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Why Corporate Images Need More Than A Quick Face Lift

By Naseem Javed

As businesses start to get ready for the next up-cycle, new Names Identities and Images are underway. Big time branding failures and silly naming of the recent past taught marketers some key lessons. Here, is a quick guide to test any Name Identity in use or being planned for the upswing.

Recently, ABC Namebank completed a global survey. A list of 5000 major international corporations was compiled and each corporate name was analyzed for its marketing power, realistic image, ownership of the name and a dotcom URL and the trustworthiness of the personality of the name in four categories.

Suitability: How Truly A Name Describes Itself And The Nature Of It's Business.
When names are totally irrelevant to the business, they often mislead or confuse shareholders and consumers alike. This large group of corporate names is an interesting mixture of mumbo-jumbo, strange name identities, projecting weird, non-related, connotations, confusing and conflicting with the actual business itself. These types of names often appear to be intentionally deceptive about the size, quality or marketing reach of the corporation. Dressed up like Harlequins or sometimes as Charlatans with fancy logos, spinning circles, bright color schemes with shooting stars they only create fear and doubt among already burned investors. 83% Names Failed This Acid Test Of Name Suitability.

Personality: How A Name Stands Out Among Other Competitors With Honesty.
When names are borderline silly, nonsensical, overly creative, too trendy, projecting a short life expectancy, they scare everyone. This group of accidental names only makes fun of shareholders' money. Business can sometimes be all fun but corporate image making is a very serious business. 47% Failed.

Registrability: How The Corporation Globally Owns A Name With Its Identical DotCom. When names are tangled in trademark litigation worldwide they only become a liability and an expensive burden to the corporation, bleeding marketing and advertising dollars. Companies in this group each have hundreds or, at times, thousands of similar and identical names in the global marketplace. E-commerce, with all its vengeance, only crushes these names on search engines. Customers and shareholders can hardly find the right company at the right time. 85% Failed.

Respectability: How A Name Matches Its Real Image With Actual Goals And Results. When image is credible and matches the projected goals, shareholders feel comfortable and consumers trust the corporation. This small group of shining stars have one of a kind, unique, powerful, global name identity and image. The name clearly identifies with their goals and what they do. This creates respectability and clearly provides them with ongoing trustworthiness. 93% Failed.

How to re-build and re-gain customers and shareholders confidence with a trustworthy Name

Corporate image-makers and brand agencies have only hurt themselves by ignoring the correct methodologies required for proper naming. Agencies asking sub-contractors to hire skate-boarding free-lancers to do their brainstorming and run focus groups. Exercises to pool 5000 names over five months for few millions to come up with a PHOOFFS are finished. Extreme exercises with executives locked up in a boardroom, in the dark, each with a flashlight, making letter signs to form words while the other half tried to decipher, now lost in the darkness along with their OINGA, BOINGA names. If this is the end of logo design then what's the future for Corporate Identity Services? Yet, this offers a great leadership opportunity for providing well-executed name identity, under the guidance of "Masters of Naming Architects". After all, there never was a shortage of great names just lack of expertise and wisdom.

How Cyber-Branding created this new Name-Economy  
Today, itís all about business names and their high visibility on global e-commerce, instant accessibility on the net, quick search-ability on the web, distinct memorability of names by overly strained populace, easy typability by tired fingers, and pleasant vocalization of such names and brand experiences by the customers all over the world. 

This new name-economy is now the new driver of commerce and it is the only boost to the global engine of cyber-branding. At this second, business names are skating at bullet speed on this flat new earth, without borders, passports or time zones. No delays, no barriers, no major costs, just access. The name identity of a business will be the only measure on how a name works in a micro-multi-national-formation in a maze of countries and cultures. Under the new rules, a name works like a KEY, being the only thing that can unlock the doors to this net-kingdom.The competitive fog is so thick, that without this key, a name identity is simply doomed.


The old-fashioned gigantic logos, splashing colors and stripes have nothing to do with this access. This is all about the structure of name and its impact and not about its type fonts or shape of logos. As sixties were for burning flags and bras, perhaps now is the time to burn most of the old marketing and branding books. Good names have direct impact on corporate persona and positively influence customers, shareholders, media and public opinion at large. Itís time to explore the power of names, new laws of marketing and how to play on this new one flat earth.



Seven Remedies to fix Corporate Naming* as prescribed by The Brand New Laws of Corporate & Name Identity Image:

1. Respect: A name must have an alpha-character to qualify and gain respect. Face of honesty, integrity, reliability and credibility. No room for "PurpleFrog," "PinkRhino," "Globe-a-Con," or "Tomorrow Inc." Sobriety must prevail because corporate names are not beer commercials. Generic or descriptive names, like OneCell, or GeneralKable...will die as technology changes.

2. ONE Face, ONE Name: Stand up with a happy, healthy face. Don't try too many masks and transmit multiple personalities. This can seriously blur the image. Advertising is wasted in harnessing a common mind share. Is the name selling Accounting or Space Navigation, Computers or Distilled Water? Honest names are truly honest about what they do.

3. Current Status: If you think you're on top of the world, then show it with your name. Old-fashioned names will not attract customer's attention to your ongoing evolutions. Glories of the past often lose their value with the changing times. Face cyber-branding realities of tomorrow's global e-commerce.

4. Become A Star: Have a star quality in your brand name. Its alpha-structure should be bright, clear and shiny. Don't educate the universe on how to spell, pronounce or remember a weird spelling or obscure origin of a blunt klutzy name. No need to be a matchstick when it can be a flashlight.

5. Freedom To Travel: Spread your wings and fly away. Wander country to country with your name-identity and explore global opportunities. No room for difficulties of global translations, connotations, secondary meanings, foreign obscenities, pronunciations and all other language issues. Today, marketing is ONLY global, BURN all the other books that say otherwise. Think locally, but name universally.

6. Pride & Joy: Be a leader. Set an example. Take pride. Introduce it globally with full confidence. Why the embarrassment? It's not stolen, or is it? Watch competitors struggle with confusion, dysfunctionalities and embarrassing naming stories. Shine where others hide.

7. Rightful Ownership: If you own a corporation, why not its name? Today, 93% of corporations do not own a global trademark with an identical domain name. This is the easiest thing to do. Shortages of global names are only myths successfully established by design firms. Fix it immediately as there is no winning without a global trademark with an identical DotCom.
{*Adapted from The Brand New Laws of Corporate Image, Javed, Linkbridge 2004}

In Summary:
At this moment, there is a much bigger war of branding image going on out there. Corporations are fighting for global positioning while shareholders are frightened by the fake hoopla. For those genuine, honest and progressive corporations of the real economy armed with realistic goals; there are still a lot of opportunities to stay clear of these corrupt, polluted and damaged name identities. Seek out professional naming solutions to your marketing needs making sure that your names are on solid ground and can pass the Acid Test of Trustworthiness.

About the Author
Naseem Javed, author of Naming for Power, Founder of ABC Namebank International, world-renowned lecturer and expert on corporate naming issues. A hilarious speaker, with a powerful message on why Global Name Identities are on fire.