Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Names and Stories

When choosing a new brand name, you should strive for one that is simple, spellable, pronounceable, not descriptive of the product, and that has a low number of Google hits. In The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, Ries and Ries mention another one: choose a name that you can back up with a story:
A good name has story value. It suggests an idea that reporters can explore.
By choosing a name not descriptive of the product, you exploit an inconruency that stimulates cognitive dissonance in the mind of the consumer. This engages the consumer's brain, causing her to want to resolve the incongruency. In short, she wants to know the reason for the name. She likely will fabricate some reason of her own. This phenomenon is positive, as it makes it more likely the consumer will remember the name and associate it with something relevant to her.

Yet, for PR reasons, it's also a good idea to back the name up with a story. When a reporter asks you the reason for the name - and they will be likely to do so if the name is not descriptive of the product - tell them a story that calls to mind the key benefits of the product. Stories have great word of mouth potential.

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