What’s in a name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
– Juliet

Would it really?

As someone who have planted roses before, I know for a fact that different types of roses smell differently. Some roses smell wonderful. Some roses barely carry a fragrance.

On each Valentine’s Day, rose vendors are everywhere. Have you ever bought a rose from them? I have received such roses before, and these roses sometimes look questionable in quality. They may even look wilted. Not entirely surprising if they smell barely like a rose. However, were these roses sweet? Abso-freaking-lutely!

The fact that a rose is called a rose may not have mattered in the beginning of time. However, the moment that name was set, that name means that thing. From then on, that name, that word, carries with meanings.

Do you know which words you most like to hear? That’s right, your name.

This is why there is a whole industry built around naming. Names matter. Building a successful brand starts with finding the right name.

The issue of naming sometimes comes up for even established brands. One of the biggest risks for marketers is to rename or rebrand an existing product. Yet, this actually happens quite often. Sometimes, it’s a necessity. Perhaps the brand was sold. So, instead of Crest Spinbrush, it’s now Arm & Hammer Spinbrush. Sometimes, it’s done for global alignment. I believe that’s why “Electrasol is Now Finish”. Other times, it’s done to improve the brand. The variety previously called “Original” may just seemed too boring now. In all instances, you better do your homework. First, you need to make sure that the new name is indeed better. Secondly, you need to test for alienation. Lastly, you need to determine how much resource you need to sink into making the new name stick.

Let’s stay this last point for a second. If I am willing to sink enough money into build the name, can I call my product anything? Maybe I can even call it Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. Okay, perhaps using the longest English word as an example is a little extreme. But, just to see if perhaps Juliet has a point and that names aren’t that important after all, let’s study the most recent eHarmony.com commercial.

The commercial goes something like this:

I like soccer. But if all I know about her is that she likes soccer, then it better be World Cups every day. There just isn’t..… that… click. That something deeper.

In that pause right before the words “that click”, you could almost finish that sentence for the announcer. That word wants to come out, but for some reason, it couldn’t leave that announcer’s mouth. There just isn’t, well… “Chemistry”!

Leave a Reply