Naming and Branding Agency

Posts from: July 2008

Landor: The Art of the Steal

Sometimes imitation is flattery, sometimes it demonstrates a complete lack of originality and / or corporate ethics.

Naming and branding parody site Landor has posted an article in which they claim authorship of called “How not to name“, accompanied by a photo of Anthony Shore, head of global naming at Landor. It is posted on a section of their website that they ironically named “Thinking”.

Here is an except (from point 2, paragraph 3):

This “positivity principle” explains why a scandalous name (Virgin), a slur (Banana Republic), and a small, hairy larva (Caterpillar) are perceived positively.

And here is how this thought was written five years earlier, both on the Igor website and in the Igor Naming Guide:

Unless everyone understands the positioning and the correlation between it and an evocative name, this is the type of feedback that evocative names will generate:

Virgin Airlines

  • Says “we’re new at this”
  • Public wants airlines to be experienced, safe and professional
  • Investors won’t take us seriously
  • Religious people will be offended

Caterpillar

  • Tiny, creepy-crawly bug
  • Not macho enough – easy to squash
  • Why not “bull” or “workhorse”?
  • Destroys trees, crops, responsible for famine

Banana Republic

  • Derogatory cultural slur
  • You’ll be picketed by people from small, hot countries

The Landor article “How Not to Name” is written in a format that states popular misconceptions and the debunks them. Here they attack the mistaken idea that focus groups are helpful in choosing company or product names (from point 6, paragraph 1):

As a rule, it’s smart to entrust strategic business decisions to someone who trades an hour of their time for $25 and a few handfuls of M&Ms.

And here is how Steve Manning, co-founder of Igor, expressed the same idea 5 years earlier in an article in Elsevier Food International :

“If you’re trusting the future of your brand to a bunch of people who are willing to give up their time for $45 and a stale sandwich, you’re in trouble.”

Was Mr. Shore of Landor aware of Mr. Maninng’s quote? Of course he was, Mr. Shore was quoted in the very same article as Mr. Manning.

The final insult comes at the end of this “Landor authored” naming article:

© 2007 Landor Associates. All rights reserved.

Reached for comment, Anthony Shore, head of global naming at Landor had this to say.


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Gogo launches, named by Igor, Mossberg reviews

Via The Wall Street Journal, July 19, 2008:

…On these Internet-equipped planes, any passenger with a Wi-Fi enabled laptop — or a cellphone with Wi-Fi — will be able to do almost everything he or she could do online at home or at the office. That includes surfing the Web, using email, having instant-messenger text chats, downloading and uploading files, and streaming video and audio.

In fact, I did all these things a few days ago on a test flight using the new system, called Gogo. During the flight from San Francisco to Denver, on a small test jet, I could operate online as if I were sitting at my desk, or in a Starbucks. I used Dell (DELL) and Apple (AAPL) laptops, a BlackBerry (RIMM), a Windows Mobile phone and an iPhone to perform all the most common online tasks, while soaring over majestic mountains and glorious national parks.

I sent and received emails on Microsoft (MSFT) Outlook and Apple Mail, including messages with hefty attachments. I conducted IM chats on AOL (TWX) Instant Messenger and Google (GOOG) Talk. Using all the major Web browsers, I called up dozens of Web sites, and watched video clips on Hulu and YouTube. I downloaded photos, songs, PDF files and Microsoft Office documents. I used all the Internet functions on the iPhone, and on the Wi-Fi-equipped BlackBerry and Windows Mobile phone…

…The companies say Gogo is safe and won’t interfere with the plane’s operation. It is government-approved, and pilots can shut the system off should they deem it necessary.

Gogo has some limitations. The service plans to allocate its capacity so that low-bandwidth activities like Web surfing and email take priority over high-bandwidth ones like streaming video. That means you may find video to be slow and halting.

And Gogo is a North American, land-based service only. It won’t work over the oceans and, for now, it won’t work on other continents.

But for U.S. travelers who want to stay connected in the air, Gogo does the job.

Full article.

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