Tuesday, February 21, 2006

With Naming, Hindsight is 20/20

I've mentioned in the past that it's foolish to test-market a product name by simply asking people whether they like it or think it's "good". The main reason is that most people are experts in whether a name - for them - is easy to spell, easy to pronounce, or has meaning for them. But they are not experts on the principles of naming and branding.

One manifestation of this issue is the tendency of people to love successful brand names that they wouldn't have liked before they became household names. If you had asked someone whether the ideal name for a search engine would be "Google", he probably would have replied, "That's silly. How about Search.com instead?" If you had asked someone whether the ideal name for a discount shopping chain would be "Target", she probably would have replied, "That's boring. How about Shopper's Paradise?"

With naming products and companies, hindsight is 20/20.

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