Showing posts with label Brand Naming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brand Naming. Show all posts

Brand Name Origins

Ever wondered about how famous brands got their names from?

Global Branding Fail

10) One of the most successful taglines for Kentucky Fried Chicken was “finger lickin’ good”. The trouble is, when translated into Mandarin (or is it Cantonese?) it becomes “eat your fingers off”.

9) When UK telecom company Orange launched their tagline “the future’s bright, the future’s Orange” Catholics in Northern Ireland were angry because the term “orange” is associated with Protestantism.

8)The Mitsubishi Pajero won a number of awards around the world for being so robust. For brand consistency reasons, they wanted to use the name in every country. Unfortunately they didn’t do enough research in Spain and after the launch had to change the name because in Spain, Pajero means ‘wanker’. (In the UK a wanker is someone who masturbates).

7) Spain gets another mention for another failed automotive branding story. This one revolves around Chevrolet. Some time ago Chevrolet decided to introduce the Nova to the Spanish market. Sales were poor, why? Because in Spanish Nova means ‘no-go.’

6) No brand mistakes article would be complete without a contribution from Pepsi. My favourite one is the “come alive with the Pepsi generation” slogan, which in Taiwan is “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead”.

5) And if we mention Pepsi, it’s only fair that we mention Coke. About 5 years ago, Coke wanted to break into the bottled water business. The name chosen was Dasani. OK so far. Coke announced that its “highly sophisticated purification process” was based on Nasa spacecraft technology. Soon after it was discovered to be a reverse osmosis process used in off the shelf domestic water purification tools. To make things even worse, just as the project was about to launch, it was discovered that the UK supply was contaminated with bromate, a chemical better known for causing cancer.

4) Five years ago, Cingular bought AT&T Wireless. AT&T was considered number one in terms of poor service. After the acquisition, Cingular binned the AT&T name. Four years later, Cingular Wireless was rebranded as AT&T Wireless.

3) As personal branding seems to be getting a lot of ink at the moment, one of my favourite gaffs was the one about Lee Ryan (of Blue fame) who gave an interview just after 9/11. During the interview he was quoted as saying, ‘What about whales? They are ignoring animals that are more important. Animals need saving and that’s more important. This New York thing is being blown out of proportion.’ Many industry insiders consider these comments to be the reason for the demise of Blue.

1) One of the greatest naming disasters of all time must be the attempt by Dragon Brands to change the Royal Mail of the UK from a 300 year old domestic mail only (government) institution to a multi dimensional distribution company. Dragon Brands did a lot of internal and external research over a two year period and then assessed the aims of the brand using measures that included ‘the three p’s’ – personality, physique and presentation.

Next they took three circular like shapes and filled them with words such as ‘scope’ and ‘ambition’ and apparently (I’m not making this up) this brought together ‘the hard and the soft aspects of the brand’s desired positioning.’

This remarkable process threw up hundreds of actual words as well as some that were made up. Apparently the brain storming team favoured Consignia because it included consign and the dictionary definition of consign is ‘to entrust to the care of’.

The cost of the new name was £2 million. It lasted approximately 18 months.

Brand re-starting

Leopold's Ice CreamHow about looking back, and seeing what companies were prominent in your community, and re-starting the brand?

That was the route of Savannah, Georgia basedLeopold’s Ice Cream, which was restarted by Stratton Leopold, a movie producer. The original Leopold’s was a shop founded in 1919 by his father, and counted folks like Johnny Mercer as customers.

Leopold is a prominent film director, and restarted the shop in August of 2004. It has been a big success. Of course, ice cream is a food dripping in nostalgia, so an old ice cream brand is a really safe category of brand to revive. In fact, this is an excellent category for revival as many local dairies have shut down and the names are available. Leopold just happened to love his father’s business, and so naming it was a natural.

If you, like Leopold, want to consider re-opening up an old local brand name, here are seven considerations.Chownings Williamsburg

  1. If it is a family name, be careful. While Colonial Williamsburg restarted old eponymous taverns like Christiana Campbell’s and Chowning’s, it did so 150 years later, where there was no possibility of confusion with original owners or descendants. In the case of Leopold’s, he had a claim on the name because that was his name. Consult a good intellectual property lawyer for help; even if they don’t represent you, paying for some face time can save aggravation. The key idea is Likelihood of Confusion (also the name of a fine blog by attorney Ron Coleman); if the desired name is likely to be confused with a another entity, you need to consider carefully how you position it. Nevertheless, if a brand has been abandoned, that means it is available. Do a search online with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. While USPTO doesn’t have that many local brands registered (most relied on common law protections) you would do well to see what other variations of your name are out there. Also look to see if the URL is available; many are taken. If the family is prominent, offer them a nominal role for lending their support to the project.
  2. Mine local history books and museums for ideas. In Richmond, entrepreneurs restarted the Commercial Cafe, which was an iconic restaurant in that Virginia city. The restaurant’s image an iconography was made relevant again in the 1970s, as a photo of the front of the restaurant appeared in a local history book, and everyone became familiar with the name again, as if it had never disappeared. Old City Directories, newspapers and the like are also good sources for ideas. And even if you don’t pick one, you can see some of the local history of your business category, and learn a bit as you position your own company.
  3. Consider a variation on the name. If the original name was The Pines Restaurant, call it The New Pines Restaurant.
  4. Take the name of the building. Restaurants do this with previous uses of buildings; in New York, I recall a restaurant that was called Mexico Next to Texaco. In Charlottesville, the C&O Restaurant is named after the railroad and is located near the tracks. In Richmond, the Miller & Rhoads department store is now condos and a Lucky Strike factory is apartments, each bearing the name of the brand.
  5. Revive products that were beloved. If there was a restaurant with old recipes that were popular, consider using some of the old recipes at the new restaurant. For instance, if you see a crab cake recipe from an old restaurant in a local cookbook, put it on the menu of your new restaurant. Describe that the dish was “based on the beloved crab cakes of Sue’s Seafood Hut.” While some folks might recall the original, most who never tasted it at the original restaurant will want to try it for novelty’s sake. If it is good, then you have won them over, and your dish suddenly becomes a local institution.
  6. Some categories work better with nostalgia than others. Retail, restaurants and consumer products seem to be the best candidates for reviving an old brand name, as the consumer naturally trusts things that have been around for a long time.
  7. Education and institutional brands can be revived. Norfolk Academy, the prep school in Virginia, was originally founded in 1728, but the school lapsed for decades. It was revived as a new institution in the 20th century, and assumed the mantle of the original idea. The College of William and Mary also shut down for a time after the Civil War, and then re-opened in the 1880s. The buildings were still around, and they just restarted the school when the economy improved.