13 November 2006
Nassem Javed
Nassem Javed

To check on the health of a name here are some key reasons and if not corrected, a sick name will endlessly shout and eventually die.

HIT OR MISS: This is when a name sometimes hits the target or misses it entirely. Potential customers end up going to the competition in error, because the name looks like and sounds like dozens of others. Or it is so restricted in its access by having twisted spelling, making it impossible to find it on the web, directory, search engines, etc. So why create mass confusion, and let mail come with new and different spellings of the same name every day. e.g. dead, by starting the name with an 'e' rather than an 'a', they guaranteed their anonymity and died; dead, is it geotel? The 'e' may have cost them their survival;, too many ways to spell the name; dead, fas-tv? or fast-v?; dead, twisted spellings!

DIFFERENT STROKES: When a name means one thing to one group and an entirely different to others and customers. This can seriously blur the image of a corporation and a great deal of advertising is wasted in harnessing the marketplace. e.g. dead, is this supposed to be confused with McDonald's, or not?; dead, what the hell is this?; headstrong, an e-commerce company or headache pills, but why?; concrete, once again an e-commerce company with cement? Too much confusion; B2E, what the hell is B2E? We are still trying to figure out BtoB and BtoC!

EVOLUTION CRISIS: When a good old name doesn't tell the customer anything at all of its evolution, new ventures, new ideas. e.g., figure it out!; dead, no wonder; CIT and what is this?; dead, it's neither Purolator nor FedEx;, what for?;, no, its not revenue just an expense; dead, are they a religious organization or a bunch of perverts?; eBreviate, twisted spelling; i2, too many ways to spell and no clear message.

EDUCATING THE UNIVERSE: When you start advertising and telling people how to spell your name, remember it, it's cute meaning and some strange origin, say it differently because it has a different pronunciation etc. Rather than promoting business you are educating the population on how they should behave when it comes to using your name. This method never works. Gekko v/s Gyco; Atto v/s Auto; Xerox v/s The Digital Document Company; Clarity v/s Clarica. e.g. dead, extra 'p' puts too much burden;, is it telephone or a metal company?;, by whom and why?; eOnline is this advanced thinking, or what?

GLOBAL CRISIS: When there are serious translation difficulties, or the name is obscene in foreign countries. e.g., what an intelligent way of spelling; dead, don't say this in Thailand; dead, are you sure, only pee?

OWNERSHIP CRISIS: If you don't own a trademark or you don't own a solid domain name and sometimes neither, this is the most ridiculous situation to be in. All your money is being wasted to promote your competition. e.g., dead, dead, dead; dead, ONYX, eLink, Rational.

APOLOGIES: Executives are embarrassed presenting business cards and to have to explain the name confusion, and competition starts making fun of the names. .e.g. dead, how contagious; dead, no thanks, I don't need your business card!; dead, aren't you glad they're gone?

To avoid jumping from the pan into the fire, follow the three golden rules: Do not copy other famous or trendy names. Do not get too wild and too creative and do register for the Global Markets. If you need help, only a professional, with many years of solid experience, with dozens of successful naming projects, can help you and do not try out your name with ad agencies or design firms, they rely on casual freelance naming which can be the most dangerous thing, when a creative person, without a full-time commitment, spins out 1000 names for $1000, which is the going rate in most agencies; then you end up with a name on which your corporate destiny, and a large ad budget, is left hanging by a thread. Shout as loud as you can, a poor name eventually dies and no amount of branding tricks can save it.

Global Identity can only be achieved by following the new naming rules of the new millennium identity. One must now understand and have knowledge and strategic perspective on global naming for e-commerce, understanding of naming issues and rules of corporate nomenclature, alpha-structures, alpha-dynamics, marketing needs, global translation and language issues, name modeling and hierarchy of naming, overall naming ideas, global naming registrations and global maintenance and so many other things to fully tackle a naming project.

Branding comes in all shapes and sizes, vertical to horizontal, internal to external and mental to spiritual, but when it comes to naming it is entirely a very different issue. Naming is something like magic and branding is something like witchcraft. If you have a magical name then with some witchcraft you really capture the attention and mesmerize the audience. If not, then you are left with some odd-shod tricks and no sizzle. Because naming is a black and white process and you should not be confused with design and packaging, or other branding exercises.

For more information, contact:

Naseem Javed
Toronto, Canada
T: +1 905 794 0055

About Naseem Javed
Naseem Javed is a world-renowned authority on corporate nomenclature, author of Naming for Power and an outrageously hilarious speaker on the conference circuit.