Guest Column: Good names sell better, Good names survive better!
Tom Cyrus, Marketing Consultant, shares his opinions on how to find a great and memorable name for your companies and products
Published - Sep 15, 2014 8:06 AM Updated: Sep 15, 2014 8:06 AM
You may ask yourself what the reason is for a rule-governed naming when the goal of a business is increasing the profitability by selling products. Will a ruled-governed naming influence the sales?
Definitely, the answer is yes. Good names sell better, gain more market share, are less likely to be forgotten, and compared with repetitive, nonstandard, commonplace or complicated names in the final run have more chance in winning the market. Unconventional names are doomed to perish!
Today, most of the marketing rules are reviewed and revised and many of former mistakes are no longer repeated. However, I think that in country like New Zealand, Iran, Hungary, Qatar, Oman and India whose future economy as well as supporting its young industry will be guaranteed with marketing, those mistakes may emerge at the level of translated books and when marketing instructors have less emphasized practical techniques and methods. Nevertheless, in such an environment where most of your rivals never think of an actual and carefully considered marketing operation, you will win the battle in the market if you take wise steps.
In the past, industrial countries believed that they can gain more market share by increasing the ability of their vendors, expanding sales channels and speeding up product delivery to customers; an absolutely correct opinion at the time, which is presently prevalent among a large majority of companies working in my motherland, Iran, and to some extent among companies in other countries. Soon, business owners realized that such a cycle cannot bring about sustainably competitive power for them, because the advent of new products about which consumers and the society were more willing to talk caused that channels, numerous sales representatives and even most market share quickly lose their sales share and, in some cases, be permanently removed from the competitive market or withdraw from it despite the fact that they had powerful negotiators and vendors.
Unlike the past, marketing today is not done tactically and through short-term planning. Today, it is the era of strategic marketing rather than the traditional one. Marketing is no longer something theoretical. Rather, it is tangibly running through all levels of the market. In such an atmosphere, those products and businesses are successful which have the most powerful brand in the market. Now, business managers have found out this fact that it would be, at least in the minds of consumers, almost impossible to get rid of a brand, which is created and well-established in the market.
If you enter the market with new and useful products whose counterparts have never been seen previously or they have at least been seen less frequently, customers and the public will be encouraged to talk about you with others. Through the oldest form of marketing, i.e. Word of Mouth Marketing, your audience will subconsciously enter your marketing processes and as a result, you will make more sales. However, the question is that if you do not have a proper name for yourself, how are others going to call you? Remember that a new product or business is always in need of a different and new name. I believe that this is the first and most basic factor in branding.
By reading what follows, you will make sure that not only is naming very important and sensitive, but it is also a relatively complex process such that modern naming should, at the same time, follow several important rules for the sake being bound to principles. That is why we insist that naming should not just be confused with a simple breakfast!
Encountering a bad name!
Have you ever paid attention to internationally famous people’s names? They all enjoy appropriate names. How do you choose your children’s names? If you employ the same elegance to your business, undoubtedly you will not encounter a bad name. If you have already tried a name for your business or product that can not meet the competition in the market, there only remain two options for you:
A) Change your name!
B) Change your name!
Nonetheless, both of these solutions are harder than what we say about them. Inevitability, if you want to make your brand, you should have such courage. Compared with business owners, many superstars have accepted this fact and before they have their names ridiculed, they chose a new name. For example, the famous film director Woody Allen was named Allan Stewart Konigsberg by his parents, a name which is not remembered so easily and not similar to well-known names. What has been the actual reason for this superstar to change his name from Allan Stewart Konigsberg to Woody Allen? Did he hate that name or he knew marketing more than marketing managers?
During the planning and implementation process of naming, do not rely on emotional and intellectual issues. Follow the rules so that you will not lose. About two years ago, I got curious about the name of one of my friends’ company. I asked him why the word "October" was in the name of his company and his unprofessional response reflected his interest in his wife and the fact that his wife's birthday had been in October. Although I do not deny that person’s interest in his October-born wife, I want to say that such things are not reasonable and sufficient for winning a completion.
Unique names are more powerful
A unique name can bring more chance to your business and product. Names that have not been already heard but enjoy easier pronunciations and spelling can help you to become one of the greatest market leaders. Adobe is a unique name quite which a few people had heard of before. Names such as Sony, Yahoo and Google have also followed the same rule.
Simpler names are more accessible
Many mistake a name’s simplicity with shortening it. Yet, many simple names like Gaj (a big educational institute in Iran) need renaming. However, perhaps local names are extremely difficult for non-Natives. For example for Russian names this difficulty is strongly felt from the time a non-Russian wants to read a Russian name until the moment s/he wants to repeat it. Now, suppose that a non-Russian wants to remember such difficult names and then write them. If you are trying to make the economy and the business in this country grow, you must leave out your bias about traditional names or you will have to suffer from being isolated from the international markets.
Do not use the generic names
Choosing generic names is the biggest trap which expels you from the market. Names like Universal Milk will be easily challenged with the presence of a rival having a specific name.
For instance, GLOBUL (Bulgarian GSM/UMTS operator) is very likely to be heard Global and consequently has no chance in high-level competitions, but AT&T is just AT&T.
On the other hand, with the spread of the Internet and the Web in consumers’ everyday life, generic names are not very likely for being successful in the competition among search engines.
Writing and pronunciation should be the same
In this regard, Hyundai is one of the most notable examples of unsuccessful naming! Interestingly, the writing and pronunciation of this name is very tricky in most languages. Hyundai which is pronounced as hee-oon-die /hi:u:ndai/ in Iran, is in fact [h?n.dei] rhyming with the word Sunday! You should choose a name that consumers can easily write when they hear it, and more importantly they should be able to correctly type it in the Internet.
Another important point is that the way a name is written and pronounced should be almost the same in most languages of the world.
It should easy to articulate
Some insist on utilizing or creating strange names which even the most loyal consumers and customers are unable to use or pronounce them. In this regard, names like EGZB (German) or HSBC are among the defective names. Remember that brands which look for superiority, people’s mouth plays an important role because Word of Mouth Marketing is considered as one of the most effective marketing method.
Attractive names appear to be more successful than common names. Usually an attractive name which follows the naming rules appears much more successful than other names and remains in the audience’s minds for a longer time.
Each name is useful for a given commercial, industrial or economic field. Use names that draw the listener’s attention after being heard to a certain product category or a specific group of businesses.
Look for a name with whose expressing the consumer hears a given rhythm as well. Names having alliterations can soon become clamorous. Furthermore, alliterative names are likely to be more effective in advertisements. Names like BlackBerry is among the alliterative ones.
Do not be repetitive
Repetitive names require a lot of energy and budget for becoming a brand. Do not waste your marketing budget in branding and futile advertising for such names!
Peter Drucker, the most effective figure in modern management, once wrote, "Even if you are starting your business on a kitchen table, you must have a vision of becoming a world leader in your field." Based on my personal experiences, I also believe in this statement strongly. Particularly pay attention to the term Global because the international investment is not discussed at all. Rather, we are talking about Global visions.
My name in Iran is Toomaj Fraidoony. My first name and my last name are hard to pronounce in most languages of the world. When hearing my name, a native speaker of English may think s/he has heard “Too much”.
The name Toomaj used to be a great name for marketing and competition in Iran. However, I changed it to Tom Cyrus following the suggesting and advice of my expert friend Al Ries. This occurred in 2010 when all my Iranian rivals were busy gaining more money and market share in Iran. At first, I was criticized and even ridiculed. Soon after I got Al Ries’s recommendation letter reporters began to call me for interviews as well as for selling my products outside Iran.
Do not forget the Internet
In 2006, when the price of a domain was hardly beyond 9 dollars, I bought my own domain for my Persian name (www.toomaj.com ) from a dealer for 1000 dollars. In today's world of communications, the Internet and websites play important roles in marketing and sales for you. Look for names which are the same as the name of web address. For example, Microsoft Company uses Microsoft.com, but such a commonplace addresses as Microsoftco.com is not actually an option. Remember that a few months ago, FB.com was traded for 8.5 million dollars, so if you are looking for a suitable name for your business or product, be a little more generous!
Tom Cyrus is marketing strategist, consultant and author.
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