TMCnet - World's Largest Communications and Technology Community




puboutlook.gif (1628 bytes)
February 1999

The Right Name Is The Key To The Success Of Your Company Or Product


What's in a name? Plenty. In fact, the success or failure of a company or a product can often be linked to how attractive, easy-to-remember and meaningful its name is. To fully appreciate how important the name of a product or a company is, I will share with you some examples of how companies and products were revived from absolute failures to complete successes simply by changing their names. To maintain the integrity of the companies involved, I have decided not to mention names or products so no harm will be extended to anyone.

The Vital Role Of The Name Of A Product
During my second lecture tour of Japan, I had the opportunity to discuss with my Japanese colleagues the intriguing topic of how marketing in Japan differs from marketing in the United States. I recall that a professor of marketing from Tokyo University shared with me that an American company had recently introduced to Japan an exciting soft drink that was highly successful in the United States. Many bottles and cans of the product were produced and mass-marketed in Japan. The result was a complete failure. The American manufacturer of the soft drink conducted research to find out why. What they discovered was that the soft drink's name coincided with an event that usually is frowned upon in Japan both culturally and socially. The soft drink manufacturer immediately changed the product's name to one that is perceived very positively by the Japanese people. The sales flourished. The moral of the story is very simple - the name of the product is vitally important to its success.

The Importance Of The Name In The Success In A Company
Years ago, a small transportation company found itself going nowhere against its competition, so it conducted extensive market research to find out what its problems were. The research revealed that the problems were numerous and that customers associated many of those problems with the name of the company. (As a side note, I personally thought the name of the company gave the impression of a fly-by-night operation, particularly when I compared the company's name with the names of its competitors, all of which communicated prestige and respect to customers.)

Given the results of this survey, the company embarked on another market research campaign to try to find out what names customers liked. The campaign was very clever. It asked the question, "Which one of the following companies do you prefer to travel with?" The list of options offered included all of its well-known competitors as well as a number of fictitious names. Believe it or not, one of the fictitious names received as many votes as the best-known companies. Amazing, isn't it? The failing company immediately changed its name to the fictitious name. To make a long story short, that company is today among the top three companies in its class in the United States. (To be fair, the company also responded to its customers by making improvements to the areas they had expressed dissatisfaction with on the initial survey. It goes without saying that this also contributed to their success.)

A New Unbelievable Key To Success
In today's frenzy over Internet stocks, it seems that all you need to do is come up with any ordinary name and add "dot com" and have a good story to tell, and you can go far on Wall Street by taking such a company public.

Let us get ridiculous and make up a name for a company that fits the mold:

  • Company name: Garbagebin.com
  • Company mission: Dedicated to removal of garbage in the most scientific way, a process that will ensure that the company will never be profitable for the next ten years.
  • Company goes public: Stock prices soar.

Believe it or not, this is what is happening today on Wall Street. But don't forget the importance of the name. Practically all of the Internet stocks that are a success on Wall Street seem to have an imaginative, unusual and sometimes weird name that once you learn it, you never forget.

The Moral Of The Story
Before you come up with a new name for your company or for your product, make sure you do justice to it and give it a really good name. For your information, I recently surveyed my staff at ™C and I asked for the best names that they ever encountered for a company or a product. Here are a few examples of what they came up with:

  • AOL - American Online (Internet service provider)
  • Fin and Feather (hunting, fishing and sporting goods chain in the Midwest)
  • Wicks 'n Sticks (candle store)
  • Staples (office supplies)
  • 9 Lives (cat food)
  • Burger King
  • Pizza Hut
  • Taco Bell
  • Federal Express
  • Toys 'R' Us
  • Crazy Glue
  • Roto-Rooter
  • Mr. Shower Door
  • Fluffernutter
  • Devil Dogs
  • Home Depot (home improvement centers)
  • 1-800-Flowers (flower delivery)
  • Dunkin' Donuts
  • Aleve (pain reliever)
  • Comfort Inn (low-cost motel chain)
  • Costco (discount chain store)
  • Linens 'n Things
  • 3-D Bed and Bath

Some e-commerce companies:

  • eBay.com
  • dell.com
  • compaq.com
  • eToys.com

Hopefully, you will agree that the name of your company and product is vitally important.

A Strange Development That Really Does Not Make Any Sense
The extreme success of the bull market on Wall Street has created an alarming trend, particularly among companies involved in major acquisition programs. Here's an example of what I'm referring to. Company A acquired Company B, a well-known, highly respected leader in its field. Within a relatively short time, Company A terminated top executives and founders of Company B, as well as a large group of dedicated employees who were instrumental in the success of Company B. To make matters worse, they changed the name of Company B to one that is strange and highly undesirable. By so doing, Company A not only destroyed the fine reputation of Company B and its top executives, but they have now introduced a new name that is highly improper and does not say what they do. If that's not bad enough, the executives of Company A do not believe in advertising, promotions or marketing of the new name and what it stands for, let alone the mission statement of the new company.

The lack of experience of new management assigned to Company B along with lack of a track record (that was destroyed by the name change), not to mention the termination of the employment of top executives and key members of Company B that indeed made it successful in the first place, led to an absolute disaster for Company B. The result, Company B has had difficulty making ends meet and it is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Believe it or not, the above story is a true story and it is not the only one that I am aware of. I have witnessed too many of them and it bothers me to no end. I keep asking myself why so many companies do so many foolish things and pay for it so much only to break them apart and bring hardship to dedicated employees whose only mistake was to make Company B a successful business. Yes, it is mind-boggling, but it is happening over and over again. And if you ask me what is the new name of Company B, it is so ridiculous that I couldn't even remember even if I wanted to tell you. The question arises, how can you expect anyone to do business with you if they don't know who you are or they don't know what you do, and more important, why they should do any business with your company? Yes, unfortunately, these foolish things are the norm rather than the exception today!

A New Rule For The Jungle: The Inexplicable Success Of Those Internet Stocks
When sanity prevailed in the business community, the rule of business, like the rule of the jungle, was the survival of the fittest. In the corporate world, that meant the companies that were best managed and were most profitable always succeeded and outlasted all competitors. Right or wrong, the success of a company traditionally has been measured by its ability to produce continuously higher and higher profits, quarter after quarter. If the profits went up on a regular basis in line with Wall Street's expectations, so did the price of the stock. However, nowadays, the advent of Internet stocks has changed the rules of the jungle. It is no longer the survival of the fittest. In fact, you can almost call it the survival of the weakest. There are countless stocks on the NASDAQ today that show absolutely no profit and they are not even likely to be profitable in the near future. One such company that comes to mind actually loses $7.00 for each order it takes, so of course it cannot possibly be profitable under this condition. Yet, the stock of this company has risen to more than $400 per share. On the other hand, the stock value of some of the most well-established companies with billions of dollars of market capitalization and unsurpassed records of profitability and growth are around $100 per share, plus or minus a few dollars. This kind of "irrational exuberance," as the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Alan Greenspan recently called it, can only lead to disaster. Everyone seems to ignore the importance of the foundation of savvy investing when it comes to Internet companies.

Getting back to names, many of the Internet stocks, if you study them carefully, seem to have extremely attractive names such as Amazon.com, America Online, Yahoo, eBay, etc.

Please, by all means, send me your ideas or comments and constructive critiques about this editorial and tell me if you would like me to do a part two on this. Thank you and see you at CTI™ Expo Spring '99, May 24-26, 1999 in Washington, D.C.


Nadji Tehrani
Executive Group Publisher

Fortify Your Call Center Knowledge At CTI™ Expo

Once again, the staff of Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) has worked hard to make CTI™ Expo your prime learning forum for call-center-related topics. The editors of C@LL CENTER Solutions™ magazine and the engineers of TMC Labs have put together a call center conference program for CTI Expo Spring 1999 that will keep you on the leading edge of both call center technology (the Call Center Technology track) and management techniques (the People & Learning track).

Kicking off the proceedings on Monday, May 24, is the Pre-Conference Program. The featured Call Center Technology sessions will be: CTI Basics For The State-Of-The-Art Call Center; Optimizing Your Overall Performance Using Call Control; Developing And Refining Outbound Campaigns; Living Happily Ever After: The Marriage Of The Web And Call Center; and Your Help Desk Needs A Helping Hand.

The Pre-Conference People & Learning track will feature: Why Johnny Can't Sell - He Lacks Multimedia Training And Distance Learning; Workforce Management: Measure More, Manage Better; Ensuring Quality Across Communication Channels; Practical Approach To Profitable Outsourcing; and Addressing The Human Factor In Technology Upgrades.

The main CTI, Internet Telephony and Call Center Solutions Conference begins in earnest on Tuesday, May, May 25 and continues on Wednesday, May 26. As in past CTI™ Expos, we have gone all out to acquire the best keynote speakers in the industry. The Spring 1999 conference will feature must-attend keynotes by Peter Alexander, senior director, Enterprise Marketing, Cisco Systems, Inc.; James Courter, president, IDT Corp.; Barbara Reeder, vice president, Worldwide Marketing, Lucent Technologies; Tom Evslin, chairman and CEO, ITXC Corp.; and Dr. Peter Schiefer, vice president, Global Product Management, Call Center Solutions, Siemens AG, Germany.

The main conference will feature the following Call Center Technology sessions: Disaster Recovery - What To Do When The Lights Go Out; A Potent Call Center Combination: CTI + Internet; Torture-Testing Call Center CTI Systems; Strategic Technology Choices For Your Call Center; Why A PC-Based PBX/ACD Makes Sense For A Small Call Center; Routing By Customer Profile, Irrespective Of Media Type; The Call Center: Elevating E-Commerce Through The Human Touch; and Open Telephony Servers: The Future Mainstay Of Your Call Center.

The People & Learning sessions will be: Hiring/Training/Retaining Call Center Agents; Management Principles For The Call Center; Call Monitoring And Recording Systems; Agents Riding The Technology Wave Need A Life Jacket - Continuous Training; Performance Metrics For Evaluating Agents; Benchmarks That Define Happy/Satisfied Customers; Call Centers: Turning Hard Knocks To Fort Knox; and Effective Agent E-mail Communication.

As you can see, you can gain a complete call center education in just three days by attending CTI™ Expo this May. Plus, there are also the CTI and Internet Telephony sessions, which, like the Call Center Solutions sessions, will provide the same objective, noncommercial content you have come to expect from TMC's publications, C@LL CENTER Solutions™, CTI and INTERNET TELEPHONY™.

CTI Expo Spring will also have an exhibit hall that will feature over 400 exhibiting companies, a demo theater, and noncommercial learning centers devoted to Remote Access/Telecommuting, TAPI, CLEC/ISP Technology, Unified Messaging and Next-Generation Voice/Data Switches. As an added bonus, we have instituted the Consultant's Corner, where leading industry consultants will be available to answer your questions. For details on this jam-packed CTI™ Expo, visit www.ctiexpo.com. We look forward to seeing you in Washington, D.C. May 24-26.

Technology Marketing Corporation

2 Trap Falls Road Suite 106, Shelton, CT 06484 USA
Ph: +1-203-852-6800, 800-243-6002

General comments: [email protected].
Comments about this site: [email protected].


© 2024 Technology Marketing Corporation. All rights reserved | Privacy Policy