Category Of One28 Sep 2012
Naming a new product or service is arguably one of the toughest parts of branding. Difficulty in finding good, creative ideas, challenges in ensuring names are viable for use, and convincing team members to align and agree on a final idea are just a few of the challlenges.
Many companies often overlook the need for a descriptor or noun that follows the name and helps qualify what type of product or offer it is.
Most companies tend to pick a simple, generic descriptive word or two to follow their name, e.g. Kleenex tissues or Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Yet, some more enterprising firms have created more dynamic, fanciful descriptors.
For instance, luxury watch maker Bell & Ross don’t call their products merely ‘watches’, they call them ‘time instruments’. Meanwhile, Polar – which makes wearable technology to help runners and cyclists moniter time, and measure heart rate and fitness performance – call their products ‘training computers’.
Back in 1993, I helped to create a new category descriptor for for the first Mercedes-Benz 4×4 ML Class. While the product was essentially a sport utility vehicle (or SUV), Mercedes wanted to try to create it’s own category and deposition GM and Ford which already had several products on the market in this class.
The result: we created the descriptor ‘All Activity Vehcicle’ (or AAV for short) which helped to broaden the appeal of the product – especially for those not using the vehicle for conventional sports purposes. By doing so, the descriptor helped to make the car more appealing to the likes of soccer moms and for those that simply wanted more storage for families or big shopping trips to Costco.
With these fancy descriptors, Mercedes-Benz, Bell & Ross and Polar have not only created some added ‘talk value’ beyond the brand names, but also imbued their products with emotional and intangible value helping to underscore difference versus competitors.