Here comes Zinzin

Set your brand free. I have just launched a new naming agency, Zinzin, that creates powerful product and company names to propel and differentiate brands beyond their competition. We help elevate a company’s messaging above the generic brand chatter that clogs cultural discourse.

At Zinzin, we believe that creating powerful names is both a science, for which we have a rigorous, battle-tested process, and an art, for it is the art and poetry of great names that separate brands from their uninspired competition. Great names become brands that foster emotional engagement with their audience, and these are the names we are passionate about.

The Zinzin website has many features to help you get a handle on the naming process, including the Naming Guide and Manifesto PDFs available for free download.

Wordlab will continue to be a great free naming and branding resource for people and small companies who can’t afford to hire a naming firm. For companies in need of professional naming and branding services, Zinzin is here for you.

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @ZinzinLive.

Comment

101 Clichés in B2B Marketing

smashing a lightbulb extinguishing an ideaCourtesy of a British company with the uninspiring name IAS, here is their own “viral marketing” campaign called 101 Clichés in B2B Marketing, from the “Lightbulb” (#001) to “The cliché within a cliché” (#101). They plan to continue the vigil with reader submission into the great uncharted territory beyond “101”, so send them yours now. I just submitted one on behalf of Wordlab, and of course I couldn’t resist what should be obvious:

The numbered list in general is one of the most overused  marketing clichés (just look at any magazine cover), and for some reason 101 is especially popular. Did it get started with 101 Dalmatians? Can “101” still be such a magic number to capture the consumer’s attention if everything has been turned into a “101 Things” list?

I’m working on my own list: 100,001 really smart business decisions. I’ve got the first one (“Make a Big List”), but I’m stuck coming up with the other 100k. Perhaps Wordlabers can offer suggestions here in the comments.

Comment

Scratch and Sniff Marketing

Have a listen to Weekend America’s piece: Forget Ads, What’s Your Brand?, which chronicles the unconventionally successful marketing approach of Hollister Co., the $1.4B annual sales boost for parent Abercrombie and Fitch.

Almost every Saturday, 15-year-old Emily Erickson is at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. Most of its 500 stores don’t interest her, except Hollister, a clothing store for teens. Hollister is odd. It’s dark, with music so loud you can’t hear yourself shop. The air is filled with a deep citrus scent that stays on your clothes for hours. But Emily loves it and keeps coming back. Hollister’s “brand” invites her to become part of a particular tribe, and to show her allegiance by wearing its clothes. It’s part of the way that branding has taken over from traditional advertising. We hear from brand designer Joe Duffy about the concept of “brand” for clothes, kids and even countries.

…So Emily and Hollister have found each other. It’s not just about cute clothes. It’s about being part of group, your tribe, the people who care about the things that you care about, who think about the things you think about. Duffy says this has been part of a massive change in marketing. It’s becoming easier and easier to ignore and even avoid ads, so they have to speak to you in other ways.

A kinder, gentler brainwash? I can’t help thinking of Kramer’s beach scented cologne.
Comment

Managing Your Individual Brand

Big Brother is watching you.

You knew that.

But how about all the little brothers and cousins googling you from time to time?

“Everyone is an individual brand — the ‘you’ brand. If managed incorrectly, this can have negative consequences when it comes to getting a job, advancing your career or maintaining a positive reputation…” more….

So, can you remove unwanted search results about yourself from the search engines? It may be possible and there are steps you can take, but according to Leo Notenboom (Ask-Leo.com) it is pretty much a lost cause.

Think carefully then about profile information you attach to yourself online; screen names, interests, etc. If you jokingly listed a serial killer as personal hero in a forum profile several years ago or even if you gave yourself your a seemingly innocuous screen name like Skaterdude at some point, the information remains and can influence how a potential employer, co-worker, customer, mate, etc., might perceive you.

Be careful with your brand kids. It’s the only one you’ve got.

Comment

What Brand Means

“The link between brands and trust is strong,” says Charles Green, co-author of The Trusted Advisor, in the first Carnival of Trust at his blog, Trust Matters. There, Charlie points us to a recent post by Sun’s CEO Jonathan Schwartz, who writes this about what brand means:

The saying goes, “a brand is a promise.” On a personal level, I’ve always felt that statement was incomplete. A promise is the lowest common denominator of a brand – it’s what people expect. Think of your favorite brand, whether search engine or sneaker or coffee shop or free software, and you’ll know what I mean – a brand is an expectation. If you experience anything less, you’re disappointed. A promise seems like table stakes.

But a brand must go beyond a promise. To me, a brand is a cause – a guiding light. For fulfilling expectations, certainly, as well as dealing with the ill-defined and unexpected.

Read more here at Jonathan’s Blog.

Comment

Coca-Cola Slogans, Taglines, and Jingles

Coca-Cola’s new slogan, “Welcome to the Coke Side of Life,” is an attempt to make the drink more relevant to customers. Mary Minnick, Coke’s head of marketing, says, “We believe there are times or a moment in the day when only a Coke will do, and that is the framework for our advertising.” Not the greatest Coca-Cola slogan of all time, is it?

1886—Drink Coca-Cola
1893—The Ideal Brain Tonic
1904—Delicious and Refreshing
1905—Coca-Cola Revives and Sustains
1906—The Drink of Quality
1907—Cooling….Refreshing…Delicious
1908—Good To The Last Drop
1909—Drink Delicious Coca-Cola
1917—Three Million A Day
1922—Thirst Knows No Season
1924—Pause and Refresh Yourself
1927—Around the Corner From Anywhere
1929—The Pause That Refreshes
1930—Meet Me At The Soda Fountain
1932—Ice Cold Sunshine
1934—When It’s Hard To Get Started, Start With Coca-Cola
1935—All Trails Lead To Coca-Cola
1936—It’s The Refreshing Thing To Do
1938—The Best Friend Thirst Ever Had
1939—Whoever You Are, Whatever You Do, Wherever You May Be, When You Think of Refreshment Think of Ice Cold Coca-Cola
1939—Thirst Stops Here; Makes Travel More Pleasant
1939—Coca-Cola Goes Along
1941—Work Refreshed
1943—A Taste All It’s Own
1944—High Sign of Friendship
1945—Coke Means Coca-Cola
1946—Yes
1947—Relax With The Pause That Refreshes
1948—Where There’s Coke There’s Hospitality
1948—It’s The Real Thing! (First time this slogan was used.)
1950—Time Out For Coke
1950—Help Yourself to Refreshment
1951—Good Food And Coca-Cola Just Naturally Go Together
1952—Coke Follows Thirst Everywhere
1952—What You Want Is A Coke
1954—For People On The Go
1955—Americans Prefer Taste”
1956—Coca-Cola – Makes Good Things Taste Better
1957—Sign Of Good Taste
1957—There’s Nothing Like A Coke
1958—The Cold, Crisp Taste of Coke
1959—Be Really Refreshed
1962—Enjoy That Refreshing New Feeling
1963—Things Go Better With Coke
1970—It’s The Real Thing
1971—I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke
1975—Look Up America
1976—Coke Adds Life”
1979—Have a Coke and a Smile
1982—Coke Is It!
1985—We’ve Got A Taste For You
1986—Catch The Wave – Red White & You
1989—Can’t Beat The Feeling
1990—Can’t Beat The Real Thing
1993—Always Coca-Cola
1993—Taste It All
2000—Coca-Cola Enjoy
2001—Life Tastes Good
2002—All the world loves a Coke

“It’s the Real Thing” and “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” are two of the most memorable slogans that have helped to define the Coca-Cola brand.

“True Love and Apple Pie” was the title of the original version of the song released on the New Seekers album We’d Like To Teach The World To Sing after the commercial success of the advertising version, “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing.” The song was made famous in 1971 by the outstanding Hilltop ad campaign for Coca-Cola in which children from around the world, dressed in ethnic costumes on a hilltop in Italy, sang:

I’d like to buy the world a home and furnish it with love,

Grow apple trees and honey bees, and snow white turtle doves.

I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony,

I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.

The Hilltop ad campaign is regarded as one of the greatest television advertisements of all time, and is one of the highlights of the 50 Years of Coca-Cola’s Television Advertisements recorded by the Library of Congress.

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola reprised the “Hilltop” theme with a controversial ad campaign code-named “Chlltop” for the introduction of a new diet soda named Coca-Cola Zero. The introduction of the new slogan this week coincides with the announcement of a new Coca-Cola drink combining regular Coke and coffee, named Coca-Cola Blak.

There’s also a short chronicle of the first century in Coca-Cola’s creative history at allaboutbranding that’s a good overview. And, Snopes has lots of Cokelore, aptly described as “a collection of Coke trivia and tall tales sure to refresh even the most informationally-parched reader.”

Comment

Mercedes and alphanumeric car names

Oh Lord won’t you buy me a AMG Coupe CLK 55: Mercedes has long named their car models using alphanumerics. It’s a system we’ve commented on before that is used by most luxury automotive brands (save Rolls Royce) designed to direct the bulk of brand equity to the Mercedes brand name rather than to a particular model. It’s very effective when you need consumers to remember three basic concepts and one or two specialty offshoots. Audi and BMW get there with the 4|6|8 and 3|5|7 designations, respectively.

Mercedes, however, is trying to get consumers to associate alphanumeric labels with nine-plus different ideas.

The bare basics are: C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, CLK-Class, CL-Class, SLK-Class, SL-Class, M-Class, G-Class, with a sprinkling of AMGs, SLRs, CDIs and MLs tossed-in where needed for greater obfuscation. And those are just the alpha vegetables in the alphanumeric soup.

Here is the whole 36-car pile up: C230 Kompressor Sport Coupe, C230 Kompressor Sport Sedan, C240 Luxury Sedan, C240 Luxury Wagon, C320 Sport Coupe, C320 Luxury Sedan, C320 Sport Sedan, C55 AMG, E320 Sedan, E320 CDI, E320 Wagon, E500 Sedan, E500 4MATIC Wagon, E55 AMG, S430 Sedan, S500 Sedan, S55 AMG, S600 Sedan, CLK320 Coupe, CLK320 Cabriolet,CLK500 Coupe, CLK500 Cabriolet, CLK55 AMG Coupe, CLK55 AMG Cabriolet, CLS500 Coupe, CLS55 AMG, CL500 Coupe, CL55, AMG CL600, Coupe, CL65 AMG, SLK 350 Roadster, SLK55 AMG Roadster, SL500 Roadster, SL55 AMG, SL600 Roadster, SL65 AMG, ML350 SUV, ML350 SUV Special Edition, ML500 SUV, ML500 SUV Special Edition, G500 SUV, G55 AMG, and SLR McLaren 4MATIC.

The vehicles are priced between $25,850 and $452,750, and the names do nothing towards differentiating one from the other; so bye-bye “envy” sales factor. Why pay a hundred and fifty big ones for a car that everyone thinks cost thirty? That’s no fun.

Cadillac, in its quest to muscle Mercedes aside has jumped into the fray with the vehicle “names” ESV, EXT, ETS, SRX and XLR, basking in the image mingling.

The only people crazy enough to learn and love the distinctions between the Mercedes C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, CLK-Class, CL-Class, SLK-Class, SL-Class, M-Class, G-Class, AMG, SLR, CDI and ML spend the remainder of their time playing “Prince of Persia, Warrior Within” on the Xbox and aren’t likely to purchase a car without parental consent.

Here is how some of the hairs are split:

C-Class Overview
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class offers more value and choice than ever before with the most models and body styles to choose from, and MSRPs starting under $30,000.

E-Class Overview
Offering European sophistication and performance, the exhilarating Mercedes-Benz E-Class combines the best of sedan luxury with the comfort of a wagon.

S-Class Overview
The premier luxury sedan in the world, the S-Class is the unparalleled expression of elegance, technological innovation, charismatic styling and pure driving pleasure.

CLK-Class Overview
Available in both luxury convertible and pillarless coupe models, the CLK-Class is one of the world’s most desirable and exhilarating forms of pure driving pleasure.

CLS-Class Overview
The CLS-Class redefines what a coupe can be. It offers expressive style, poised performance, a 4-seat cabin, but with four doors.

CL-Class Overview
The CL-Class is not just a distinctive and exclusive leader in the luxury coupe market. With its intense performance and refined style, it demands to be driven.

SLK-Class Overview
From its muscular stance inspired by Formula One racing to its athletic performance, the SLK-Class roadster delivers aggressive sports car styling and an exhilarating driving experience

SL-Class Overview
The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is the latest incarnation of an unmatched automotive legacy, combining unrivaled technological excellence, passionate performance and timeless elegance into flawless perfection.

M-Class Overview
The M-Class is an ever-ready companion whose exemplary design, comprehensive safety features and unmatched versatility make it perfect for active and adventurous lifestyles.

On the edge of your seat for the Mercedes definitions behind G-Class, AMG, SLR, CDI and ML? Of course not — it’s too much work and there’s no reward — two things luxury should never be.

Comment