In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the question is asked, “What’s in a name?” And as much as the Bard had a point that a name is just a name when it comes to overcoming family feuds, marketers today would agree that a name plays a huge part in a company’s or product’s success.
Take the famous Edsel, a name now synonymous with failure, compared to Tesla, the name of a thriving electric car company. Both are the names of real men with vastly different impacts on the success of their respective cars.
Or look at the more recent “tronc,” the purposefully lowercased new name for Tribune Publishing. Created to stand for “Tribune Online Content,” the idea behind tronc was solid. The name was intended to explicitly and definitively rebrand the traditional print publisher as a digital outlet – but it is a total disaster. People hate it, especially the sounds it makes with the back-vowel “o” evoking clunky, heavy imagery and the hard “c” that brings the name to a harsh, abrupt conclusion. So why don’t they just change the name again?
Not only did Tribune Publishing spend tons of money to reinvent itself as tronc, but the naming process is complicated. Marketers must consider the target audience, the competition, trademarks and copyrights, the different emotions and imagery vowel-sounds evoke, the sound the name makes, whether or not they want to invent a word, and so on.
The naming process also involves throwing lots of associations and seemingly unrelated ideas into the mix to prompt and generate further conversation. Like a crazy spider web, one idea leads to another and another until marketers wind their way toward a winner.
After discovering that winning moniker, the next steps involve qualitative and quantitative research. Market testing the name, making sure it appeals in the intended manner and has the proper impact is incredibly important.
So yes, a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, but if it was named something as hated as the word “ointment” – we wouldn’t even give it a chance.
Drop us a line to learn more about our thoughts and strategies for naming.