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Naming Strategies: Science Or Horseplay?


“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Shakespeare makes a strong case for naming strategies as he propounds the idea of Juliet’s inherent beauty despite her cursed last name. And there is a lot to learn from this thought experiment proposed by Big Will himself.

From a branding standpoint, names can often make your campaign, but not necessarily break it.  Here at The Bullet, we believe that if you have a strong product, it will prevail no matter how atrocious the name is.

But hey, don’t trust a tip unless you hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. And horses are a great place to start.

The history of horse racing is littered with crappy names. Every year, 60 000 names are submitted to the racehorse naming rights authority, The Jockey Club. Of those entries, nearly one third are rejected – mostly because the names are already taken, not because they’re ridiculous.

These names go from ‘Beef Or Salmon’ to the even more outrageous like ‘Bodacious Tatas’. I mean, the list goes on: Slumpbuster,  Whatamichoppedliver, Odor In The Court, That’s Whatshesaid, etc. You get the point.

Beef Or Salmon actually happens to be a highly decorated racehorse, winning 10 Grade One races at the international level. This goes to show  that a name is a name is a name.  If you’ve got yourself a thoroughbred of a product, the name could enhance the brand, but it won’t take away the quality of the product.

Take ‘Adidas’ for instance, a combination of the founder’s name, Adi Dassler. To an unsuspecting passerby, the name means absolutely nothing. Yet, they have propelled themselves to the forefront of the sporting industry by product merit alone.

Of course, this is not us condoning mindless naming strategies – at the end of the day, the best names hold its own and tells the story by itself. But we are saying that you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it.

If people are willing to live at Golden Shower Apartments in Malacca, they’ll probably be fine with whatever name you come up with.

Is your brand making a name for itself?

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