Controversy over the name of the National Football League’s Washington Redskins surfaced again in May, when 10 members of Congress wrote to the league and Dan Snyder, the team’s owner, asking for a change. The BloombergBusinessweek asked David Placek and his staff at Lexicon Branding—the firm that came up with the names BlackBerry, Febreze, OnStar, Pentium, and FiOS—to cook up some new monikers for the team.
When it was time for a new model in 2002, Jeep put the Cherokee name in storage, choosing to call its new Toledo-built vehicle the Liberty. Now as Jeep launches its next-generation SUV, the company is dusting off — and redefining — the Cherokee for North America.
Lean In is more than the title of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's new book, it's also the name and driving slogan of her movement-in-the-making, encouraging working women to "lean in" to their careers instead of pulling back with help of networking "circles."
For Microsoft, the baffling product names are a bad sign. Redmond is relying on third-party hardware makers (or OEMs) to make a success of Windows 8, the company's new and refreshing operating system which launched late last week. But beyond the uphill battle these manufacturers face with skeptical consumers, who are increasingly leaning toward Apple and Google for their computing needs, OEMs are making their job even harder by introducing such perplexingly poor product names, which customers are likely to find confusing, uninspired, and easily forgettable. After all, what chance does the Acer Aspire S7-391 have against the MacBook Air?
Lexicon president and CEO David Placek says that product names should evoke pleasant associations and avoid being either too literal or random.
It used to be that if you wanted to drill for natural gas, you went out and did some surveying, found yourself a big underground resevoir, put up a drilling rig, and you were in business. That's what people in the energy industry call conventional drilling. Which kind of implies there's unconventional drilling too, right? There is. It's called hydraulic fracturing -- or fracking. And as it becomes more popular, it's pretty clear fracking's gonna need a makeover.
Startups intending to make a splash walk a thin line during the naming process. If successful, brand name chatter can help drive awareness and fuel much-needed buzz. So, how should a startup go about creating an orignal, memorable name that will perhaps earn a place in the pantheon of iconic brands?