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Corporate Securities Info
Catchy business names

By Raul J. Palabrica Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:51:00 01/13/2011

Filed Under: Advertising, Marketing, mobile phones

MENTION THE word ?Starbucks? and the first thing that often comes to mind to people living in urban areas, both here and abroad, is coffee.

The world?s largest coffee-house company, Starbucks Corp., has a ubiquitous presence in countries that have sufficient numbers of coffee drinkers who can afford its pricey cost.

The company is reportedly named after the first mate of Captain Ahab of the ship Pequod in the novel Moby Dick written by Herman Melville.

So popular are the company?s brand name and logo that some of its customers felt bad when it changed its logo recently. The words ?Starbuck coffee? were deleted and the ?twin-tailed siren? figure was enlarged to become its sole corporate symbol.

The name recall and product identity that Starbucks currently enjoys may be traced, on top of its quality products, to the company?s choice of brand name.

In this age when companies fiercely vie for the customers? limited attention span, the name a business uses to identify itself or differentiate it from its competitors could spell the difference between red and black ink in financial statements.

No start-up business plan today is considered complete without an explanation of its chosen brand name and the manner it shall be presented to its target market to ensure maximum patronage.

Selection

In a recent issue, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that the days of accidental corporate names are over.

Unlike 10 or 20 years ago, ?to stand out in the overcrowded global marketplace, a company?s name must now be especially odd. Now, with 200 countries on the cyber-platform around the globe, finding the right name has become an expert?s field.?

Looking for the right corporate name in this digital age has become ?both art and science? in which some 50 naming companies are presently engaged in.

Some of the world?s most profitable corporations partly attribute their success to the selection of their brand names. Their names either evoke special feelings or sentiments, or are coined names that do not mean anything but are pleasant to the ear.

It is not enough that the name is easy to read, it has to have a certain ring that conveys the quality of the products it is selling.

A case in point is Blackberry, the favorite mobile phone of businessmen and politicians who want to keep in touch with their office wherever they may be or whenever they want to.

Blackberry is a catchy name because ?the B sounds relaxed, the Y is friendly reminiscent of Buddy and Betty, and in between are a series of short vowels which are crisp like the clicking of buttons.?

Name recall

The name of the drug that is considered the ego saver (and savior of marriages) of men suffering from erectile dysfunction, Viagra, was a product of careful selection.

With its target audience?s mindset as principal consideration, ?the strength of the product name is in the first two letters.?

?Vigor, vitality, virile and victory are all things that Viagra indirectly promises to deliver. Viagra rhymes with Niagara which is especially useful if waterfalls turn you on.?

The name of this non-prescription drug (although prior medical advice is encouraged) has become so popular that it is used to describe any product or activity that is touted to bring about a similar rejuvenating effect.

Bloomberg also reported that the ?double O? in brand names has a magic effect and this has been proven in the cases of Google, the most popular Internet search engine which is now worth $50 billion, and Oreo, the famous chocolate-and-milk cookie.

Google is a case of a spelling error that turned out well. The originally intended name was ?googol,? or the number ?1? followed by 100 zeros. The company made a mistake of registering that domain name on the Internet in the manner it is now written.

Who cares? Described as ?warm and human,? the name clicked and is now considered the generic word for research work done through the facilities of the worldwide web.

Branding

A US-based naming company said companies find some level of comfort in the double-O, as in Joost, Boost, Wakoopa, iSkoot and Qool.

The guiding principle behind this strategy is ?to put the double-O in the center, and then you drop one letter on the left and one letter on the right. Hopefully, it gives you some magic.?

In Oreo?s case, on the other hand, ?the real brilliance of the word Oreo is its symmetry. The bookending O?s nicely mirror the physical shape and structure of the cookie itself.?

Google and Oreo have gained such tremendous name recall beyond their target markets that they already have become common fare in crossword puzzles.

There is no limit, in terms of creativity, on the brand names that businesses can use to call attention to the products or services they want to sell to the public.

There are two caveats though in innovative corporate naming that our local companies should take into account in this regard.

Under the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a name that consists of symbols, punctuation marks or specially designed characters cannot be registered as a company name.

Neither will a company name, even if registered abroad, be allowed if it violates good morals, public order or public policy, or has an offensive or indecorous meaning in any of our official languages or major dialects.

So let the creative juices flow.

(For feedback, please write to .)



Copyright 2014 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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