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New Merger Mania Faces New Mirrors On The Wall

By: Naseem Javed

Naseem Javed is recognized as a world authority on Corporate Image and Global Cyber-Branding. Author of Naming for Power, he introduced The Laws of Corporate Naming in the 80s and also founded ABC Namebank, a consultancy established in New York and Toronto a quarter century ago.

As mergers start to take off, realignment of these newly stirred corporate philosophies must be properly captured and correctly projected through their new corporate name personas to ensure long term investorís confidence in turbulent marketplaces.

First, we must know precisely how corporations and their branding tackle new names germination. The following are the three main principals often applied at great costs resulting at times even more questionable looks than they originally started with. The real big question is not how, rather why?

One: Small Naming vs. Big Branding...The naming isnít as important as branding.
Here, forget the Laws of Corporate Naming, pick a name out of a hat, big branding, big advertising and big spending will take care of the rest. Wrong.

There is no longer surplus money available to buy every billboard or TV spot in the country. Bottom less budgets are only Utopian dreams of agencies. The concept that any name in the customerís face 24/7 will surely win is almost like spelling bankruptcy. Contrary to belief, naming is not a creative exercise, rather a black & white process of The Laws of Corporate Naming. It is a simultaneous application of highly strategic and tactical skills, demanding authoritative knowledge of global marketing, languages, perceptions, connotations, trademark laws and cyber rules of domain care. Graphic designs are critical and must follow a name over a long period. Not in reverse.

Two: Sobriety vs. Silly Name...creative names will win the hearts.
Here, catchy, funny, silly names will catch the eye. Create a very expensive short-term hip-hop dance. Wrong.

Hit and run naming has already left a very bad taste among companies, customers and media. With hundreds of high profile naming failures all over the world there in now an urgent need to fix the lost credibility of naming capabilities of big branding agencies.

Three: Just Change vs. Just Join...why change, why rock the boat, why not join.
Here, let's play both sides of the merged parties, let's tell a slightly alternating story each day, sooner or later, the world would look at us as one big happy company. Wrong

True, itís very hard at times to find even greater and better names than the original legendary merged icons. This is because there never was a correct naming process in place and the only hope was to randomly pick from a list of 10,000 names, compiled by some sub-contracted, freelancers. The prudent and astute boards of the two merged giants often have no other choice but to reject such ad hoc choices. Join the names, they say, end of story. The merged corporations suffer and bleed their marketing efforts in dual personalities and external image struggles.

It is a false rumor that all good names have been taken.
Corporations were led to believe that all the 5-star-quality names were taken, and had no choice but to accept a silly, weird name. Nonsense. The same big agencies, which delivered world-class logos and great commercials somehow seriously, failed in naming. A false myth was created to cover the lack of skills, and serious naming was farmed out to skateboarding freelancers for a "buck-a-name" service. $1000 got you 1000 names. Where else would names like "Oinga" or "Boinga" come from? What ever happened to strange names like PurpleFrog or PinkRhino?

Chasing New Customers for New Products in New Markets With New Names Is Now the New Game
Suddenly, e-commerce has opened the gates to hundreds of new product ideas, new markets, along with hundreds of new competitors from all over the globe, all at the same time. The old Imperialistic, monolithically structured or the hit and run overly condensed names are in serious trouble. Super expensive collateral material is now being replaced by star quality global names and URLs. No name no game.

Two Quick Steps Analysis and Treatment....
The First step, most corporations have dozens of different names for print and for e-commerce as domain names often clashing with each other. Itís always better to have a few healthy, strong and globally protected names. Utilize the modern cyber e learning for this process and check out webinars on professional naming standards and issues. These naming webinars are quick and highly efficient to help you recharge your internal name management process.

The Second step, it is very easy to re-evaluate, reposition and rebuild the name identity of a product or service if you do so by using The Laws of Naming. There is a huge difference between a branding and highly specialized naming expertise. Once you have determined if a name is healthy, injured or on life-support, then something very constructive can be arranged... just like going to a doctor and fixing the problem.

Healthy names are always fit to run the race, so they cost less to promote, and promoting them builds huge brand value. Injured names cost 10 times more, and seriously hurt marketing efforts. Names on life-support simply die and no amount of advertising can save them. Corporate executives must tackle this in order to cope with the new challenges of new name-economy.

© copyright Naseem Javed, 2004

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