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Blog & news

News, views and trends…from the worlds of Branding and Naming.
  • Fantastic Brands and Where to Find Them

    January 23, 2017

    Would the movies ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and “Rogue One” have performed as well at the box office if J.K. Rowling and Star Wars were not endorsing these titles?    

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  • Modulating Your Brand’s Promise

    January 16, 2017

    There are many brands whose promise or promises are universally felt or received. Drink a Starbucks espresso and you’ll get a moment to yourself, a little breather, a minute to reflect, as well as a

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  • The Problem With Naming

    August 9, 2016

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  • Naming Strategies For Mergers & Acquisitions

    June 14, 2016

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  • The Ripple Effect

    April 19, 2016

    We like, buy and fall in love with brands because they provide benefits. Coke refreshes, Nike helps us win, and LinkedIn helps us to connect and cultivate our professional networks. But where do a bra

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  • The Value of a Great Naming Agency

    April 11, 2016

    When clients hire a naming agency, they often perceive that what they’re buying is names – name ideas that they probably couldn’t have thought of themselves. However, this doesn’t reveal the t

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  • Quickly Forgotten

    April 5, 2016

    The following things are forgotten 5 minutes after a decision is made about what to name a product, company or service 1. Any negative connotations or concerns with the name 2. Any other candidates th

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  • Three Simple Steps To Name Your Business

    April 4, 2016

    Click on the link after the blurb below to check out our founder’s interview at TED, talking about the basics of naming: Your brand name is probably one of the most important tools you have to s

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  • Naming for “peace of mind”

    March 7, 2016

    One of the key challenges in Naming is finding peace of mind in a decision. Too often, it’s easy to go back to the well, to keep exploring ideas, looking for the ‘B.B.D.’ (bigger better deal

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  • From the Archives: Forbes 1999

    March 4, 2016

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  • Life’s Good

    February 26, 2016

    “Do you know what LG stands for?” asked my 8 year old daughter while pointing at unusually large LG TV monitor at Mexico’s International airport. “Life’s Good” she confidently stated,

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  • Exogenic Shock

    February 2, 2016

    Brand name creation involves massive amounts of due diligence. Legal and trademark checks in all countries of use, along with linguistic and cultural checks to help ensure naming ‘fails’ don’t h

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  • Have you got the guts?

    December 4, 2015

    We live in a time where making decisions is probably harder than it’s ever been. The world is full of abundant choice. Need a hotel? no problem – there’s hundreds to pick from nicely org

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  • Defining Your Brand

    September 18, 2015

    A brand’s purpose is the highest-level definition of what it stands for and brings to the world. It provides: EMOTIONAL BULL’S-EYE Most importantly, you are looking for an emotional hook – What

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  • The Hardest Thing In The World (or the easiest)

    September 10, 2015

    Every day, around the world, millions of businesses are focused on innovation or new product development (NPD). Teams of people are steadfastly devoted to the search for the new, the different – loo

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  • Embracing Your Fun Side

    September 4, 2015

    In the 90s when I was first starting out my career, I remember brands being quite serious things. The common wisdom among ‘Important Marketing People’ was that brands had to be strong, aut

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  • Goodbye To Brand Fetishism

    September 2, 2015

    At the end of the twentieth century, brand consultants were largely obsessed with three main brand-related things – creation, consistency and control. Great efforts were taken to create brands (i.e.

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  • From Virgin To Vice

    August 28, 2015

    For a long time, Virgin was considered to be one of the most iconoclastic brands in the world. Sir Richard Branson’s desire to attack or assertively reject the cherished beliefs and institutions of

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  • Naming Clients I Most Enjoy Working With

    August 26, 2015

    LinkedIn CEO Jeff Wiener recently wrote an article entitled: ’The three qualities of people I enjoy working with’. It was a terrific post neatly summarized by a simple Venn diagram: I love Wiener

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  • No Tweaking Allowed

    August 21, 2015

    Not very long ago, the role of an editor was a title bestowed on experienced writers capable of making smart copy changes to improve story ideas, flow and readability. Today, of course, we’re all ed

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  • G is for Alphabet

    August 11, 2015

    Google is Dead, Long Live Alphabet As a man who makes his living using the alphabet to create unique and ownable brand names, yesterday’s news that Google had created ‘Alphabet’ – a new holdin

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  • Those Days Are Gone

    April 21, 2015

    A long time ago, the business world seemed much simpler.  And that’s because it probably was. Generally speaking there were fewer competitors, along with higher barriers to entry, lower access

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  • YouVisit expands from virtual college tours into hospitality, real estate

    March 4, 2015

    YouVisit (named WANT Branding in 2012) began as a college startup that offered virtual college campus tours. But now the Aventura company has expanded into several industries, adapted its technology f

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  • Two Conflicting Forces

    February 3, 2015

    One of the central challenges of naming brands is that it brings together two conflicting forces. First, the desire to communicate something – usually a key benefit – about the product, service co

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  • Naming: A 99% Failure Rate

    January 23, 2015

    When you think about it, there aren’t too many businesses in the world where the failure rate on production is close to 99%. But that’s exactly what happens in the world of naming. Virtual

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  • 15 Questions For Brand Owners in 2015

    January 12, 2015

    Happy New Year! Go ahead and answer these 15 simple brand building questions. If your answer ‘No’ to any of them give us a call, we’d love to share more about our work and services a

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  • The 3 Components Of Logo Design

    November 11, 2014

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  • The Future Of Naming

    October 27, 2014

    With such a grandiose blog title, you might expect a long ponderous missive or even a book, as I look longingly into a crystal ball for deep, profound answers. Yet, the future is very clear, very simp

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  • Security vs. Trust

    October 22, 2014

    While on the road this week in San Francisco, I met up with an old friend who works at a Silicon Valley startup focused on cloud based storage for the enterprise segment. Prior to joining his current

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  • The Rolex Way

    September 24, 2014

    A wonderful succinct brand manifesto from Rolex. What’s your brands “way”?

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  • Shots!

    September 19, 2014

    Boiling down the central idea of these tequila brands:

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  • Virtual Reality

    September 10, 2014

    With only about 250,000 words in the English dictionary, it’s no surprise that companies try to ‘invent’ new names. In addition, these made up ideas have a greater chance of being le

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  • Name of the Week: Knee Defender

    September 5, 2014

    In truth, this post is a week too late but the story lingers on. In case your newsfeed has been focused on ISIS, iCloud celebrity photo stealing, or Joan Rivers, I’ll fill you in… On Aug 2

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  • The World’s Your Oyster

    September 3, 2014

    The car industry has always been a trove of insights around Naming, and BMW’s foray into electric car industry caught my eye this week. The new BMW i3 as it’s called isn’t a particul

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  • Not A Laughing Matter

    August 29, 2014

    In the world of branding, Naming is often seen as the fun, creative, playful part of it. It’s that time when we can let your hair down, lean back in your chairs, be a bit less “strategic&#

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  • Descriptive Invented Names

    August 27, 2014

    Name categorization is usually a relatively straightforward process and most brand names can be easily bucketized into one of about 7 different name types. For instance, IBM is clearly ‘acronymi

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  • Ultimate Plus

    August 21, 2014

    Carwashes these days have a dizzying array of choices and washes at various price points. A carwash I went to on Sunday had 6 different options the ‘best’ two being Ulitimate and Ultimate

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  • The Problem With Acronyms

    July 29, 2014

    Is that they are meaningless unless a brand has built substantial equity in a meaning (IBM, GE). Accordingly, any new brand that has an acronym must help consumers by explaining its derivation.

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  • Airbnb

    July 25, 2014

    Over 6 million guests used Airbnb in 2013, and 2 million of them were American. Travelers and hosts hail from over 175 countries, and Airbnb added 250,000 properties in 2013. This week the company l

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  • The Comfort Paradox

    July 23, 2014

    As this blog has written about on many occasions, there are a multitude of challenges in naming projects. One of the biggest is a client’s ability to find ‘comfort’ in a name choice

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  • Any Color You’d Like…

    July 18, 2014

    …as long as its black. I was reminded of Henry Ford’s famous quote about his Model T car in the 1920s this week when Air New Zealand took delivery of it’s striking black colored Drea

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  • Naming – A 50/50 Collaboration

    July 16, 2014

    Once a client has made a decision to hire a naming agency, there is often a misconception that clients can now sit back and wait to be wowed with a bunch of creative name ideas. Well, that’s onl

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  • Ones That Got Away…

    June 13, 2014

    Some companies/products truly benefit from some naming help…

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  • Evolutionary Vs. Revolutionary Name Changes

    June 4, 2014

    Evolutionary Vs. Revolutionary Name Changes

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  • I Sometimes Wish…

    May 30, 2014

    …that all agency briefs could be this simple:

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  • The Emotional Purchase

    May 28, 2014

    The emotional purchase

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  • Quantum vs. Quantum vs. Quantum

    May 22, 2014

    UPS Quantum View Duracell Quantum RCI Quantum of the Seas … Same name, different product areas. Therefore, these names manage to peacefully co-exist.

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  • Name of the Week: Healthalicious

    May 2, 2014

    It’s been a bad week for Rep Michael Grimm (R-NY). The Staten Island Republican was arrested Monday morning and pleaded not guilty to a 20-count federal indictment. He was released on $400,000 b

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  • Names & Storytelling

    April 25, 2014

    Brands often like to state their name on the front of packaging and then tell their story on the back. By contrast, Rufus Teague – a ‘craft’ brand of BBQ sauce puts its name and story fr

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  • Shifting Perception By Turning Descriptive Names To Acronyms

    April 18, 2014

    Reading about all the hoopla around the new season of AMC’s Mad Men this week got me thinking about acronyms and their derivations, and more significantly, how firms use them to shift perception

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  • Wally Olins RIP

    April 16, 2014

    Wally Olins, who in my mind was one of the true pioneers of brand consultancy, has died at the age of 83. Here’s my favorite quote from Wally’s book ‘On Brand’ “Only the

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  • Name of the Week: Point72

    April 4, 2014

    It’s hard to open the business pages of the newspaper these days without seeing an article on SAC Capital – the hedge fund owned by billionaire investor Steven A. Cohen. Based on insider tradi

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  • Name of the Week: Titanfall

    March 14, 2014

    Not that we’re big fans here of first person shooter games, but tip o’ the hat to Respawn Entertainment & Electronic Arts for creating ‘Titanfall’: a bold suggestive-compos

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  • Decision-Making Rights vs. Information Rights

    March 4, 2014

    The new company is ready, that new innovation you’ve tested is waiting for launch, that revolutionary new service is primed for its first customer. Now, what are you going to call that new company,

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  • Taking The Pledge

    February 24, 2014

    Naming projects require a pledge from both sides. A commitment from us, the agency, but also, a commitment from you, the client. The agency’s job is to… 1. Create strong, appropriate, memorabl

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  • Brand As A Source Of Light

    February 19, 2014

    Marketers often talk about “projecting” a brand image much like a source of light projected to the outside world. Companies would like the light to be pin-point sharp and laser-focused so the outs

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  • Legal 101

    February 11, 2014

    What’s the hardest part of the naming process? For some it might be coming up with viable name ideas in the first place. But, for most people, overcoming trademark obstacles is the hardest facto

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  • Where You Won’t Find Your Name Idea

    February 7, 2014

      There are 250,000 words in the English dictionary and over 2 million trademarks. While names like Visa, Sprint, Apple, Caterpillar and Oracle make wonderful brand names, there just aren’t

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  • Analysis Paralysis

    February 5, 2014

    The trouble with naming projects is that there’s always a danger of over-analyzing name candidates. Second guessing, pulling apart, looking for the issue, trying to find what’s not to like

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  • Beyond Ultra Premium

    January 15, 2014

    Ciroc UltraPremium vodka Epson UltraPremium photo paper (UP) UltraPremium Extra Virgin Olive Oil Natural Balance UltraPremium dog food Valspar UltraPremium paint Serta UltraPremium super pillowtop mat

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  • Name As Shorthand For Positioning

    January 8, 2014

    Names not only serve to identify a product or company, they can embody the brand’s positioning (how the brand wants to be known). We worked on Cingular back in the late 90s which was derived fro

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  • Hospitality, Normalcy & Performance

    January 6, 2014

    Watching Apple’s terrific holiday ad this week [YouTube] got me thinking about one of the most enduring themes brand owners employ to create difference, appeal and desire.  I’m talking ab

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  • Some Of This Actually Happened

    January 3, 2014

    According to Wikipedia, there were 211 movies made before the year 2000 that were based on actual events.  Since 2000, there have been 221 movies created around true stories. Whether at the start of

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  • Better, Not Bigger

    December 30, 2013

    One of the things that differentiates WANT from almost every other branding firm is that we’re not trying to grow as big as possible. Many brand consultancies talk about having thousands of empl

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  • With A Name Like Smuckers It Has To Be Good

    December 23, 2013

    We’ve all seen the ads and the infamous tagline. What irks me is that the tagline feeds into the conventional notion that names should be more elegant or descriptive about what the product is. S

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  • Branding Pornography: Al Goldstein

    December 19, 2013

    Great obit in today’s NY Times on Al Goldstein, the maverick creator and publisher of Screw Magazine. This blog regularly talks about the notion of how great brands must stand for something to s

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  • You Do What You Love, Or You Get Arrested

    December 18, 2013

    In an age of supermodels and celebrity and obvious selections for spokespeople, it’s always fascinating when some brands make unexpected choices. Examples such as Lou Reed for Parrot Zik headpho

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  • 1800 and Rising

    December 16, 2013

    “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster” (Henry Hill, Goodfellas) We’ve had the great pleasure to work with the folks at Proximo on the 1800 brand for severa

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  • Time Kills Deals

    December 11, 2013

    About a decade ago, I was working with a prominent NYC VC firm.  One of the principals – and a consummate dealmaker – was fond of using the axiom ‘time kills deals’. Whether you’

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  • Customer Intimacy

    December 9, 2013

    Coldplay Live 2012 is not your usual live DVD concert.  Live songs are interspersed with close-ups of fans, introspective commentary from the band on tour, Chris Martin (Coldplay’s lead singer)

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  • Power of Alliteration

    December 5, 2013

    Like Ronald Reagan or Marylin Monroe there’s something about alliteration that makes names memorable. The word alliteration comes frome the Latin ‘ad littera’ (adding a letter). Alli

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  • Introducing “Visual Positioning”

    December 3, 2013

    We’ve written before about the value of brand positioning – a concise verbal articulation of the brand. Brand positioning is an essential foundation for new brand creation or brand evolution s

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  • Name of the Week: Misery Map

    November 27, 2013

    As Thanksgiving begins and travelers on the east coast deal with a Nor’easter, a quick tip o’ the hat to the folks at Flight Aware who’ve created what they call ‘Misery MapR

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  • Movie Studio As Brand: Hunger Games

    November 26, 2013

    On Friday morning’s CNBC ‘Squawk on the Street,’ it was noted that Lionsgate’s “brand” would benefit from the new release of the latest ‘Hunger Games’ m

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  • Fly Beyond

    November 22, 2013

    Since single handedly creating the Ultra Premium vodka segment in the early aughts, Grey Goose has been surprisingly silent in terms of advertising over the past few years. In some respects, it didn&#

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  • Deposit Or Withdrawal?

    November 21, 2013

    There’s an old adage that says branding is like banking… Everything brand owners do is either a deposit or withdrawal. Which makes it essential that every brand and customer touchpoint is

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  • Detroit

    November 19, 2013

    Look, if you had, one shot, or one opportunity To seize everything you ever wanted, one moment Would you capture it? Or just let it slip, yo — Eminem – Lose Yourself Detroit is back…

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  • 4 or One

    November 18, 2013

    PlayStation and Xbox are both launching video game consoles this week. Each brand has chosen a slightly different branding approach to convey its new evolution. PlayStation uses a simple number scheme

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  • The Parallax View

    November 18, 2013

    The term ‘parallax’ is defined as a “an apparent change in the direction of an object, caused by a change in observational position that provides a new line of sight”. The idea

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  • Name of the Week: SpringBlade

    November 15, 2013

    The footwear category appears to be a fertile area for naming these days. We’ve written previously about Nike’s Hypervenom line. Now comes Adidas Springblade. This shoe’s “…i

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  • Where’s Your Courage

    November 14, 2013

    A few weeks ago, Sir Alex Ferguson sat down with Charlie Rose to talk about his 20 year career as the head coach of Manchester United football club. Rose asked Ferguson: “What makes a great socc

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  • The Power of Being Counterintuitive

    November 4, 2013

    Human beings tend to be rational–they stick with the tried and true, and tend to be discomforted by pushing the envelope. Yet, some brands, in a desire to stand, out exhibit the balls to do some

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  • A Closer Look At Abstract Names

    October 28, 2013

    Abstract names are generally defined as those ideas that have no meaning to average consumer. They do not describe, suggest or associatively connect to the company, product or service. As such, they a

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  • Hotel Naming

    October 23, 2013

    We’ve done our fair share of hotel naming over the years: The Cosmopolitan, MGM Resorts, Aria Resort, Downtown Grand, The Bellagio (naming strategy) just to name a few (pun intended). What’

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  • International Names

    October 21, 2013

    With name creation so challenging these days, it’s not surprising many companies pull out their language dictionaries to find unusual (and legally viable) names. Hulu means ‘gourd’ i

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  • Good, Better, Best

    October 16, 2013

    As brands get more sophisticated and expand their appeal to meet the needs of different consumers, brand-owners must create nomenclature systems to help differentiate and to help customers determine i

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  • Welcome to the world of streaming music…

    October 14, 2013

    Bose recently unveiled its latest audio technology–streaming music. A new way to listen to music anywhere (or everywhere) in your house. We helped Bose develop a name for this technology. After

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  • Name of the Week: Volcano Yellow

    October 12, 2013

    With car marketing, hype is an essential part of the brand mix. This column has previously discussed Acura’s novel, LED “Jewel-Eye” headlights. Now, color seems to the next territory

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  • Himalayan Cataract Project

    October 10, 2013

    WANT created the brand positioning (Restoring Sight, Saving Lives Worldwide) for this NGO that performs cataract surgeries in developing nations to help restore the gift of sight. Find out about this

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  • Ambition Vs. Truth

    October 8, 2013

    Brands need to balance the right amount of ambition, aspiration and truth. Truth is important. Brands need to be believable. With this in mind, why is Emirates running an ad suggesting that a typical

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  • Name of the Week: Never Lost

    October 4, 2013

    During a business trip this week, I had to rent a car from Hertz. Inside the car was Never Lost – Hertz’ proprietary navigation system. When it comes to naming, a lot of marketing folks like t

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  • What Problem Are You Solving?

    October 2, 2013

    Brands are often guilty of talking too much about themselves, about who they are, what their attributes are (300 horsepower, 15% more peanuts!), what they do (we’re a design company), etc. Somet

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  • Naming System For EmblemHealth ACA

    October 1, 2013

    In addition to our work with EmblemHealth (we created the name and branding for a merged entity of 4 NY-area physician practices), we also helped them create a naming system for their ACA healthcare p

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  • Breaking Brands

    September 28, 2013

    With Sunday’s impending series finale of the AMC show Breaking Bad, it got me thinking about the conventional notion that all things eventually must come to an end. Yet, when it comes to brands,

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  • Name Of The Week: Carfirmation

    September 27, 2013

    There are times when invented names can be a little cringe-worthy but there’s something mildly appealing about what Hertz calls “Carfirmation”. The name transforms the mundane act of

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  • Car Names & History

    September 21, 2013

    Marie Antoinette once said “there is nothing new except what has been forgotten”. I thought of this quote this week when Ford unveiled it’s new ‘Vignale’ car this week at

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  • When Good Is Great

    September 13, 2013

    Branding is often talked about in terms of superlatives. Conventional wisdom almost stipulates that brands must be unique, amazing, out-of-this-world, extraordinary, in order to be different enough fr

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  • Luxury Branding Doesn’t Have To Be So Serious

    September 5, 2013

    Most luxury or premium brands get so focused – and high minded – about how good their product or experience is, they forget to have a sense of humor or less serious side. In Miami, there’s a

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  • Peaceful Coexistence

    September 2, 2013

    In 2012 we worked with Royal Caribbean to name its two newest ships. The two resulting names, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas were announced earlier this year. Last week, Duracell, the vene

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  • Avenir plan for Vavrus Ranch includes 7,600 homes

    August 31, 2013

    South Florida Business Journal –  article announcing a new development project we recently named

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