Brand on the run

Established as a great icon of a period, sometimes a name crawls out of history, reflecting the great human toil by the founding fathers but somehow not suitable for the current agile, cybernauts and the digital savvy human force of today.

The name is cumbersome in facing an explosive future. Corporate

communication constantly struggles to shed the old image by promoting the future vision of the company and tries hard to appear younger and futuristic. But, like a chronic, grumpy, old patient in a nursing home, these types of names struggle and slowly linger for decades but always fading away in the end. Any old publication will easily provide the proof in black and white.

A large majority of corporate names are spelled creatively to fit a logo or to avoid a serious trademark problem. Here, common sense and the science of corporate nomenclature are abused at the risk of being too sexy and different. This twisted spelling only ensures obscurity. The mind continually rejects the corruption of a familiar word and refuses to remember specific alpha structures. After all, if a name can be spelled in four different ways, then you will only end up with 25 per cent of the hits and profits. This type of creativity doesn’t help. These sparks of geniuses only end up kindling fires, which eventually cause serious damage.

“”We are out of names”” is only a myth successfully established by branding shops. Thus leaving the clients with strange, weird, and often silly, names. Contrary to belief, there is no shortage of unique, powerful, one-of-a-kind, trademarkable, corporate names. What is short is successful, proven methodologies and highly reputable professionals with successful track records.

When corporations announce new names with great pride and talk about how their teams of experts compiled 5,000 names over five months, then ran hundred of trademark searches, they are also avoiding the truth. Specifically, how in the end, they were only left with a few most unpronounceable and awkwardly composed names with almost no relation to the direction or personality of the corporate objective. Normally, this type of panic selection is done often, the same day of the press conference and the launch party. Are you still holding that old magazine? The proof of embarrassing name announcements covers most centerfold ads. Does this explain the hush at major branding companies around the globe? Is this the reason that all such agencies are all but mum about naming issues and expertise?

Identity firms have only hurt themselves by not offering a professional naming services while making randomatic naming as a standard. As the economy is slowly on the upswing the new image and identity demands will be fought out on quality and successful track record of naming rather graphic design and logos. The entire corporate identity industry and agency shops around the world are not only silent on this subject, they are also avoiding to face the critical naming issues. Most big time new names of the recent past simply faded in thin air while customers and media made a big joke out of them.

Now, this offers a great opportunity for the bright and creative brains of the agencies to reorganize the corporate image and name identity so it can face the new realities of this new name-economy while offering in-depth global services for new upcoming challenges.

In the end, what you need is a professional naming strategy, guided by a Masters of Naming. It is a serious black and white exercise and it should never be confused with color, design, logos and general branding, these things are only important after a name has been selected under the professional guidance and only when proper Rules & Laws of Corporate Naming have been applied.

Naseem Javed is the author of Naming for Power and Domain Wars

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