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« The dark side | Main | Where to find great ideas and arresting images (for free) »

A dumb branding strategy

Jewelry Central is a really bad brand name. So are Party Land, Computer World, Modem Village, House of Socks and Toupee Town.

It's a bad brand name because Central or Land or World are meaningless. They add absolutely no value to your story, they mean nothing and they are interchangeable. "Here honey, I bought you these cheap earrings at Diamond World!" Not only are they bland, but you can't even remember one over the other. This is the absolute last refuge of a marketer who has absolutely nothing to say and can't even find the guts to stand for what they do. It's just generic.

The second reason this is an exceedingly dangerous strategy is that if you start to succeed a little bit, you suddenly want to protect your lame name. So you hire a lawyer and start to harass people for using the English language. So Computer Land sued Business Land (or maybe it was the other way around) and lost. Or consider the angry lawyer at Jewelry Village (or was it Central, I can't remember) who sent a letter to Squidoo complaining about an editorial (not a retail) page that used the phrase. There are more than 15,000 matches for this phrase in Google, which means he's got a lot of letters to send, and a lot of people to annoy. For what? Even if he manages to make a lot of noise, he's just reminding the world how generic the phrase is in the first place. Can you name one successful brand (except Pizza Hut and I think they succeeded despite the name) that managed to pull this off? [Yes, there's Central Market and IHOP and Radio Shack... thanks for the submissions. I'm going to argue that in each case, the name slowed down something else that was truly powerful...]

You can do better.

[other naming posts I've done: here, here and here.]

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A dumb branding strategy:

» Good branding, bad branding and porn from Business Development
Seth Godin wrote an interesting post today commenting on what he acidly describes as dumb branding strategy. Here's part of what he had to say: Jewelry Central is a really bad brand name. So are Party Land, Computer World, Modem [Read More]

» The Strangest Product Name Ever from bizsolutionsplus Featuring Solutions to Grow Your Business
Who would name a product or a company ooVoo, and why? Here's the scoop from the ooVoo web site: ooVoo provides a high-quality video communication service that delivers a more meaningful way for people to call and connect over the Internet. ooVoo’s tech... [Read More]

» The Importance of Effort from Naming Clement
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» Don't Pick a Dumb Name from Think Personality
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» Tony Morgan Thinks Your Branding Sucks from Church Marketing Sucks
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« The dark side | Main | Where to find great ideas and arresting images (for free) »