Friday, March 08, 2013

Who Might Your Product Name Offend?

Provo - from Kia
International Product Name Game

Kia is launching a new concept car called the Provo. They intended that the car would be provocative with its design and gave it a name that is short form for that.

But they seemed to overlook the point that before you name a product for the International market you first check International interpretations of that name.

Provo IRA terrorist group
Ask folks in the UK what the word “Provo” means to them and they’ll likely tell you that it is short form for the Provisional Irish Republican Army – a terrorist group also known as the IRA, or Provos that killed nearly 1,800 people in its 27 year battle against the British rule in Northern Ireland.

That’s probably not the emotions that car dealers want to evoke.

The folks at KIA needed to expand their research of the word Provo past the first page of Google results.

They also could have run the name by people in the UK and USA – two possible major markets for Kia.

I wonder,  might the folks at Kia consider other variations of the word proactive? Here are a few suggestions

  • Provac
  • Provok
  • Prorito (Latin for Provoke)

But certainly not Prozak!

That third suggestion might be worth investigating further because Latin is a dead language and many European languages have Latin roots.

Names do matter – especially when they trigger emotional reactions.

There have been plenty of examples of poorly named cars over the decades. The Chevy Nova was one of the famous ones. Nova means “no go” in Spanish.

With all the possible positive emotional names possible when will we see cars named any of the following?

  • Love
  • Amour
  • Respect
  • Ambition
  • Hope
  • Joy

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