OPINION

7 Ways to Lose Your Company’s Identity in the Crowd

Behind every effort and every move of any company of any size lies a very simple and powerful fact. That is, the outside world responds to the name identity of a company before they decide to spend their money. Customers are influenced by the personality of the name identity, what it says, connotes, projects and what kind of secret or hidden messages it has embedded in its alpha-structure.

Here are the critical facts. Firstly, every business is already convinced that it has the best name. Secondly, how wrong are they? Today, 99 percent of the business names in use are dysfunctional for being overly similar to thousands of others, or outdated and no longer fitting to the current global e-commerce-driven mobile cyber-trends.

Historically speaking, in the good old golden days, one could start a business and name it anything. Today — rather, every single day — as many as 1 million new business names of all kinds and shapes are being registered. Tens of thousands of new names a second are attacking weaker names, further adding to the complexity of the issue.

Hidden Gems

Only those enterprises who can right now read between the lines, discover the latest naming trends and identify the hidden secret messages behind their own business identity and brand names will progress with a clear advantage.

As the cost of business promotion and marketing skyrockets, and more and more advertising dollars are becoming totally unproductive, businesses must embrace reality, face the music and conduct a thorough and professional evaluation of their name brand identities, so as to determine not only the effectiveness of their overall brand strengths, but also the negative baggage they may already be carrying.

There are many different ways of approaching a name evaluation. A quick search on Google will inform you in two minutes how gravely your duplication problem is already hurting you. For more advanced assessments, the Five Star Standard of Naming, available on the Internet, also provides very professional world-class guidelines and custom reports on name evaluations.

The following are some of the main problems a professional name evaluation identifies in order to put your marketing on the right course.

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  1. When a name is too similar and shared. When a brand name is heavily diluted and shared by hundreds or thousands of others in all kinds of businesses, then the name simply becomes lost in the crowd, as you waste your advertising dollars trying to keep your brand afloat. Get a clear picture and evaluate all the risks.
  2. When a name is too old to convey today’s dynamics. Established as a great icon of a period, sometimes a name crawls out of history, reflecting the great human toil of its founding fathers but is somehow not suitable for the current agile and digital-savvy customer base of today. Evaluate the possible makeover and modifications.
  3. When spelling or remembering a name requires a high IQ. A large majority of brand names are spelled creatively to fit a logo or to avoid a serious trademark problem. Some names are extremely twisted, complicated and counterintuitive, hurting images in the long run while losing sales while customers are unable to recall the names at the time of purchase decisions. Evaluate the alternatives.
  4. When more money is spent explaining the origin of a name. When a name carries weird and strange origins, the company takes the burden of explaining its cuteness to the public. The busy public is not interested in your emotional attachment to these superficial gimmicks. Evaluate the confusion.
  5. When a corporation does not own a trademark or its corresponding dotcom. When a corporation cannot legally call a brand name its own, and does not have a matching dot-com, what’s the point of all the promotional exercise? Evaluate the intellectual property assets.
  6. When a name is problematic or embarrassing in certain countries. Globalization is a fact of life. A name must work like a marketing weapon — not only in its own country, but also around the globe. Names that can travel freely always carry a corporate advantage and enjoy success in the long run as they are welcomed throughout the globe. Evaluate the global issues.
  7. When a name is too complicated, confusing and long. When a name is too long, it gets initialized. This unwanted process often changes the entire meaning of the original name, and leads to customer confusion. Evaluate the crisis of initials and acronyms.

The above seven reasons are very critical for your marketing plans to go forward in 2008 and beyond, and the sooner you have a deeper understanding and a professional name evaluation, the faster you may apply the outcome.

Don’t shoot in the dark — awaken the giants and slay the dragons.


Naseem Javed is recognized as a world authority on corporate image and global cyber-branding. Author of Naming for Power, he introduced the Laws of Corporate Naming in the 1980s and also foundedABC Namebank, a consultancy established in New York and Toronto a quarter century ago. He can be reached at[email protected].


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