Brand Naming: Context Counts

“Naming a company Google or Squidoo or Blueturnip in the dot-com world isn’t weird. It’s the equivalent of naming your kid Michael.”

That funny (and perceptive) quote comes from Small Is the New Big, a (2006) book from author and entrepreneur Seth Godin.

The larger issue here is: Context counts.

For instance, in the “As Seen on TV” category of products, most of the names are descriptive and straightforward, and rightly so. Here is a neighborhood where the best names are quick into the mind, and easy to understand. Examples: Pasta Express, Swivel Sweeper, Stick-Up Bulb, Auto Cool, Just-a-Trim, LumaTweeze. In a twinkling, these names tell the consumer who you are, and what you do.

Is Celsia the correct name for a high-tech company that does cooling solutions? Absolutely, since the technologists making the purchase decisions know the name honors a Swedish astronomer named Anders Celsius, whose adopted name identifies the metric system used by most countries.

Is Zany Brainy the right name for an educational toy store in the mall? You betcha. Just ask the parents if they’d like their kids to have fun while they learn.

Is Premio (the Italian word for “prize” or “reward”) a good name for the Italian sausage with real Italian taste? Just ask any supermarket shopper who’s looking for the “real thing” – the most authentic Italian brand. Premio stands out amid a cluster of general-purpose, heartland American brand names for sausage, like "Johnsonville" or "Jimmy Dean.".

When it comes to coining a new name, context matters.

Sponsored By: The Brand Positioning Workshop

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