Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What's in a Name?

Does a name determine value?

Maybe. Names plant images or emotional value in our minds. Product names seem to influence value. Consider these examples.

If you are selling wine then consider the study by Brock University as reported in the Globe and Mail.

“Names that seem unique or harder to understand or wrap your mind around are that way because they’re rare,” said Antonia Mantonakis, the Brock associate professor of marketing who led the study. “Things that are rare are more valuable.”

Apparently wine appears more valuable when it seems to be unattainable.

This study demonstrated that a difficult-to-pronounce name like Tselepou was perceived as more valuable than Titakis, which was perceived as more valuable than a simple common name. Wine drinkers want to be mysterious. Read the rest of this report at the Globe and Mail

The same article in the Globe and Mail mentioned:

"In one subsequently famous case, Harley-Davidson shares shot up 16 per cent in the weeks after it changed its ticker from HDI to HOG, the biker-slang term for its motorcycles."

When it comes to investments simple names are better. Investors want to be reassured - not confused.

Imagine if you are a guy looking to meet a woman on an online dating site, how likely are you to contact a Gertrude, Bertha or Gretchen? Would Melanie, Tiffany or Jennifer sound more attractive?

Imagine that you are a woman hoping to meet the guy of your dreams. Your friend offers to introduce you to   Igor, Rudolph and Herbert. Would you prefer Brad, Stephan or Trevor?

Naturally the attractive people names will be influenced by your age and culture.

I suggest that when you are naming your company or product think about what sounds attractive to your best prospects. They are the ones who need to give you money. Buyers won't care about the name of your grandmother, your hero or your pet.

Should the name sound exotic, simple, foreign, common, reassuring, provocative or suggestive?

George Torok Keynote Marketing Speaker Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing
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