Trading Faces

NY Times summarized a study from  The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on company names, language and money:

A stock ticker symbol or company name that is easy to pronounce may be a significant factor in short-term increases in stock price, according to a report published online yesterday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Two researchers created a list of fictional stocks and then had a group of students rate them according to ease of pronunciation. “Ulymnius,” for example, was rated complex, while “Mayville” was not.

They then asked a second group to estimate the future performance of each of the stocks. As the researchers predicted, “fluently named” companies were estimated to outperform the hard-to-pronounce ones by a significant margin.

…People respond positively to easily processed information in other areas as well. For example, they are more likely to believe an aphorism that rhymes (”woes unite foes”) than one with an identical meaning that does not rhyme (”woes unite enemies”). Studies cited in the report demonstrate that people more often judge easily processed information to be true, likable, familiar and convincing than more complex data.

The Times fails to mention two other curious reports in Sunday’s PNAS, notably, “Polarized axonal surface expression of neuronal KCNQ channels is mediated by multiple signals in the KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 C-terminal domains” and “A hybrid two-component system protein of a prominent human gut symbiont couples glycan sensing in vivo to carbohydrate metabolism”, which are basically concise summaries of the Interbrand and Landor naming processes, respectively.

[ More posts about | More blogs about naming ]

Landorian Logic

With the unrelenting consistency of a Borscht Belt comic, naming and branding parody site Landor continues to go for laughs with a well worn schtick:

We developed the name Centravis to communicate the brand’s positioning as “the best of both worlds” and a balance between East and West

They’ll be here all week. Try the eel!

Blandor Says Blandor the Imponderable: That’s nothing. I remember when Fannie Brice, Paul Whiteman, George Jessel, Sophie Tucker and I first got into the name trade. We were all playing a two week gig in the Sour Cream Sierras when Sophie turns to Fannie and says:

” The new name, Enactus, was initially inspired by the idea of compounding “Entrepreneurial Action,” but it was created to transcend those roots and encompass the strong emotion that the brand evokes. The name encapsulates the intricate balance between youthful energy and a sophisticated stature that defines the organization. Enactus works as a call to action—it is an invitation to students to put their skills and education into action, and it is an inspiration for the socially responsible leaders of today to help cultivate the socially responsible leaders of tomorrow.”

Everybody plotzed!

More of Blandor’s rants here.

How to sell fish pie

company name
Thanks to Tom Whitwell of The Times of London, who waved this one under our noses first thing in the morning. Tom e-mails:

If you’re going to have a brand name like Eat Fussy, you have to be very careful which fonts you use.

Lower case was probably a good call…

“Mummy’s Favourite”. We’re sold.

[ More posts about | More posts about | More blogs about naming ] | More blogs about product names ][ More about company names ]

Green is the new Yellow

company names

Actually it’s better than Yellow, naming-wise. Usually, we would advise against using the word “Green” as a modifier to a business name as a way of conveying “echo-friendly”. It’s done so much that Green noise becomes White noise. It’s hack naming, and only appropriate for hacks, hence Green Cab of San Francisco.

It’s the perfect name for a cab company comprised entirely of hybrid vehicles’, and it also leverages the until now untouchably iconic Yellow Cab brand against itself. Nice. And success is guaranteed by the fact that by simply calling Green Cab instead of Yellow, the customer feels like they have done something honorable.

(415) 626-GREEN


Crochet cachet

Of all the fetish magazines on the market, this one makes us feel the naughtiest. Crochet Fantasy, by virtue of its absurd name, has made the mundane oddly compelling. And disturbing. And sublimely subliminal.

Simultaneously squeaky clean AND tawdry. It’s so bad, it’s good. Perfect.


Or maybe it’s just our predilection for coarse, mustard-colored yarn…


[ More posts about | More blogs about naming ] [ More posts about | More blogs about naming products ]

Two great product names

The first, “Plastic Surgeon” comes to us by way of Gizmodo:

The Plastic Surgeon, a cutting tool to open those plastic blister packs that dominate retail packaging. It’s shaped sort of like an old-school can opener (the non-turning kind), and is designed to rip the tip off of clamshell packs by slicing all the way around.

This is a perfect consumer product name, it is descriptive AND evocative at the same time AND it is a play on words, giving it multiple associations AND it is a well known phrase, making it instantly memorable and viral. For comparison, a competitors product is named “OpenX”. It’s no contest.

The second is FUBAR, a demolition crowbar from Stanley. Again this one is descriptive in that it contains the word “bar”. It is evocative in that FUBAR has a secondary meaning AND that secondary meaning also maps to the desired result of using the FUBAR.

Nokia announces “Evolve” today, named by Igor (natch)

Via CNN:

At the annual Nokia World conference today, Nokia outlined its vision for the mobile industry, predicting rapid change driven by the convergence of mobility and the internet, and the need for the industry to make an increasing contribution to environmental sustainability…

…This was against the background of the launch of the Nokia 3110 Evolve, a mobile device with bio-covers made from more than 50% renewable material. The device is presented in a small package made of 60% recycled content and it comes with Nokia’s most energy efficient charger yet, using 94% less energy than the Energy Star requirements.

More of Igor’s work with Nokia.

Igor’s latest naming work with Nokia

naming companies nokia arteIntroducing the Nokia Arte and the Arte Sapphire, both named by Igor.

Just in time for Christmas, the entry level Arte makes the perfect stocking stuffer and will only set you back $1475.00 U.S.

Via dialaphone:

The 8800 ‘Arte’ and the 8800 ‘Arte Sapphire’ are the two new models in question, easily differentiated by colour, the ‘Arte’ is black and the ‘Arte Sapphire’ is brown and by the whole sapphire mounted in the centre of the ‘Arte Sapphire’s’ D-pad. Both are 3G phones and have 3-megapixel auto-focus cameras and a massive 1GB of internal memory! Their elegant slider design helps maintain a fuss-free front panel, broken only by the D-pad control and inside the flashy box, a linen-lined pouch to keep your phone safe and warm and a Bluetooth headset can be found.

As always, it’s the special touches that make the duo stand out. For example, a couple of taps on the steel fascia wakes the clock up on the display, which also has something called ‘living wallpaper’, first seen on the Nokia 7900 Prism (pictured below), which changes and adapts to time, battery power and signal strength. The coolest new feature has to be the ability to silence you ringing phone simply by turning it face down on the table! To further set these two apart from Nokia’s more run-of-the-mill phones, they feature exclusively created videos, sounds and ringtones.

As with the previous Nokia 8800 phones, the ‘Arte’ pair are constructed using the highest quality materials and have a special fingerprint retardant coating on the panels, with the ‘Arte Sapphire’ going one better by having a soft-touch Indian Goat-hide covering too! One can never accuse Nokia of not thinking differently!

Some of Igor’s previous work with Nokia can be seen here.

Really Crappy Food

A popular restaurant in Tapei, named “Modern Toilet” serves up hot and steamy food in a unique kind of bowl Via IgoUgo:

Eating here was a very unique dining experience to say the least. You are seated at a bathtub (your table) surrounded by toilets (your seats). Your food comes in your own sizzling toilet bowl with a little “poop” on the side. I had curry chicken which came with a side of vegetables, soup, and rice. Dessert of ice-cream comes in a squat toilet. Very fun place to eat and food was good for all less than $10!

The alternative title for this post was “Eat Shit”, but we don’t use potty talk on this blog.


In related culinary news, Landor is keeping with its tradition of going into hiding until the day after Thanksgiving. Can’t blame them for trying to save their necks.

Further reading about poop.

In Manhattan and can’t think of anything to do?

Yannick Murphy igorOr perhaps reading this blog has created in you a powerful hunger for words that read good.

Either way, our OLD, OLD friend Yannick Murphy will be reading from her latest novel, SIGNED, MATA HARI, this coming Wednesday night. The particulars:

Wednesday, November 14th 8:15 pm
Columbia University
Rm 413 Dodge Hall

Of special interest is that she will be reading with Diane Williams.

Last time these two shared the stage a really cool cat fight ensued.

Fingers crossed.

New CEO not a Dick

Via the Pittsburgh Business Times:

Dick Corp. restructuring brings new name, new owner into fold [sic]

Dick Corp., the region’s largest construction company, is planning a restructuring that will bring a new name to the family-owned firm and give a nonfamily member an ownership stake.
Instead of carrying the last name of co-chairmen David and Douglas Dick, whose family has owned Dick Corp. for more than 80 years, the firm is expected to introduce a new name, DCK Worldwide LLC, within the next few weeks, according to Nadine Lee, Dick Corp.’s marketing manager.

DCK stands for “Diversified Construction Knowledge,” according to an e-mail sent by a Dick Corp. executive to members of the local construction community. The e-mail also included an attachment with a new company logo. [entire article]

Nice spin, but “It’s a shorter Dick” would have sufficed.

Twine, Igor’s latest naming work


As announced today at Web 2.0 in San Francisco and brought to you via Great Britain, the land o’ cheese and buggery:

Today, at the Web 2.0 Summit, Radar Networks is announcing an invitation-only beta test of its new “semantic web” application, Twine. The press release says:

Twine provides a smarter way for people to leverage and contribute to the combined brainpower of their relationships. “We call this ‘knowledge networking,'” said Radar Networks Founder and CEO Nova Spivack. “It’s the next evolution of collective intelligence on the Web. Unlike social networking and community tools, Twine is not just about who you know, it’s about what you know. Twine is the ultimate tool for gathering and sharing knowledge on the Web.”

It’s being touted as a The Start of Web 3.0 which is almost annoying enough to make me ignore it. However, Richard MacManus at Read/Write Web says “while the app isn’t ready yet for the public, I was impressed with what I saw in Nova’s demo.” He says:

The aim of Twine is to enable people to share knowledge and information. At first glance it is very much like Wikipedia, but there is a whole lot more smarts to the system. Spivack described it to me as “knowledge networking” — ie it aims to connect people with each “for a purpose”. It’s not based around socializing, but to share and organize information you’re interested in. Using Twine, you can add content via wiki functionality (there are many post types), you can email content into the system, and “collect” something (as an object, eg a book object).

[ More posts about ]

The Manning Awards

Manning.AwardsBorn in 1908 at Carnduff, Saskatchewan, Ernest Manning became the youngest cabinet minister in the British Commonwealth at the age of 26. His legendary common-sense approach to politics made him a popular favorite of the people as well as a formidable adversary in parliament.

His belief in recognizing the intelligence of the common person as well as his strong ideals of honesty, integrity and sincerity allowed him to retire undefeated, the longest serving elected leader in Canada’s history.

The Ernest C. Manning Innovation Awards program was named in honour of and under the patronage of this statesman whose own innovative ideas provided much inspiration during nearly half a century of public service.

Design Week Blasts Landor

Blasting Landor’s ridiculous work used to be a burden shouldered solely by Igor, but now the mainstream media has taken up the slack. Via Design Week:

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream – acquired by Unilever in 2000 – was a pioneer of faux-naif design, with its cartoon pictures of cows, clouds and daisies, smile-in-the-mind copy and child-like handwriting. Some see Innocent’s branding as an imitation of Pete & Johnny’s smoothies, which created the UK smoothie market in 1994 and adopted a Ben & Jerry’s, child-like style. Acquired by PepsiCo in 2005, the brand was renamed PJ Smoothies and relaunched with a cold, corporate look by Landor Associates, which failed to strike a chord with consumers.


The ABCs of Naming Diseases and Drugs

Impotence is now ED and painful bladder syndrome is IC/PBS. Naming specialists brainstorm to come up with innocuous acronyms for embarrassing diseases to be associated with name brand drugs.

And then, pharmaceutical companies have to come up with memorable names for drugs their customers can associate with those syndromes, and ask their doctors if it’s right for them.

For drugmakers, finding a name is more art than science.

It’s the job of drug consultants to create a name that’s not already taken, won’t lead to medical mix-ups and can help cut through the marketing clutter.

What makes a good name?

“A lot of it is more art than science,” said William Trombetta, professor of pharmaceutical marketing at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. “There are certain letters that express power and control, like Z, M or P. Other letters, like S, are more passive. Depending on what the drug does, you want to give the name certain features.”

Want to sound high-tech? Go for lots of Z’s and X’s, such as Xanax, Xalatan, Zyban and Zostrix.

Want to sound poetic? Try Lyrica, Truvada and Femara.

Want to suggest what it does? Flonase is an allergy medicine that aims to stop nasal flow. Lunesta, a sleeping drug, implies “luna,” the Latin word for moon — a full night’s sleep.

Then there’s Viagra, the erectile-dysfunction drug made by Pfizer. It uses the prefix “vi” to suggest vigor and vitality. The word rhymes with Niagara, suggesting a mighty flow.

“You know exactly what Pfizer (PFE) was trying to say with that,” said Andy Valvur, senior brand strategist at Igor, a San Francisco branding company.

Drug names can suggest, but under FDA rules they can’t come right out and make medical claims. That’s why you won’t see TumorBeGone or CureAll.

For the latest thinking on naming and branding in the pharmaceutical industry, there’s Better Naming Through Chemistry by Igor.

Naming and Branding in the News: 09.23.07

Steve Clarke in Variety

‘Blue Peter’ cat-naming vote rigged

Juliet Eilperin in the Washington Post

Auction to Name Fish Species Nets $2 Million for Conservation

John Russell in the Indianapolis Star

When naming a drug, it’s an inexact science

Jeff McDonald in the Register-Guard

Town of Sisters adopts brand logo to fashion new identity

Jessica Marshall in the KC Community News

Shawnee looks at city branding

Air India resurrects itself through re-branding

Newsrack India

Pink is now red as Hutch is Vodafone in India

Tim Pollard at Car Magazine

The grey area of green branding

Michelle Quinn at the Los Angeles Times

Dot-com names get dottier

Mary Ann Fergus at the Chicago Tribune

A year later, Field’s enthusiasts still fighting for name

Naming and Branding in the News: 09.16.07

Steve McKee in BusinessWeek

How Solid Is Your Brand?

BBC News

Aston Martin UK’s ‘coolest brand’

International Herald Tribune

After 25 years, USA Today plans to expand its brand beyond journalism

Juliet Eilperin in the Washington Post

New Species Owe Names to Highest Bidder

Andrew Adam Newman in the New York Times

Depilatory Market Moves Far Beyond the Short-Shorts Wearers

David Lazarus in the Los Angeles Times

Ad slogan is a subtle shift for Wal-Mart

The Telegraph

What’s in a name? A barrel of laughs


Style & Design: Global Luxury Brands Survey

Dark Chocolate

product naming IgorDeath By Chocolate” began as a wonderfully evocative, powerful product name. Circumstance has twisted it into a negatively descriptive name; the absurd has become literal, and non-warning warning shots have been fired. Via

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a warning on August 30 to ask consumers with allergies to walnuts not to eat Bella Cucina Death by Chocolate cookies.

The warning was issued after walnuts were found in the product without declaration on the label. Walnuts can cause life-threatening allergic reactions in people who are allergic to the nuts.

I dunno, seems like the name was fair warning.

Birth of a buzzword: Bacn

This item from today’s New York Times “What’s Online” column, Click if You Read This Column:

Saving Your Bacn Over the last week, a new Web 2.0 buzzword was born: “bacn.” Bacn is not spam; rather, it refers to messages — e-mail newsletters, Facebook friend requests, Twitter updates and the like — that are wanted but not needed. “Notifications you want. But not right now,” is the blogger Andy Quayle’s succinct definition (

By most accounts, the term was coined — or at least gained traction — during last weekend’s PodCamp Pittsburgh event (

On his blog, Eric Skiff offers possible solutions, which amount to smart e-mail filtering and personal discipline. “Once or twice a day while I’m taking a ‘brain break’ I’ll flip through my labels and take care of any pending friend requests, comments, and any other bacn that’s come in during the day,” he writes (

Already, a Web site,, has appeared to help “spread awareness” of bacn and to help people cope.

As bacn proliferates, it will likely become the new spam, making the whole idea of “bringing home the bacn” much less appealing.

Unsavory Palette / Palate

product name igorOnly twice have we predicted the demise of a product based on its name and brand positioning; Song Airlines and Gap’s Forth and Towne. We are confidant that the inevitable failure of Crayons juice drinks will put our record at 3-0. On the surface the name seems plausible – crayons are fun and multi-colored, much like these fruit drinks. But we all have the visceral memory of chewing on a crayon as kids, and well, not good. The final nail is the fact that the juice is even using Crayola design cues. Ugh.

What’s a soul worth these days? Ask Anthony Shore

Via PRNewswire:

Landor Associates, one of the world’s leading strategic branding and design consultancies, today announced the appointment of Anthony Shore to Global Director, Naming & Writing. Shore was previously Creative Director of Naming & Writing at the San Francisco office of Landor.

In 2006, Shore was charged with establishing and leading Landor’s first naming-oriented Global Knowledge Sharing Team to optimize processes and resources worldwide. This resulted in a significant increase in naming assignments and an advancement of Landor’s capabilities in this area.

Charlie Wrench, Chief Executive Officer of Landor, said, “Over the course of Anthony’s career with Landor, he has shown nothing more than absolute passion for his work and an increasing determination to transform Landor’s worldwide naming network into the most accomplished and catalytic group in our industry. I trust that in just a few years time, this goal will be reached and Landor will be recognized as the world’s leading naming network.

When asked about his goals moving forward, Shore said, “Developing great names for a global audience requires a deep understanding of many local languages and cultures. It also requires exceptional creativity and a strategic brand focus. My vision is to maximize the individual creativity and collective effectiveness of the two dozen brilliant namers Landor Associates has worldwide. With fantastic naming work, we provide a fantastic return for our clients.

Radar Love

Nova Spivak, CEO of Radar Networks, is off to Singapore. He is fulfilling a lifelong desire to meet, “date”, and marry the Singapore Girl from those old airline ads. His quest is akin to Borat’s longing for Pamela Anderson. The “Semantic Web (???)” hooha is just a desperate cover story. From his blog:

I’m sitting in the Dynasty Lounge in Taipei, en route to Singapore where I will be addressing around 100 ministers of the government there on the potential of the Semantic Web…

…We also chose a brand for our product, with help from the mad geniuses at Igor International. The new brand is SECRET but really cool — we love it, and you will too! We’ll be announcing the brand close to launch.

If you want to be invited to our launch and be one of the first to see how useful the Semantic Web really can be — sign up for our mailing list at — and feel free to invite your friends to sign up too. Only people who sign up will get on our waiting list. We already have around 2000 bloggers and other influencers pre-registered, and more are coming every day, so don’t wait — it will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. We’ll be letting people into the service in waves.

What’s the category killing product name going to be, or better yet, how do you cut through all of the Web 2.0 and 3.0 nonsense names and redefine the space with THE perfect name?

All we can say at this juncture is you MUST ignore ALL of Seth’s bad naming advice.

[ More posts about | More blogs about naming ] [ More posts about | More blogs about naming products ]