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Archive for December 16th, 2012

What’s in a Name?: Word on the Street — Dec. 10th thru Dec. 14th

December 16th, 2012 COMMENTS
What's in a Name?: Word on the Street -- Dec. 10th thru Dec. 14th

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Over the past couple of years, one of my favorite things is when people outside of the Pacific Northwest tell me how much they love Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Displays.

Not only does it generate a sense of pride in our company, but it also just makes me laugh to be frank. Why you ask? Because you cannot imagine how many different pronunciations I have heard. Everything from Saka-weegee to Sock-kog-oh-wah. LOL!

But the important thing is, we all know what they are referring to. Regardless of the pronunciation! The name sticks in people’s minds, and its different from other lines at Classic like Magellan and Perfect 10. There are distinctions not only in the products, but also in the names! In case you are wondering why we named the line “Sacagawea,” here’s a brief explanation from the FAQ section in Exhibit Design Search. To hear the pronunciation, click here.

“Sacagawea was a Lemi Shoshone woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition between 1804 and 1806. She was the only woman.

Sacagawea served as a guide and an interpreter for the expedition, but her greatest value to the mission may have been simply her presence during the arduous journey, which showed their peaceful intent.

The Sacagawea Portable Hybrid System, named in honor or this remarkable woman, is a lightweight, adaptable display system which packs in one or two portable cases. It’s durable, attractive, and makes a big impression at any show or event.”

Recently, Seth Godin went out on a limb and took on “naming” by one of the most famous brands EVER. One that is a favorite of mine, but I totally agree with the message. Here is what he wrote (short and sweet):

Design like Apple, but name like P&G

Apple’s naming approach is inconsistent, it begs for lawsuits (offensive and defensive) and it shouldn’t be the model for your organization. iPhone is a phone, iPad is a pad, iPod is a … (and owning a letter of the alphabet is i-mpossible).

Procter and Gamble, on the other hand, has been doing it beautifully for a hundred years. Crisco, Tide, Pringles, Bounty, Duracell–these are fanciful names that turn the generic product (and the story we believe about it) into something distinct.

If you can invent an entire category, fabulous, that’s an achievement. For the rest of us, resist the temptation to be boring or to be too aggressive. It’s your name and you need to live with it.

As Seth says, if you can invent an entire category, then kudos to you. But in lieu of being able to do that, create names/brands that stick . . . and that are memorable. And don’t forget to back that up with quality manufacturing and service . . . Lest you be the company that makes a great product but the company that no one wants to work with. I suspect we know a few companies like that. 😉

Have a great and restful weekend.

Kevin Carty