You say that in 1995 some parents came from the English area midland They named their son Nike. They loved this type of shoe and stayed true to this name. There is also an anecdote in which a former hostage of one of the Beirut militias was released by his captors after several years in captivity. When he was picked up by a driver, the first thing he said was, “I could use a Heineken. Between 3,000 and 5,000 brands are registered in Spain every month. Everyone wants to differentiate themselves. Captivate you with what they propose. Owning, choosing and maintaining a good name will “shape” your entire business future.

Even if there is no magic formula if you don’t want to make a serious mistake You must follow the ten recommendations that you must take into account to make it a competitive weapon:

1. Look for something eye-catching. Often the name does not have to have a reason. A meaning. Why did Steve Jobs choose Apple to name his computers? The name doesn’t come from a creativity study; was the one that seemed the most obvious for what he wanted to sell: computers that are as easy to use as eating an apple. You could have chosen Pera or Micro Computer Company. But these names didn’t carry his philosophy in the new man-machine relationship he wanted to create.

2. Easy to pronounce. This does not prevent them from being marketed with names that are very difficult to pronounce in languages ​​other than their native tongue. See the case of Hägen-Dazs, Volkswagen, Knorr or Schweppes.

3. Keep it short and simple. Experts advise keeping it simple. because a name will identify you with your customers. The possibilities are very wide:

– You can use acronyms. They are very numerous: BMW, BBV, ABC, UN, FNAC. etc. In many cases. B. IBM, the original (International Business Machines) has been lost. An acronym offers no particularity or distinction from its competitors. And less if we are not well-known companies.

– A name. Yves Saint Laurent signs his clothes, lipsticks or perfumes; Mercedes was the name of the daughter of Daimler Benz. Adidas is the abbreviation of Adolph Dassler. Danone, an affectionate name given to his son Daniel by the brand’s owner, and Calvin Klein dropped its name in favor of its clothing.

– A last name. Rodolphe Lindt named his chocolates. Sir Thomas Lipton for tea, Christian Dior for his clothes and Enzio Ferrari for his sports cars.

– An onomatopoeia. Kodak invented George Eastman in 1870. That does not mean anything. but it is a name well pronounced in all languages.

– Letters and numbers. It’s another way to stand out by catching consumers’ attention, for example: KA, a Ford car; 1880, a nougat; 103, a liquor; LCL. a Chambourcy yogurt; XM, AZ or ZX from Citroen etc.

– an anagram, Translating the letters of a word or phrase to form a new word. It is a common solution when large diffusion is not required. For example the Catalan company Snollocer. If we read his name backwards we will see what it means.

4. Be recognized. What is achieved with a name that encompasses the attributes of the company or product. For example. Sveltesse is a Nestlé cheese that expresses with great precision the product’s own mission: not to give you excess calories to have a good figure. Such a name makes the buying process easier for consumers. It encourages repetition and saves time on acquisition. In addition, if our name gains some publicity, it can become generic: Dodotis, as an example for diapers, or Kleenex, instead of handkerchiefs, etc.

5. No ambiguities. It is better not to provoke ambiguous, unpleasant and funny ideas. In Spain, Mitsubishi had to change the name of the best-selling SUV in Japan and the USA: “Pajero” was replaced by “Montero”. In France, the house of Mazda released its MR2 model (in French “emm er deux” (pronounced enmerde)).

Seat in Greece calls the Malaga model differently, as Malaga means malaka (“excrement”) in Greek. And Ford gave up on releasing the Pinto model in Brazil, since that word means “with small genitals” in Brazilian.

When Coca-Cola entered the Chinese market, it not only had to change its name (in Chinese, it meant “bite the wax tadpole”), but also some of its slogans (“The Spark of Life” meant “Bring your ancestors from the grave.” “). And Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil company, in English evokes a grenade to avoid the second meaning of the word (howitzer, explosion).

6. It has to sound good. However, there are also products that have achieved fame with less than pleasant names (see the famous Volkswagen “Beetle” or “Gvarro” name of a Spanish paper brand). It is also recommended not to use words. They will not be included in the register.

7. Believable. It’s about using the name to suggest certain properties that reinforce the function of the product. A toothpaste called Microfluorine focuses on a preventive function. The same happens with Pantene, to which a name (Pro V) has been added that evokes technology and research.

8. Make it impressive. And convey positive symbolic sensations to the consumer. Associated with post-purchase satisfaction. Zumosol includes in its name a reference to the product and to something natural, as is the case with Trinaranjus. Something similar happened with Swatch, born from the contraction between the words Switzerland and watch.

9. Avoid descriptive. Jean-Moel Kapferer, in his book The mark, Corporate Capital, states: “Choosing a meaningful name is tantamount to not using the opportunities of global communication. The brand does not describe a product, it characterizes it. To define characteristics, there is already advertising and marketing». For example, Lu, the French biscuit brand, could have been called “Galleton”. Of course, it describes the product perfectly, but it does not invite you to buy it.

And that’s exactly what a name can become for the »Esperanto« of business: Buli. Siemens, Lacoste or Marlboro are pronounced the same in all languages.

Other strategies recommend disguising the nationality of the name: Smirnoff vodka is neither Russian nor Polish; Canon hides behind a Japanese manufacturer and Nokia is Finnish.

10. When the name is imposed. On many occasions, see mergers, a company is forced to change its name: the transport company Jet Services will be called Chronopost Internacional. other times. the problem is property. Nike, for example, had problems because there had been a clothing company named after her in Spain since 1932 (nike means victory in Greek).

The name is an emotional and strategic element. affecting the appreciation that consumers have for a product. For example, Hutchison Microtel captured a good share of the UK mobile phone market because we call their phones Orange. Such was the success that the parent company, Hutchison, adopted the new name.

Remember that names give meaning to our lives. Around it we have organized a system of values, of individual and collective experiences. With them we can write our own history.


7 classic product naming disasters

company management