Snark Hunting features a quiz exploring the slick, opaque, and forgettable names that Landor Associates extrudes for its customers (e.g. Avolar, Midea, Avaya, Spherion, and Onity). (Thanks, WebWord)
As Snark Hunting says in an earlier piece:
Why do most naming and branding firms stink out loud? These days, asleep-at-the-wheel branding firms assign naming projects only three objectives:
1. Create consensus among the decision makers
2. Find a name that is trademarkable
3. Secure a reasonable URL
The missing step of course is branding, the most elusive step for branding consultants. That’s the one where the goal is to create an identity that supports a unique positioning proposition, differentiates the brand from its competitors, is memorable, interesting, evocative, a deep well for marketing and advertising; indeed, is an advertisement in and of itself.
They’re letting the customers off the hook. A lot of corporations don’t know what they are or what they do — let alone what they stand for. It’s easy to be sympathetic with the desire not to close off options, but this also leads a lack of focus that is obvious to our customers. Does your company know it’s own identity? Score your company’s home page:
- Subtract one point for every picture from a clip-art CD (two points if it’s of people in suits, three points if those people are seated around a table or talking on a phone). Add one point for every picture of a physical product, non-executive employee, or person using your product.
- Subtract one point for every use of the word “solution”, innovation”, “technology”, “values” or “community” and add one point for every mention of an actual product or service your company offers for sale.
- Imagine ten potential customers reading your home page. Add one point for each who could identify the industries that are the source of the majority of your firm’s revenue. Subtract one point for each who cannot.
- Imagine those same ten potential customers again. Add one point for each who can state definitively whether they fall into a clearly-defined category of customer (“small-business owner”, not “people who wear suits and talk on cell phones”). Subtract one point for each who cannot.
- Subtract five points if your home page features a Flash animation with moving words other than products, or identifiable industries; abstract geometric figures; or clip-art. Subtract another five points if it’s a splash screen.
Warning: this scale is not linear.