Friday, November 5, 2010

When You Should Think Like a 12 Year Old

Sooo…. let's just say, for the sake of argument (can you already see where this is going? I thought so… heh heh) you have this FAAAAntastic idea burning a hole in your ____ and you're itching to slap a name on it, hoist the sails and shove it off into the world of revenue and profit.  Sounds great.  Sunset.  Birds flying over.  Your shiney idea galantly adrift on the winds of change and fortune.

(record scratch… uh oh?)

What name did you give it?

Product and Service names are trivial, right?  I mean, they can name cars and drugs with the most meaningless names and people still buy them.  Right?  You laugh at the McRib sandwich, just because of the connotation of the "Mc" prefix.  You chuckle when you hear Viagra spoken in a sentence.  But what did you name your product?

Well, if you're like someone I know (no names of course) and they decided to name their software application something close to (no, I'm not giving away the actual name here, settle down damn it!) "True Tag".  Yes: "True Tag" is all covered in gold leaf and sails of pure silk, sailing off into the sunset to face the winds of mass fortune and storms of profit, raining cash into open pockets.

Then "True Tag" makes a stop in the port of, shall we say: Peanut Gallery. The crew thinks they're making a port of call in some tropic wonderland.  But as soon as they disembark they are gang-raped by 800 lb monsters with the minds of 5th graders on Monster drinks.  Bad times.  Just be glad you and I are watching this from a safe distance.  Anyhow, the problem is that the name "True Tag" is too easy for cynical 5th graders on Monster drinks to take serious enough to avoid spoofing the name.  Within seconds it becomes "True Fag", or "Douche Tag" or "Spew Bag" or, whatever, you get the idea.

The point is that you need to put some serious time into picking a name for your products or services.  Once labeled, they are difficult to replace.  Just look at a company like Blackwater USA.  They renamed to Xe, yet everytime they're mentioned on the news, it's always "Xe, formerly Blackwater USA…" and the scarlett duncecap remains bolted onto their foreheads forever.

So, take a tip from moi: Put down the bong for a minute.  Wipe the drool from your chin, put some clothes on, get a notepad and pen, and start jotting down names.  Then take that list and run it through Google and the USPTO Trademark search engine, and then walk outside (without the bong, ok?) and find some 5th graders and say: "Hey kids, what do you think of the name ____?" then stand still and wait to see how long it takes them to turn your name into a murky toilet bowl of bowel-infested wonder.  If they have to ponder for more than a minute or two, you're on to something good.

BTW - I've added a new hash tag for "bongloads".  I plan on using it more in future articles.  Enjoy!

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