Naming | Are the rules of the game changing? By Drew LetendreIn naming, as in any discipline, we all conform to certain best practices. We counsel that names should behighly distinctive/don’t sound like other brand names, avoid pejorative connotation (or resemblance towords that don’t), ‘sound corporate,’ have matching URLs, don’t sound too exotic, and give some indicationof business category. Well, consider these…
Are these ‘good’ names?Do they sound ‘corporate’?Do they sound like companies you recognize?What businesses are they in?Do they conjure up any negative ideas? Insperity Experis Exelis Xylem Mondelēz
Well, here’s my take… …Connotations, Associations, and Semblances Insperity disparity Experis expires Exelis Excel (MS) Experis(!) Xylem asylum a second baseman from Mondelēz the Dominican Republic?
Truth is: these are real names of real companies, divisions, or spin-offs, thereof…in spite of all theidentified ‘ballast’—exotic and obscure sound, resemblance to existing brands and businesses,pejorative associations, etc. Insperity Experis Exelis Xylem Mondelēz
The Big Take-Away | there are big companies out there taking names that stand naming bestpractices on their heads, names that… 1 don’t sound ‘big company’ or corporate 2 sound like other companies or products Insperity Experis 3 sound exotic or strange (or like somebody’s name) Exelis Xylem 4 sound like words with pejorative meanings Mondelēz 5 don’t have matching URLs 6 don’t ‘say’ what business they’re in, but…But why?
They adopt those kinds of names because… 7 they are legally available and The pre-eminent criterion 8 can tell a story—they have the potential to build a compelling Most important after availability business narrative around themConclusions | Yes, the tables have over-turned (but not completely). They’ve tipped precipitously, in the direction of ‘whatever’savailable.’ Availability—so it would appear—now covers a multitude of sins. A multitude, not a universe. For there remains onefurther rational criterion that still makes sense, even after we’ve allowed things like uniqueness, corporate gravitas, and cleanURLs s to fall by the wayside, and allowed in things like semblance to pejorative words: ‘namely,’ the potential to craft a cleverstory that interprets or ‘decodes’ a name’s business meaning or consumer promise. Thus does an exotic plant like “Mondelez’justify itself: ‘Monde’ meaning world ‘delez’ meaning ‘delicious’ or ‘delectable’ sum up to ‘a world of good taste’ or ‘good-tastingfoods,’ an apt, if somewhat roundabout message for an F&B business. Thus does ‘xylem’ an exotic-but-real word, that refers to the‘vascular tissue in plants that conducts water and dissolved nutrients upward from the root’ justify its relation to a watermanagement business of ITT. And thus does ‘insperity,’ the fusion of ‘inspiration’ and (or ‘toward’) ‘prosperity’ rationalize itself—albeit far more loosely—as the transformation of Administaff away from temporary staffing to a much more general, but highlyinspiring business notion. In the end: meaning matters…perhaps most of all.See how RiechesBaird has been successfully leveraging these naming trends and insights in our naming portfolio onhttp://www.riechesbaird.com