How a company name or product name can hinder sales.

Palm seems to be on life support.

According to the Bible, the first task given to man by God was to name all the things on earth. And he’s been doing that ever since. And it is very important work. A name represents characteristics and properties that identify a particular thing.

Selecting a name.

Many think coming up with a name for a company or product or service should be simple. Some may even think it’s not even very important, convinced there are “bigger’ issues than naming to deal with when launching a new venture. Those who believe that are hoping their name for a company or product will be neutral and cause no problem. But that, if successful, simply means they have decided to ignore the sales power of a name. They are deciding to go into battle without the benefit of an effective name. It is like fielding only ten players in a football game and hoping to win against the opponent’s eleven.

A product name can influence sales.

Choosing a name should be part of business strategy. It should be developed as an asset because a name can help sales.

On the other hand, a name can hinder sales.

For a current example, Palm had the number one smart phone product a year ago when they came out of all those different conferences, but a year later they have not gotten the sales they needed. And this, despite they’re being with arguably the best carrier, Verizon. On the other hand, the iPhone has thrived with the second best carrier, AT&T.

From a sales point of view, Palm should have had the advantage. What could have held it back? For one thing, the name: Pixi.

A product name can hinder sales.

What were they thinking? I am sure there were marketing people and legions of management people and committees involved in naming the product. I’m sure hundreds or thousands of potential names were considered. Money was spent developing a product name.

Therefore under what circumstances could the name Pixi have survived the evaluation process and come out on top? How many businessmen and professionals carry a Pixi? Lets broaden that: How many adults carry a Pixi? Imagine you are on your phone checking the March Madness brackets and your buddy says, “Is that a new phone? What is it?” And you say “It’s a Pixi.” Could Palm management have decided that the best strategy would be to only target the pre-teen girl market? I’m curious.

You may not be willing to admit that the name of such a product would keep you from purchasing it, but I say the name can wield significant influence. Did you buy a Pixi? Of course, if you did, you’ll have a vested interest in arguing with this premise.

The process of selecting a name.

My earlier post about the naming of Houston’s new major league soccer team highlighted a fact that is all too frequently overlooked: Choosing a name can be extremely important. The process is a surprisingly delicate balance of art and science.

The Name is a Clue.

As the most powerful condensation of your brand’s message, the name must rise above the noise in the marketplace and resonate with all its constituencies.

More importantly however, is whether it effectively supports (whether it telegraphs or evokes) the brand’s promise, story, and spirit. When the brand can inspire, motivate or persuade the people who matter to a business’s success, it can compete. It’s the brand name that initiates the critical relationship between the brand and audience. Name your brand carefully.

Naming is getting more difficult every day. And it’s becoming more valuable every day. Again, ages ago, the Bible said, “A good name is worth more than riches.”

Today selecting a name is more important than ever.

Even though increasingly difficult, with intelligence and creativity, a powerful name can still be created. Here’s six things to remember when selecting a name.

Now it looks like Palm is going to disappear into bankruptcy. Unless the SEC can maybe ban short selling of the stock. Or, maybe Palm come out with a Tinker Bell product. What do you think?

Tags: , , , , , ,

4 Responses to “How a company name or product name can hinder sales.”

  1. JAH says:

    Palm’s main product is the Pre, not the Pixi.

  2. steven says:

    Yes, and I am not saying the Pixi is their main product, so I’m sorry but I don’t understand your point. I’m saying that a product name can influence sales and using Pixi as an example.

  3. Diamond says:

    nice explanation. I agree a company or product name is much more important than many businessmen realize when choosing it. They are probably distracterd byy various legal issues and don’t think it thru as thoroughly as they should. But Palm should be a big enough company to have enough people resources to be able to not make that mistake.

  4. Esefse7 says:

    Good post. Here’s an interesting fact about a car maker: Volvo– From the Latin word “volvo,” means “I roll.” It was originally a name for a ball bearing being developed by SKF. I’ll never look at a Volvo without thinking about this irony again. (Latin scholars: if “volvo” doesn’t mean “I roll,” please don’t blame me-I’m just quoting a blog.) Thanks for your insight on the naming issue.

Leave a Reply