Friday, June 19, 2015

Names can be so important. These days, buildings are called corporate owners names. They used to be dedicated to great Presidents or famous inventors or rich benefactors. Now we have names like The Staples Center or Met Life Arena. What is next Viagra Venue? Ugh!  People don’t keep traditional names anymore. Even famous people choose names like Blanket or Apple for their children. Who gets to choose some of the objects we know by name? If you are in the business of launching a new product a name can be very important. David Placek is a professional namer. His company is Lexicon based in Sausalito, California and has named some of the biggest products around.

He chose Outback for Subaru. OnStar for General Motors. Pentium for Intel and the bottled water Dasani for Coca-Cola. It is obvious that he will work for anyone. A company or brand name could last longer than your own name and it is also the only thing that your competitor can not take away from you in the long end. It must be fun to get paid based on your ideas and get paid as much as $100,000 dollars to name a new product. It is not as easy as Don Draper made it look like on the TV show Mad Men in the scene where he  show the wheel of a carousel slide machine and names it not a wheel but a carousel.

It used to be that famous product names were from famous family names like Singer sewing- machines  or Hoover vacuum cleaners.  Ford can still bank on their family name despite their Edsel named after their son that failed to sell.  Elon Musk was smart enough not to call his new car the Musk but the Tessler. The Blackberry for the phone was selected because it made you think of a picnic with natural fruit. A good thing. The Swiffer is a completely new name that didn’t exist before used for the thing on a stick to clean high places.  What do you call a dust rag on the end of a stick anyway? So, you combine swiping and sweeping and create a new word.

Every product needs a name and no two products can be alike so with only 26 letters in the alphabet, the namer people have a lot of work to do. I have no problem calling people some new names but a new product seems to be an important thing.

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