mashpan

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I was driving to Rhode Island last week and happened to notice that a number of really rural road names were quite descriptive. Niatic River Road. Stone Heights Turnpike. Waterford Parkway. Sunset Drive.  It got me thinking about naming. Back in the 1600 and 1700 (and before) when there weren’t a lot of maps and people didn’t travel that far, thoroughfares were named based upon features and geographic realities. Heartbreak hill. Point O’Woods. Tip of the mitt.

Names that were easy to remember and descriptive were the strongest names. They added value. Names with no endemic meaning, less so.

The best brand names today follow this old maxim. They are descriptive. They are descriptive of product, value, and uniqueness. The strongest brands in the world are not silly constructs of Madison Avenue, they are like packaging…part of the selling fabric. Coca-Cola used cola beans to build its brand.

Naming is hard work. Just look at all the silly pharmaceutical brand names on TV today. It’s like we ran out of words to use. So the naming companies put the alphabet in the blender and BAM.     

While director of marketing at a web start-up, I wanted to name the drag and drop web creation tool Mash Pan. The Chief Technology Officer who used to say “dude” a lot, opted for Zude.

Opt for communication value. Consumers don’t need to work so hard.

Peace.                                                                                                       

 

 

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I check out my blog analytics regularly and one of the search terms that gets me a lot of traffic is “naming.” So playing to the algorithm, I post today on naming. But what to say? Names, like brands, are empty vessels into which we pour meaning. The best names are organically tied to product, feature, function or target. A good name gets you credit for what you do without you doing it. My friend’s company Gotham Seafood has a great name.  He sells seafood in NYC and his company has scale.  He sells lots of fish.

I wanted to name a web start-up for which I was marketing director Mashpan.  It was a website creation tool based on drag and drop technology that let anyone design and build a site. It put a wrapper around objects on the web and let anything, yes anything, be dragged and dropped or copied onto a page.  Quite a mash-up. Of everything. A mash pan is also a place to start home brew, but that’s a story for another day.  The boss decides Zude sounded better. No context, not a great name.  Though it did ultimately work (as a name).  Our vessel-pouring was pretty good.   

For those of you with kids, you know how difficult naming can be. It’s even more difficult for companies. Don’t make it easy. Embrace it. Find the perfect name. It’s important. Peace! 

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