
eBay Was originally Echo Bay, but that was taken,
so Echo was shortened to e
Fuji Film Named for highest mountain in Japan
Google A misspelling for math term “googol”
Grape Nuts Original formula used grape sugar as an ingredient; product had nutty
taste
Häagen Dazs Completely made up name that sounds Northern European and rich
Harpo Oprah written backwards
Kinko Nickname of founder with wild, curly hair
Marlboro Named after streets in London
M&Ms For partners Forrest Mars and Bruce Murrie (son of Hershey president)
Nabisco Short for National Biscuit Company
Pepsi Named for digestive enzyme pepsin
Qantas Short for Queensland & Northern Territories Aerial Service
QVC Quality Value and Convenience (not to be confused with CVS)
Reebok Named for African antelope rhebok
Snapple Named after first flavor Spice N’ Apple
Samsung Korean for three stars
Sun Microsystems Stanford University Networks
Toyota Founder name Toyoda turned out to be hard to spell
Volkswagen German for peoples’ car
Volvo Latin for “I roll”

More naming resources:

Naming How-To:

Naming Mistakes
Six Factors for a Memorable and Motivating Name
History of Best Known Brands
Styles and Types of Brands
Choosing a Name
Try a Recycled Name
Web 2.0 Naming Considerations
What is Brand Architecture
Approaches to Brand Architecture
Brand Architecture and Business Strategy

Companies and Products:

MSNBC vs. msnbc.com and The Bigger Naming Problem
Macy’s Blunder with Marshall Field’s Name Change
Banks and the Name Game from Bank Marketing Magazine
AIG Name Change to AIU
Breaking Up the Motorola Brand
Google’s Speedbook Disaster
Renaming a Small Business
Proxios CEO Talks About Renaming Process
Naming a Green Sportswear Company
Unintentionally Funny Names-BARF
Unintentionally Funny Names-Putzmeister
Unintentionally Funny Names-Bimbo
Renaming a $2 Billion IPG Agency
Renaming Iraqi Freedom
Selected Naming Portfolio

Oct 162015
 

Here are the five biggest  naming mistakes you can make when branding your company, product or service.

1. Mistaking the name for the brand.

Your company or product name is just part of your brand. Not realizing this, many novice branders put too many expectations on their name.

It is important to realize your name works in a context. Other elements such as your logo, messaging, the entire visual look of your brand, and the communication tactics you use join your name in the heavy lifting that goes into creating your brand.

Some of the leading brands in the world don’t look like much when stripped of all other brand elements. Take the name ebay. Would you have looked at that word a dozen years ago and said, “Wow, a leading global brand!”? Not likely. Add the logo, the visual context, the attitude and personality,the story of the brand, the experience–then you have that leading global brand.

I’ve seen a number of naming projects end in failure. One client wanted a name that meant “synthetic oil”, “wear protection”, and “smooth operation”. It had to work around the world and have no more than 6 letters. Believe me, there is no combination of 6 letters in any alphabet that can deliver on those expectations! This client was simply putting too much on the shoulders of the name. Your name definitely needs to communicate, but it cannot, by itself, be your brand.

2. Looking for a “likable” the name.

Any time a client starts evaluating the “likeability” of a brand name candidate, the project is doomed. Likeability is an entirely nebulous concept that is impossible to objectively define. Likeability is in the eyes of the beholders.

Likeability can actually be harmful as a criterion of a “good” name. Years of research have shown a strong link between likeability and familiarity. People tend to like names that are in their comfort zone of the known and conventional. That means likeable names are not going to stand out as different, and that is a critical naming mistake. And being distinctive is the most important quality your name can have.

3. Lacking criteria that define a “good” name.

Since “likeability” is a poor standard for determining a good name, what standard should you use?

The best name is the one that makes the right people (your customers) think the right things (about your product). You need to define what your brand will stand for, both in a logical sense of features and benefits and in an emotional sense of feelings and associations. Your name has to suggest, inspire, or reference this brand definition.

Second, your brand needs to be different. You can’t choose a name in a vacuum. You must consider what your competitors are doing. Avoid anything that even comes close to mimicking their brands.

You can name a dozen other criteria for choosing a “good” name, but if you get these two, you are 80% there.

4. Going for “memorability”.

The standard advice of brand experts far and wide is to go for memorable names. This ridiculous piece of advice is useless to most branders. The problem is three-fold:

a. First what do you know about what makes a word or name memorable? A really different brand isn’t necessarily memorable. PWC Consulting spent $110 million to change its name to Mondays, a very “different” choice with disastrous results. A short word is no more memorable than a long one. Chevrolet is more successful than Geo. Hidden Valley Ranch is a full three words and five syllables of memorability! Spell-ability isn’t intrinsic to memorability. Winnebago isn’t spell-able–how many folks forget there are two “n’s”? How can you evaluate memorability when you don’t know what criteria actually contribute to it?

b. Memorability is inextricably bound to the rest of your brand elements. Memorability is created by your communications more than by your name. Was AFLAC a memorable brand? For years, the company operated under this string of letters. You can imagine the talk internally about having to change the name something better. After all, it sounded like the quack of a duck. Bing! AFLAC became a powerful brand, not because of a great name, but because of a great duck. That said, maybe there is hope for TIAA-CREF (but maybe not.)

c. You can’t see memorability by simply looking at a name. You have to test for memorability. You’ll need quantitative research to track reaction over time to know if your name is “memorable” or not.

Nothing is wrong with memorability, but thinking you can just look at a list of words and determine memorability is a common naming mistake… But don’t attempt to use this criteria when looking at a list of words.

More naming resources–to help you avoid naming mistakes:

Naming How-To:

Naming Mistakes
Six Factors for a Memorable and Motivating Name
History of Best Known Brands
Styles and Types of Brands
Choosing a Name
Try a Recycled Name
Web 2.0 Naming Considerations
What is Brand Architecture
Approaches to Brand Architecture
Brand Architecture and Business Strategy

Companies and Products:

MSNBC vs. msnbc.com and The Bigger Naming Problem
Macy’s Blunder with Marshall Field’s Name Change
Banks and the Name Game from Bank Marketing Magazine
AIG Name Change to AIU
Breaking Up the Motorola Brand
Google’s Speedbook Disaster
Renaming a Small Business
Proxios CEO Talks About Renaming Process
Naming a Green Sportswear Company
Unintentionally Funny Names-BARF
Unintentionally Funny Names-Putzmeister
Unintentionally Funny Names-Bimbo
Renaming a $2 Billion IPG Agency
Renaming Iraqi Freedom
Selected Naming Portfolio

Jan 222015
 

NFL-Gate-Scandal-NamesDeflategate–the shameful scandal involving under-inflated footballs that Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the entire Patriots organization unbelievably have no knowledge of and no responsibility for–is the latest in a long line of gate scandal names.

As noted in this post from the past, Watergate opened the floodgates for gate scandal names–Deflategate will surely not be the last.

Gate Scandal Names Instant Associations

Effective brand names are those that generate the right instant associations. People have to “get it” and understand the core of what you are trying to communicate in a femtosecond. The popularity of gate scandal names is that you instantly understand that what you are talking about is sordid and scandalous.

The NFL seems a fine breeding ground for scandals–who can forget the wardrobe malfunction that became Nipplegate?

Unlike the wardrobe malfunction, Deflategate has the potential to seriously damage the NFL brand. Nipplegate was about a celebrity during the half-time show. Deflategate’s unsportsmanlike cheating goes to the heart of the sport of football.

Go Seahawks!

© 2014 Lisa Merriam