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Without doubt they’re very important.
They can provide ‘clues’ into what you believe, represent, offer.
They can also open or close doors for you in the future.
Names are important … but the one thing we cannot forget is that they are also very dependent on the context they appear in and the standards by which they operate.
One of the things that bothers me hugely is how quickly people judge without context.
I often say to clients that if we brought them the line, ‘Just Do It’ … I’m almost certain they’d chuck us out of the room because they’d say things like:
“Just do what?”
“It sounds demanding.”
“It sounds negative.”
But as we all know, when nurtured and developed over time, people don’t see it as that, they see it as a statement of action and potential … a statement that is a liberator not a dictator … a statement that is universally liked and revered … a statement that has helped NIKE set themselves apart from every single brand on the planet. Not just in the sports category, but in every category.
Why am I saying all this?
Well because I recently saw something that highlights the importance of context.
There it is, the original iPhone.
Yes, years before Apple’s ubiquitous product came along, there was this big, lumpy piece of plastic.
Sure it wasn’t portable.
Sure it wasn’t very pretty.
Sure it wasn’t very innovative.
But at a time where the internet was still in its mass market infancy, it let you connect to the World in ways that were beyond comprehension just a few years earlier.
So what happened to it?
Nothing. It died on it’s ass.
I have no knowledge why that was the case … maybe it was a lack of distribution, a ridiculously high price-point or simply because it was a crap product … but my reason for highlighting this is because according to some branding companies, a massive contributor to the success of a company is all down to the name they have.
Of course they would say that because it means they can charge huge amounts of cash for [mental] companies to use their ‘proprietary tool’ to identify a brand name that will be distinctive, relevant, powerful and a absolutely, definitely, unquestionably, certifiably dead-set, super-hit.
What a load of fucking bollocks.
Don’t get me wrong, having a good name is important, but to think  that is the most important things  that the name can affect success entirely independently from what the brand does or makes, is utterly insane.
So next time someone says an idea is “too negative”, “too aggressive”, “too self focused”, “too distinctive” … remind them that it’s not about the name, but about the behaviour and the power to shape that is not just in their hands, but in their ambition.
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