One of my favorite aspects of what I do is brand development. I love brainstorming, coming up with creative ideas, and finding the perfect name for a client. Sometimes, a name comes to mind quickly, and other times, it can be a long-drawn out process with many rounds of ideas. Over the course of the last five years, I’ve named a line of bread for a large-scale bakery on the East Coast, a car dealership in Sacramento, a language learning program, a dental product, and literally hundreds of other products, companies, and services. And, I’m currently working on developing a name for a program at a university in California.
Of course, brand development requires a lot of thought about how others will intrepret the chosen name. What one person deems perfect, another might find terrible. Anyone who has taken Marketing 101 has read about the Chevy Nova. Did a whole team of well-paid professionals not realize that no va means NO Go in Spanish? And the latest product name screwup might just be Apple’s newest creation – the iPad. My guess is that they didn’t have many women helping with brand development, or one of them would have stopped this before it made it past the brainstorming session.
I recently was asked to contribute name ideas for a rebranding project for an internet service provider and had developed what I thought was a really good list of names. Quickly my list was shot down, and the foreign-owned company decided to come up with their own name. Not only was the name that they chose clunky sounding, it spelled out a verb that many of us would find offensive. They had no idea of the problem, and thankfully, they took the advice not to go forward with their decision. In the end, they chose a name that was on my original list.
Anyway, here’s what happens when brand development goes wrong. I hope Apple decides to outsource their next brand development project to this freelancer. I think I could do a better job. Give me a call Mr. Jobs! By the way, this video from MadTV was created several years ago, so Apple was warned ahead of time. Hmmmm.