Friday, August 7, 2009

Brand smart?

Branding helps companies create a personality for themselves, instant recognition in the general public, and customer loyalty to certain products and services. At least it does when done right.

Most companies put a lot of time and money into the numerous components of branding, which starts with the company name. So what happens when that name -- the first thing a potential customer or employee or business partner sees -- is less than appealing?

Here are some of my un-faves:
  • The Dump: TV ads for this bargain furniture store stick in my head because of the amazing number of times the announcer repeats the company name in an annoying way. As for the name, I thought the whole reason to buy new furniture was to keep your home from looking like a dump.
  • Rent-A-Wreck: This name under promises and over delivers. That's usually a recipe for success. But with cars, the word "wreck" is an accident waiting to happen. It makes me think the car I rent won't be reliable, and it doesn't matter if I trash it because it's a wreck anyway.
  • Goof Off: I actually use (and like) this self-proclaimed "miracle remover" (another misnomer because it doesn't really remove miracles). What it does remove are all the spills, drips, and splotches I leave behind. But Goof Off? If I'm working that hard to clean up after myself, I'm certainly not goofing off. But I guess it's a better name than Obsessive Compulsive Cleaner.
I thought long and hard before naming my own business. It was in the midst of trying out some options when AMY INK became shorthand for this venture I started in 2000. And the moniker stuck. Still, it can create confusion. Some people say it's a good thing I'm a writer, with a name like Amy Ink.

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